Punk-rock legends, Blink-182 end their UK tour with an epic final show at the O2 Arena. Things were looking a bit shaky at the beginning of the week with Mark Hoppus falling sick and not being able to sing on doctor’s orders (the band had to unfortunately cancel Monday’s show in Bournemouth). But luckily Mark recovered quickly and was able to continue on with the tour. Tonight is their 2nd night at this mighty venue. London’s O2 Arena took over from New York’s Madison Square Gardens as the busiest music venue in the world. So as you can imagine, tonight’s show was going to be big.
First to warm up the crowd for tonight’s show was American Indie rockers, The Front Bottoms. Unfortunately due to venue issues I was not able to catch any of their set, but I heard they rocked the crowd up nicely. Next up was English folk-song writer Frank Turner with his backup band, The Sleeping Souls. I caught the first few songs of these guys and the crowd was definitely enjoying their lively performance. As we headed round backstage to get ready for our photo pit entry, we passed Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba waiting to go on. Even though they were about to hit the stage in front of thousands of fans, the guys didn’t look at all nervous and even kindly gave us a good luck wish as we waited.
A giant British flag with the familiar smiley face logo in the centre lowers down to cover the stage in front of the eagerly awaiting crowd. The lights go down and a wave of screams fill the venue. The recognisable intro to “Feeling This” blasts through the speakers and as the flag drops, fans are greeted by Blink-182 with the letters F U C K, up in flames behind them. Throwing straight into another old classic, the guys keep the crowd bouncing as they play one of their greatest hits, “Rock Show.”
Well, what an entrance to a show that was. It’s incredible to think that these songs are probably older than half the people in the room, but even the younger fans are still singing along word for word. Bringing it more up to date, the guys play “Hey I’m Sorry” from their new album California. Things start to heat up a little with the addition of fire canons as Mark and Matt display a classic punk rock jump across the stage. After this, the fire and smoke just kept coming!
My time is up in the photo pit so I quickly go back into the venue to take my place in the crowd. Pulling out some more old classics, the guys go on to play “Anthem Part 2” followed by “First Date.” The room is now filled with an overwhelming atmosphere, the hair-raising echo of the crowd empowers over the band as they play “Bored to Death.” This is my favourite song off the new album and hearing it live in such an epic surrounding is an incredible experience. With the LCD screens now in full effect and the playful blasts of the fire cannons behind Travis Barker, the stage is one big party and it’s hard not to be sucked into that feeling of ecstasy. Back to their self-titled album, Blink-182, they play “Down”.
Mark dedicates this next one to the ladies in the room. I don’t think anyone can sing this song without over emphasising on the american accent; that we can all thank previous band member, Tom DeLonge for. If you haven’t figured it out already, this is “Miss You.” Matt takes the lead on this one and once again the voice of the crowd is just as loud as the sound coming from stage, the raw emotion is quite breathtaking.
Now for a Brit, one thing that is very entertaining to hear is an American’s attempt at a British accent. Mark entertains the crowd with his British version of “You Alright” before throwing themselves back in with another older hit, “Dumpweed.” Although the crowd didn’t need much convincing, Matt encourages them to sing along to the next one. It only takes the first word to come out of Matt’s mouth before they figure out the song and take over. With the mass of fans chanting the intro, the guys kick into “Reckless Abandon.” The trio are now being swallowed up by the incredible animation that’s played on the screens around them. It’s hard to know where to look as the stage is filled with explosions of colour. Matt congratulates the fans sing-along efforts by saying they were the best crowd of the tour. I bet he said that to every crowd, but still, they accepted the compliment with loud screams.
Back to the new album, “She’s Out Of Her Mind” and “Kings Of The Weekend” keeps the energetic show going. The crowd fix their eyes on Travis as he preps his drums. They know what’s coming. It wouldn’t be a Blink show without an incredible burst of drumming talent from Travis, would it? Sure enough, Mark and Matt exit the stage and leave Travis mesmerizing the room with his extended intro into “Violence.” That probably made every drummer wanna be in that crowd pee their pants.
Next up, Mark tells everyone to get their flashlights up on their phones as the stage is plunged into darkness. “You’re gonna want to tell your grandkids about this” the crowd are told. As a sea of lights beam from the crowd with the stage is still in the shadows, the band go into the comical short hit “Happy Holidays, You Bastard.” The screens now turn to city scenes of Los Angeles as they play, you guessed it, “Los Angeles.” After ending with their hands displaying the well-known LA sign, the band leave the stage to a roar of cheers.
Feet are stomping and voices are screaming. The crowd didn’t wait long before they started to beg for Blink-182 to come back. A slight movement on stage sends them back into a frenzy. The band return and jump straight into “Small Things” for their encore. The camera’s have now turned their attention to the crowd. The screens are filled with a live feed of the fans on each other’s shoulders and faces are zoomed in on as they embrace the atmospheric feelings. The cheeky “Brohemian Rhapsody” is thrown in before they end their set with “Dammit.” The room is blasted with confetti as the smoke and fire cannons dance all around the stage.
What an incredible ending to an extraordinary set. I was a very happy girl at the rock show.
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