After waiting almost a year for the rescheduled London dates heralding the return of infamous pop punk legends, Blink-182, I think it’s fair to say that the atmosphere in the O2 was electric on Friday night.
We were unfortunate enough to find our seats in the highest of nose bleeds, which didn’t do much for my vertigo. I’m convinced it’s not entirely safe up there. We were comfortably early so we got to see Four Year Strong open. It’s a well-known fact that venues never put the good sound on for bottom billers and in a venue as cavernous as the O2, it really shows. The band seemed to be getting a pretty good response to their energetic brand of pop punk but the very back of the Arena was not the best place to get to know a band you don’t already have a strong feel for. With that in mind I can’t really comment on the strength of the performance. It was like watching ants jump and down in the far distance.
Second up were The All American Rejects, who I do know a lot better having seen them headline twice. They benefit not only from having a hearty back catalogue of radio hits but also an extremely charismatic front man in Tyson Ritter. I’ll admit that I found the new material a bit boring but I couldn’t resist a singalong to Swing Swing or Dirty Little Secret or a giggle when Ritter went off on a tangent about the people in the private boxes. I’ve sat there… it’s not that great. Overall a solid performance, worthy of the positive response from the audience apart from one guy slightly in front of us, who booed throughout. Probably the type who bottles people at festivals.
What can one say about Blink? After a five year hiatus, I think I half expected them to come back Green Day style and explode in an American Idiot kind of way. Unfortunately unlike Green Day the members of Blink genuinely appear to hate each other… well Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge anyway. If you’ve hung out with a couple who are about to break-up, you’ve probably got a good idea of what the onstage vibe was like, with both front men hurling thinly veiled barbs at each other. It wasn’t that they played badly, it was just an extremely uncomfortable experience. Their early material relies heavily on dick and fart jokes, which was funny when they were twenty-three (as the song says) but with all three pushing forty, it’s a bit tragic watching them trying to capture a level of silliness unbecoming to husbands and fathers. The new material and the songs from their eponymous final pre-split album fare better but when the overriding feeling is that the light show was great, I think things have gone wrong. I suppose one can hope that they’ll get over their differences and create something epic but I think it’s relatively unlikely.