Blink 182@The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
Almost two years after their last Scottish date and nearly a year after their cancelled T in the Park appearance, Blink graced the SECC stage with a seamless set that dripped with professionalism. After some ropey support from Twin Atlantic and the All-American Rejects, the restless crowd were essentially in the palm of their hand from the word go.
Opening with 2003 hit “Feeling This”, the band appeared relaxed, happy and in their element, having run this same set since the beginning of the tour for their most recent album, “Neighborhoods”, last August. The show did little to surprise, with the band employing their tried, tested and reliable onstage routine of toilet humour, insulting each other’s mothers and irrefutable pop gems which a ridiculously enthusiastic, 12,500-strong crowd of fans lapped up.
The most unexpected element of the night came in the form of a short acoustic encore played at the back of the arena, consisting of live favourite “Reckless Abandon” and pre-“Enema of the State” oldie “Wasting Time”. Here, singer Tom DeLonge took some time to explore their musical background, talking briefly about what it meant to their community growing up. This signalled a surprisingly sincere moment during a show which offered very little in terms of food for thought.
Blink have gone from strength to strength since their reunion in 2009 following on from a messy break-up in 2005. Last year’s” Neighborhoods” showed that even after four years, a band that were constantly searching to develop their sound and explore new ways to demonstrate their pop songwriting genius can still surprise. This translated onstage: where once there existed sloppy musicianship, there was near-note-perfect precision. Where there once seemed animosity between DeLonge and Mark Hoppus, the band’s second lead singer, there was a clear display of respect and friendship. Fans will be glad to know that DeLonge’s vocals sounded great and nowhere near as sloppy as they have done on recent tours. Donning a baseball cap, he both looked and sounded as good as he did back in the early 2000s. Near-mute drummer Travis Barker also took his chance at the spotlight with a superb drum solo during the second encore, backed by a self-produced hip-hop/dubstep track.
Yet, in spite of the apparent maturity Blink have gained over the past few years, it was assuring, if not comforting, to hear them end the night with the vulgar “Family Reunion”, a thirty-second track consisting of nothing but swear words. “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” also appeared earlier on in the set and while the performance of such songs may give some the impression that even after a four year hiatus, nothing has changed when it comes to how seriously Blink take themselves, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If this concert is anything to go by then it’s obvious that, if anything, what they take most seriously is entertaining. It also happens to be what they excel at.