Blink 182

support Thrice + All Time Low
author PP date 24/08/10 venue Trab-Arena, Hamburg, GER

The Germans have a slightly differing idea about an outdoor concert than what we're used to in Denmark. Here, an outdoor arena show usually means a stage at one end of a grass field and a couple of beer stalls planted on both sides for good measure. For the much anticipated Blink 182 show in Hamburg, the organizers had constructed a mini festival site complete with a handful of food stalls, ice cream stalls, booths for various alcoholic beverages, a merch tent and much more, all for the approximately 12,000 (very rough estimate) guests at the show today. Normally a pop punk show like this one would see the average age drop dangerously beyond the wrong side of the age of consent, but given how Blink 182 haven't been active for seven years, today it's mostly people in their mid to late 20s attending the show. It's a generation of people who grew up with Blink when they were in high school or college, and they've longed to see them ever since, so a sense of excitement was in the air for the show. With two great support bands, the evening was off to a great start, making it worth all the money that myself, TL and AP shoveled to the pockets of the train company in order to be here today.

All Time Low

Pop punk sensation All Time Low are probably the best possible support band from Blink 182 today. Despite playing in front of a much older audience than they're used to, the band take in every last ray of the sun and translate it into a fun-filled and energetic set of great, light-hearted pop punk songs with emotional vocals. People are clapping along everywhere, a few people even moshing about even as far to the side as we were standing, and the sound is about as perfect as you could ask for these guys in spite of the dreaded opening slot. The setlist consists of their strongest songs, culminating in three fantastic singles: "Poppin' Champagne" sounds superb, but "Weightless" takes the price as the best song tonight, while "Dear Maria, Count Me In" predictably has half the crowd singing along given how much air time it has received on stations across the world. It's a set that puts a smile on people's faces, and certainly one that has the crowd amped up for more, thanks to a vivid stage performance and simple, catchy, fun pop punk songs. The band also engage in a couple of cheeky comments about how Blink 182 should thank them for warming up the audience and other egoistic remarks, but that's okay, because the ends justify the means. Way to warm up the audience!

Setlist:

  • 1. Damned If I Do You (Damned If I Don't)
  • 2. Stella
  • 3. Six Feet Under The Stars
  • 4. Break Your Little Heart
  • 5. A Party Song (The Walk Of Shame)
  • 6. Jasey Rae
  • 7. Poppin' Champagne
  • 8. Weightless
  • 9. Dear Maria, Count Me In

Thrice

Perhaps Zeus himself was looking down from above and paying attention, because as soon as Thrice entered the stage, the patchy sunshine was replaced by a gathering of gray clouds, a perfect fit with Thrice's melancholic experimental rock. They're the odd one out tonight, considering how different their music is to Blink or All Time Low, and not surprisingly, most of their songs go way over the head of the audience tonight. People are standing still, engaged in semi-loud chatter, seemingly oblivious to the utter magnificence of the vocal performance we're experiencing from Dustin Kensure. We all know he can sing on record, but who knew he can sound so majestic live. His soft croons carry enormous power, and when he reaches the absolute top of his range for some of those extended wails, such as on the opening track "All The World Is Mad", chills are a guarantee down your back. Nothing short of amazing. The band is moving in synchro movements on stage, and with that I don't mean headbangs, but that the band is moving as a unit, like a wave back and forth, an unstoppable force of nature, fortifying the artistic image their songs display in aural form. There's just enough movement on stage to keep the crowd at least mildly interested, but the truth is Thrice just doesn't fit the bill tonight with their emotionally charged rock songs. I find myself being among the fewest truly enjoying the set, hence it's impossible to rate it any higher than this. Pretty good setlist, by the way, even though the older, heavier songs are all but abandoned these days aside from one exception. The cover of "Helter Skelter" is thricefied but I don't think anyone would've minded for it to be exchanged out for another original track instead.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. All The World Is Mad
  • 2. The Weight
  • 3. The Artist In The Ambulance
  • 4. Silhouette
  • 5. Of Dust And Nations
  • 6. The Earth Will Shake
  • 7. The Messenger
  • 8. Helter Skelter (The Beatles cover)
  • 9. In Exile
  • 10. Beggars

Blink 182

A heightened pulse, a sense of expectation, growing excitement. All those can be experienced across the crowd as we're in the final minutes to the starting point. All of which culminates in a frenetic mosh pit in an instant after the curtain drops down and the first notes to "Dumpweed" blast out the speakers. The sing along is absolutely massive, with the crowd roar drowning Tom's vocals underneath. It's a good thing, because his vocals are pretty fuckin' atrocious live, but tonight nobody gives a shit for two reasons. One, you can barely hear him, and two, the songs are just too great for anyone to make a fuzz about it. A swift guitar switch and we're straight into "Feeling This", followed by a hyper energetic version of "The Rock Show" and one of the biggest crowd favorites "What's My Age Again?". What a way to kick off the show, especially because the guys are all over the place on stage. It's everything we expected Blink 182 to be in a live environment and then some.

But then the inevitable happens. The songs from the self-titled album. "Violence" sees the crowd die down almost immediately. The sing along is still there, but less voluminous than before. "I Miss You", being a quiet song, doesn't do much to help. "Stay Together For The Kids" offers a glimmer of hope, before "Down" kills the atmosphere once again for, well, being such a downer of a song. Luckily, Zeus decides that it's time to give the crowd an ass kicking to wake them up, and unleashes a monsoon's worth of rain on the field just when the band are half way through "Always". It provides perfect setting for people to start going batshit crazy when "First Date" arrives followed by "Man Overboard". You know that feeling where you're so happy that nothing can beat you down, not even a monsoon rain? That feels like a consensus within the audience, especially with songs like "Don't Leave Me" and "All The Small Things" that follow down the line. Did I bring up the notion of a sing along yet?

Suddenly we realize it's a lot darker than before, and the trees surrounding the stage on the right side are lit in red-yellow-green colour, just like the original Blink 182 logo. Pretty neat. This is something I noticed in between songs when Tom and Mark were engaged in their usual fart jokes and juvenile toilet humour. It has always been an essential part of a Blink 182 live experience, as I'm sure you've heard on their live albums and the like, but that's a long time ago and the guys from the band got serious in the meantime. +44 and Angels And Airwaves aren't exactly high school bands, you know. So even though the guys try to resuscitate the humour on stage to the delight of the crowd, it just doesn't sound very convincing. I'm just not buying it, toilet humour from 40 year old dudes, come on. Someone insert a facepalm picture here, please?

Anyway, the chatter only reduces the overall impression slightly, which is that Blink 182 are still a fantastic live band that know how to engage the audience. It helps to have amazing songs, of course, but the way the band are moving on stage envisages a group of guys who are having fun playing the songs they always were meant to be playing. So when I finally get to hear "Josie" and "Carousel", two of the best Blink 182 songs from the old era, I'm halfway crying from joy, and by the time "Family Reunion" finishes the show, the only disappointment is that there aren't more than 21 songs in their repertoire. We may leave the venue absolutely drenched in water, but I can only see people smiling in whatever direction we look (our friend Kasper excluded who lost himself in the crowd while drunk).

Roskilde, you know what to do.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Dumpweed
  • 2. Feeling This
  • 3. The Rock Show
  • 4. What's My Age Again?
  • 5. Violence
  • 6. I Miss You
  • 7. Stay Together For The Kids
  • 8. Down
  • 9. Always
  • 10. Stockholm Syndrome
  • 11. First Date
  • 12. Man Overboard
  • 13. Don't Leave Me
  • 14. Not Now
  • 15. All The Small Things
  • 16. Reckless Abandon
  • 17. Josie
  • 18. Anthem Part Two
  • --encore--
  • 19. Carousel
  • 20. Dammit
  • 21. Family Reunion

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