From California to Castlefield Bowl – the contrast couldn’t have been more different as American pop-punk rockers, Blink 182, were subjected to a dark, drizzly night in Manchester as the band continued their UK tour.
Undeterred and defiant the trio were in high spirits. At first glance it was obvious to see that the band were a member short of the original lineup. Tom DeLonge originally split in 2005 but had reunited with the band in 2009 only to leave again in 2015 to experiment with Box Car Racer and Angels and Airwaves. His replacement, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, often played second (or third) fiddle to Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker but definitely held his own.
Not letting a fear of flying (due to an airplane accident the band were involved with in 2012) get in the way of a European tour, Barker travelled across the Atlantic Ocean by cruise ship for over 9 days to show his dedication to the fans and it did not go unnoticed. Topless with tattoos on show the drummer took it in turns with Hoppus to spearhead a setlist comprising 23 tracks.
Despite the weather demonstrating Manchester’s true climate, the rain did not diminish the spirits of the 8,000 eager fans who screamed and skanked throughout the entire set. Early noughties classics Feeling This and The Rock Show kicked off proceedings as the sense of nostalgia, angst and being 15 again slapped you in the face – repeatedly. What’s My Age Again and First Date came back to back and there was a feeling Blink may have peaked too soon. A sombre rendition of I Miss You was followed up with Dumpweed – a flagship hit from 1999s breakthrough album, Enema of the State.
Although conditions didn’t allow for the best sound, Blink 182’s lighting and effects enhanced the rock show with flames, smoke, cannons and lasers – America! Fuck, yeah! Hoppus continually energised the crowd and at one stage had an audience member on stage playing bass during the encore. The band’s biggest hit globally, All The Small Things, had the crowd singing in unison before they closed on Dammit – the raw and destructive hit from 1997’s Dude Ranch.
Landon Barker, son of Travis, dived onto the drums at the end of the set – the 13 year old teasing the crowd who were hungry for more with a face melting drum solo. Playing just an hour and 15 mins it did seem like a blink and you miss it…
The Rock Show
Anthem Part Two
What’s My Age Again?
Bored to Death
Built This Pool
I Miss You
She’s Out of Her Mind
Kings of the Weekend
Happy Holidays, You Bastard
All the Small Things