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After a six year long hiatus, two years touring the US with a few European Festival appearances and a one year postponement of this tour due to a delay in recording their sixth studio album; Blink-182 needed to be at the top of their game, the boys had a lot to prove to their fans.
Waiting outside the Echo Arena in Liverpool you could feel the anticipation and excitement building in the air, this being the first chance for some followers to see the band in action following their reunion three years ago – maybe the first time ever.
Before the headline act there was the small matter of support acts to contend with. First up were Welsh post-hardcore band The Blackout. Entering the stage they burst straight into the roaring ShutTheF***Uppercut. The short set featured all of their hit singles spanning their three albums, resulting in a great show with both vocalists, Sean Smith and Gavin Butler, giving fantastic performances. Unfortunately they didn’t receive the reception they deserved and were understandably frustrated.
In complete contrast, The All-American Rejects a band undeniably suited to the wide spread fans that Blink attract, entered the stage to roaring cheers. Opening with their biggest hit ‘Dirty Little Secret’ they created a fantastic start; although this was the main contribution to their following down fall. After capturing the audience most bands use this deserved attention as a foundation to build upon, yet AAR were far too cocky for their own good which overpowered their flying start. Front man Tyson Ritter was arrogant, annoying and so tarnished the band’s set whilst using the stage to fund some personal ego trip rather than promote the music. Ending on smaller hits, Move Along and Gives You Hell the band proved they have a sturdy musical repertoire which should have been the focus of their performance.
However I don’t think any fan could have cared who supported tonight, Justin Bieber would have been welcomed with open arms. With the drop of the curtain the band burst straight into ‘Feeling This’ which set the tone for a fantastic set from a band determined to, above everything else, have a great fun filled night. Following with ‘Up All Night’ off their latest album Neighbourhoods, Blink played hit after hit delighting fans.
A large component of a live Blink-182 show has always been the banter and although the band have grown up and matured, it is safe to say the banter still remains. Notably when Tom Delonge played ‘I Miss You’ wrongly the band could have easily let it be, but instead bassist Mark Hoppus decided to re -teach him the song. It is moments like this that bond the band and the audience, turning an arena gig into an intimate affair.
The single ‘Wishing Well’ from the band’s latest album was one of the highlights of the night, showing the band can still produce quality tracks. Finishing with ‘Josie’ the band headed to the sound desk for an acoustic rendition of ‘Reckless Abandon’ and ‘Waggy’, the latter coming complete with a story of how it was written acoustically in Tom’s room.
While Mark and Tom made their way back to the stage, Travis Barker performed a drum solo ‘Can The Drummer Get Some’ from his solo album of the same name. He is referred to as the only talented member of Blink-182 by the rest of the band and for over five minutes he highlighted why that was the case. Following this, the band played through hits from the past twenty years ‘Carousel’ and ‘Dammit’ which fired the crowd up, soaring further into the stratosphere.
Blink-182 definitely showed that they still have the spark which gave them such success before they split, whilst proving they have a lot more still to offer after a truly fantastic set.