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First Night: Blink 182

"You made us break up, you f***ers!" Hmmm, you make an interesting point there, Tom.

Yes, the last show that San Diego pop punk pioneers Blink-182 ever played in front of a live audience before p*ssing on their chips in spectacular fashion was in fact six years ago within these very same walls. And, while Mr DeLonge may just be joking with us tonight, we can't help but feel a tad responsible for the events that followed.

We're talking major arguments here; the kind that would eventually lead to the guys calling it quits on not just the band, but indeed, their friendships. But we all know where this one is going, don't we?

Yep, after years spent drifting in and out of various musical side projects, the lads finally made up following a horrific plane crash two years ago in which drummer Travis Barker barely escaped with his life.

There's a whole lot more to the story, of course, but that's neither here nor there as the newly revitalised trio take to their instruments for what turns out to be a mightily impressive comeback.

There's no denying the fact that Tom, Travis, and mischievous bass player Mark Hoppus certainly know their way around a cracking tune, not least What's My Age Again, and the brilliant All the Small Things.

wonderful

Tom's questionable ability as a live vocalist aside, they sound wonderfully tight for a group of musicians who've yet to record a new album together, and while there may be times when they refuse to part ways with the adolescent melodies and delivery of their heyday, it's songs such as the superbly arranged I Miss You that reminds us just how exciting and mature a path they began to tread before splitting.

Visually speaking, it's quite a stunning show, too -- the pinnacle of which arrives when Barker is turned upside down and spun around for one of the most entertaining drum solos I've ever seen. Another tinsel-wrapped ingredient to make up for a lack of new material? Perhaps, but that's not important.

What matters is that the players in front of us seem to have rediscovered the enjoyment that can only be experienced when all three of them unite for a most excellent exhibition of thrilling musical madness. And for those fortunate enough to witness such an event, that enjoyment is pretty damn infectious.


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