When it first came out that Tom DeLonge had departed from Blink 182 for a second time and instead of going into side projects again, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker would instead be enlisting the musical talents of singer and guitarist Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio to fill in, this decision raised many questions. After the release of the first album with the current line-up ‘California’ was released most questions were answered. It was clear to see despite the absence of Tom’s unique voice the spirit of Blink 182 was still alive and well but then came the issue of live shows, will only ‘California’ tracks be played or will Matt attempt to take over Tom’s role in the older songs and if so how will it turn out?
Well after seeing them at the Motorpoint Arena I can confirm that whilst different to the original line-up going to see the new Blink 182 is still a great live gig. With the standing area filled to the back of the arena and most of the seating area filled, the crowd were electric from the opening riff of “Feeling This” to open the show to the closing moments of their encore finale “Dammit”. Whilst the songs from ‘California’ were the better performed songs due to the actual recording artists performing them, the classic songs such as “What’s my Age Again” and “All the Small Things” didn’t suffer and were still as good with or without Tom.
A half and half balance between ‘California’ and their earlier albums, a huge pyro display including flaming words, interludes of their hilarious thirty seconds songs combining funny lyrics and incredible riffs and an incredible drum solo by Travis Barker which showed why Travis Barker is regarded as such an incredible drummer. Blink 182 still know how to put on a show and have the band’s identity shine through all culminating in a finale of pyro, confetti, an extra running back and forth with a British flag with Blink’s logo in the middle and Mark dancing around in a Robin Hood hat. If anyone had doubts about whether it would be worth it to go to a Blink 182 show in 2017, it is, it really, really is.
By Luke Barnard