In 2005, Californian pop-punksters Blink-182 decided to call it quits, announcing an ‘indefinite hiatus’, that looked like the end of the trio for good. Five years, and two unsuccessful side projects later, Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge, and Travis Barker put aside their differences to embark on what was hotly tipped to be the reformation of a life time. With the hype surrounding their Reading and Leeds Festival appearances bigger than any other of the weekend, Blink-182 had a lot of high expectations to meet.
And I am sorry to say, they fell a long way from the mark.
Yes, they were fun. Yes, they played the ‘classics’. Yes, they were energetic. In short, they were practically everything we remember Blink being and loved them for at the time, but there was something missing.
At first, they looked promising. They launched straight into ‘Dumpweed’ with an enthusiasm and vigour that was frankly unexpected – I was half anticipating Blink-182 to have grown up. And although I was wrong, this surprising vitality did little more than temporarily disguise what turned out to be a lacklustre and disappointing performance.
The music itself was not terrible. Although Delonge’s vocals were characteristically shaky, crowd-pleasers ‘First Date’, and ‘Rock Show’ went down well. DeLonge then proceeded to lay into Britain’s terrible twosome Jedward, mockingly thanking the boys for allowing Blink-182 to play ‘All the Small Things’ that John and Edward have recently covered. Even tracks from the self-titled album were executed well, with ‘I Miss You’ being a personal highlight. They then went onto mock Axl Rose and co, following their shambolic Friday night performance. Frontman Mark Hoppus said “I’m sorry you guys missed out of Guns n Roses Friday night, but Tom is going to play Sweet Child O’ Mine instead”. DeLonge’s poor (but hilarious) attempt at the intro followed, making several attempts at the opening before giving up: “I haven’t practiced it!” he said, “Axl Rose is naked with my Dad!”
It was the show I had hoped for – the skits, the music, the enthusiasm – but somehow it was not quite right. The threesome came across as false, and their jokes felt rehearsed. It was like hearing a nun condoning sex and alcohol – they’re hearts simply weren’t in it. Not even a phenomenal drum solo from Barker, which he performed not only suspended in mid-air, but twisting around in all manner of angles, could make this performance anything other than ordinary. They reused jokes that went down well at during the set at Leeds on the mainstage at Reading, and DeLonge’s characteristically whiney voice began to grate toward the end of the set. He even managed to forget the lyrics to songs that he wrote himself.
Perhaps it was the build-up. I have been waiting for a Blink reformation for too long, and perhaps my hopes were too high. Perhaps they are just not as young as they used to be. Whatever the reason, there really was something missing from tonight’s performance. Even the encore, consisting of ‘Carousel’ and ‘Dammit’, could do little to lift my mood. Don’t get me wrong, they were great renditions of classics that reminded me of my teenage years, but it was just not what I was expecting. Perhaps a lesson can be learned here – don’t believe the hype.