Live Review: Blink 182 – Nottingham Arena, 4 July 2017 by Mark Wong

Back in the summer of 2012 my life was complete when The Rockhaq Community awarded me tickets to see Blink 182 live. To this day I still feel like it’s a debt I can never repay because of how special that night was to me. Seeing those three pivotal figures perform right in front of me reminded me how important they were in my teenage years. Songs such as Feeling This gave me a taste of what rock music was all about.

Live Review: Blink 182 – Nottingham Arena, 4 July 2017

In anticipation of tonight’s gig I’m not as excited as I should be because of the drastic line up changes in the band. A lot has happened with Blink 182 in the last five years. Remaining members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker joined forces with Alkaline Trio front man and guitarist Matt Skiba to record new album California. Like any hardcore fan I was very sceptical of what the result would be. However California proved me wrong and it turned out to be one of my favourite records of last year.

Blink 182 are supported by two great bands during the UK leg of this tour. Indie rockers The Front Bottoms had a sofa as part of their stage set that various people came to sit down on. Mark Hoppus was one of these people! During the entire time that Hoppus was sat down he was completely fixated with the tablet he had in his hand. It seemed like he was casually sat at home sifting through his emails or social media.

As always folk punk hero Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls did not disappoint. It always amazes me how charismatic Turner is as a front man as the crowd’s energy is absolutely electric from the moment he plays his first song. He invites a girl on stage to teach her how to play a harmonica. As soon as the fan plays her very first note, Turner quips that she sounds just like folk pioneer Bob Dylan.

During the interval, a Union Jack flag drops down which has Blink 182’s logo on it. The lights dim down and the curtain drops. Blink open with Feeling This and all the memories of their last Nottingham show come flooding back to me. At this point I should be worrying about whether Skiba can live up to ex-guitarist Tom DeLonge’s legacy. However when Skiba delivers his first chords, the thought never crosses my mind. Instead it reminds me of how crucial Skiba’s role has been in Blink 182 over the past two years.

Band perform old school deep cuts like Dysentery Gary

Blink 182 play classic anthems such as Dammit and First Date. Hoppus still proves he is a total sweetheart by dedicating the gothic I Miss You to all the ladies in the crowd. The most intriguing thing about tonight’s set is that the band have selected really deep cuts such as Dysentery Gary & Reckless Abandon. It seems ironic that these old school songs were shortlisted for the set since they were never pulled out when DeLonge was still in the band. Anthem Part Two is a very special moment for me as it reminds me of the time when I went round one of my best friends’ house to listen to Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. This friend was actually at the concert tonight!

At one point in the night Hoppus tells the audience to turn on their mobile phone lights as he wants to play a song in complete darkness. I made the mistake in thinking that Blink 182 were going to play their acoustic track Home Is Such A Lonely Place. Instead they play their most controversial song to date: Happy Holidays, You B*****d. I did not see that coming at all.

Blink’s hilarious banter isn’t as frequent tonight :'(

A lot of the set list revolves around new tunes from California such as Sober, She’s Out of Her Mind & Kings of the Weekend. They are well received from the crowd. One thing that Blink 182 shows are renowned for is the hilarious banter, yet this isn’t as frequent tonight. But Hoppus still makes jokes throughout to entertain the Nottingham crowd. He criticises other cities such as Cardiff by saying that they couldn’t sing.

All The Small Things is absolutely euphoric. Hearing 10,000 fans repeatedly singing “Na, na, na, na” in unison is such a glorious thing to witness. As always a fan holds up the sign “Travis, I’m pregnant” without fail during the song. To close the set, Travis Barker’s 13-year-old son Landon comes on stage to play a drum solo. He shows off his skills by playing complex drum fills and criss-crossing his hands when hitting drum cymbals. Clearly Barker has taught his son very well in mastering this craft!

The only issue I have with tonight’s set is that it was too short, being only 1 hour and 10 minutes long. Despite the set list being 22 songs in length, I did expect them to be on stage for longer as tickets were priced at a staggering £50 a piece.

Full Setlist from Blink 182 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, 4 July 2017

1. Feeling This

2. The Rock Show

3. Cynical

4. Anthem Part Two

5. What’s My Age Again?

6. First Date

7. Bored to Death

8. Built This Pool

9. Down

10. I Miss You

11. Dumpweed

12. Reckless Abandon

13. She’s Out of Her Mind

14. Kings of the Weekend

15. Violence

16. Sober

17. Happy Holidays, You B*****d

18. Dysentery Gary

19. Los Angeles

Encore from Blink 182 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, 4 July 2017

1. All The Small Things

2. Brohemian Rhapsody

3. Dammit