BLINK-182; Hammersmith Apollo; London, U.K.; 02/12/04

Reviewed by Dominic Toogood

    This was the first time I have ever seen parents picking up their teenagers after a concert I have attended and it makes me feel very old! However, there is certainly a little less pubescent angst and a little more steel to the latest self-titled album by Blink-182 which the guys are showcasing tonight.

    Five albums old and these boys haven't lost any of their enthusiasm for the game although they’re playing to nearly stadium-size audiences now. They still make you feel like you’d want to hang out with them at school with their flamboyant antics onstage and childish, albeit witty, quips between songs. However, you know times are changing when - instead of asking for lighters to be held up in the air - bassist Mark Hoppus asks everyone to hold up their mobile phones!

    Back to the music then. Almost entirely left behind on the band's new CD are the songs of teenage love and losing. Of course, being a staple of the last four albums, they could not evaporate completely and we don't want them to when the results are such wonderfully catchy new tunes such as "Go" and "Feeling This" which are wheeled out tonight. The old favorites are sprinkled in also, of course, keeping the sing-along and fist-pumping going. "First Date" and "Rock Show," of course, probably getting the best receptions this evening.

    Strangely moving was a fantastic version of "Stay Together For The Kids" which - for the size of the venue - was played very intimately with an instrumental break leaving you just enough time to make sure none of the youngsters around you could see you choking up! Tales of dysfunctional families have always been a strength of this trio but they can still push down on the punk pop pedal when they want to and show their, (baby?) teeth with crowd-pleasing "What’s My Age Again" and the new song "Violence."

    In the end you come away knowing that even skater boys have to grow up, leave school and get a job. There are a lot worse ways of maturing, though, than tuning in to the regenerated Blink-182,, buying the new album and ... maybe ... even start shaving! 

    "Shit, I wish we could stay longer," says guitarist Tom DeLonge. So do we, Tom, but I fear that at least half the audience is already up way past their bedtime! 

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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.