Gig review: Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
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Considered one of the most iconic bands of a generation and influential to many emerging artist of the noughties, Blink-182 have been as valuable to music as the creation of the skate punk movement itself.

Just about every American teen movie features at least one of their tracks and their albums have sold in the tens of millions worldwide.

Personally, Blink-182 have been as influential to me as bands such as AC/DC, Sum 41, Guns N’ Roses and many more, paving my way into skate punk and alternative rock from my mid teens.

Through bust ups and ‘indefinite hiatuses’ Blink-182 have bounced back with a big tour of the UK and it’s in Leeds at the First Direct Arena where they are paying a visit for the first time.

With founding member Tom Delonge now a distant memory, the addition of Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba hasn’t pushed the fans away – in fact the show is just about a sell-out.

We were a bit late so only caught Frank Turner as the second support, who is always a pure pleasure to watch, but ultimately everyone is here for a bit of old school pop punk nostalgia.

Matt Skiba of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Matt Skiba of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Dead on 9pm the theme tune to Netflix hit show Stranger Things starts to play and the atmosphere intensifies considerably until they start with song Feeling This when it absolutely obliterates the arena.

Rear stage pyrotechnics throws out some incredible heat with a firework-lit sign behind drummer Travis Barker. The sign is a rather rude four-letter word unsuitable for a publication read by good girls and boys.

Following with songs The Rock Show, Cynical, What’s My Age Again, this is pure alt-rock gold and a memory stirrer from days gone by.

One thing that is apparent is the outstanding drumming from Barker, who outplays anyone else that could be on the stage. Even with all the pyrotechnics going on behind him it’s one of the finest drum performances I’ve seen in a very long time.

Travis Barker of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Travis Barker of Blink-182 at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

The nostalgia continues with songs such as Reckless Abandon, I Miss You and Dysentery Gary until they encore with All the Small Things and Dammit.

Matt Skiba and Mark Hoppus pair up like they’ve played together forever and are gracefully backed up by the legend that is Travis Barker.

It’s been an astounding show, something of a one off, in my opinion, that skilfully treated us to a blistering set list. I hope they don’t leave it so long until the next tour.

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