Live Review: Blink-182, AO Arena, Manchester [16th October 2023]

By Jay Mitchell
By October 17, 2023 Live, Reviews

It’s 2023 and Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker are blasting through a near 2 hour set of Blink-182 hits – what’s my age again? Ending the European leg of their reunion tour with a two night stint in Manchester, the trio give it everything they’ve got in the nostalgia filled set.

The Story So Far opened the night playing for around 45 minutes and not letting a single second of that time go to waste. With a 13 song set, the band take songs off four different albums, a new single and a cover giving everyone who wasn’t too familiar a real look at them. Hits like ‘Proper Dose’ and ‘Roam’ are scattered throughout the set as well as a Millencolin ‘No Cigar’ cover that most of the crowd would recognise from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Bringing a perfect amount of pop punk energy, The Story So Far had the crowd ready for Blink.

Blink-182 come on stage to a huge reception from the crowd who keep the same energy from the first song to the last. Kicking the set off with ‘Anthem Part Two’ the band are all smiles as are the crowd with almost every person in the arena on their feet. Their high school humour appears early on with ‘Family Reunion’ the first bit of the night where it’s signature Blink-182 humour .

Between songs Hoppus and DeLonge bounce off each other’s childlike humour with numerous ‘your mum’ jokes and all the toilet humour you could think of. Can’t say I was surprised though, it is Blink-182 after all.

Travis Barker shines from the first minute with numerous opportunities to showcase himself as one of the best drummers in rock. Masterful fills and simply ridiculous solos, Barker remains silent for 99% of the evening doing all of his talking through his playing. Spending a number of songs with his drum riser 20 feet in the air, while killing a solo up there – no one can argue when his bandmates called him “the best to ever do it.”

It’s not all nostalgia though with the band throwing in a number of new songs ahead of the release of their new album this Friday. ‘MORE THAN YOU KNOW’ and ‘EDGING’ receive huge receptions from the crowd, while “DANCE WITH ME’  has the whole arena singing along with its simple but catchy chorus.

‘Adam’s Song’ is introduced by Hoppus who says the song saved his life. Hoppus who recently overcome stage four lymphoma thanked the crowd and his band mates for being there for him, while say saying there were times he thought he might never play again. The crowd showed their appreciation for Hoppus multiple times and sang ‘Adam’s Song’ loudly back to him.

With flames, fireworks, strobes and smoke, the band rattle through all their biggest hits to close. ‘First Date’, ‘All The Small Things’ and ‘Dammit’ take the crowd back to the late 90’s/early 2000’s with the majority of the crowd reliving their youth. Briefly leaving the stage they return to play final song, ‘ONE MORE TIME’ the title track of the new album.

With music often being so serious, Blink-182 are a reminder that not everything has to be like that. With tongue in cheek humour and more hits than you can possibly count, Blink are a definite reminder that music is supposed to be fun. Hoppus, DeLonge and Barker brought their nostalgia filled set, brought their huge production and brought a sea fans who loved every second.