Blink-182 Acoustic Set Double Header at Pryzm Live Review, Kingston, London – Friday 18th October 2019

Blink-182 Acoustic Live At Pryzm in Kingston, 18th October 2019

When Blink-182 randomly announced an under-the-radar one-off intimate acoustic show to launch new album ‘NINE’ (read the Rock Sins review of NINE) at Kingston’s Pryzm tickets went like hot-cakes – the entire event sold out in a quick 30 seconds. Such was the demand that a second show was added which also sold out in a flash. With a lot of luck and some serious smashing of the refresh button, Rock Sins’ Claire Frays was one of the lucky ones in attendance for not one but both acoustic shows at Przym. Here’s what she had to say.

The last time the UK had the chance to see Blink-182 was all the way back in 2017 on the California album cycle headlining various arenas from the North to South before hitting the mighty O2 Arena.

It’s a different setting tonight though in the teeny-tiny Pryzm venue for a rare chance to see the Pop-Punk heroes up close and personal. Excited Blink-182 fans eagerly took refuge under Pryzm’s canopies on a rainy day in Kingston. Many have queued for hours and some have travelled from as far away as Italy to witness Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba get their acoustic on.

With the stage decked out in some very rock and roll throat spray and alcohol hand gel coupled with some fancy Bordeaux wine for Hoppus and Red Bull for Skiba proceedings got under-way to a fanfare of applause.

They opened with the oh-so-catchy almost dancey track Dark Side which on paper an acoustic version sounds like it wouldn’t work at all but Skiba and Hoppus prove us wrong and it sets the scene for 45 minutes more of pure acoustic bliss.

Then came Cynical – if you know the studio version you can only imagine how hard this one is acoustic to nail the timing between the opening lines and the fast bit that follows especially when you’ve not got a drummer with you. This causes some slight issues for Skiba and Hoppus in nailing the transition but a fan in the audience is ready to lend a helping hand with some clap drumming that Travis Barker surely would have been proud of. The band acknowledges this proclaiming “Travis? Is that you?!”. They get things moving again in true blink style though with first-class banter and finish the remainder of the song without a hitch.

Matt Skiba Blink-182 Kingston Acoustic Show Pryzm October 18th 2019

The focus from there (and also much of the 7 pm set) was geared more around the new release NINE which meant fans were treated to many of the tracks performed acoustically for the very first time in public. It was thrilling and it was exciting to see these songs translated into acoustic versions. Blame It On My Youth and I Really Wish I Hated You sounded fantastic.

Thrown in the middle was a surprising version of a Post-Malone song called A Thousand Times only ran through a pop-punk blender and Blink-ified. Its appearance was so random in the set that it seemed completely spur of the moment and Skiba was left to quickly figure out chords. Hoppus took the lead on the verses whilst Skiba nailed the higher notes on the chorus. Whilst we’ve got no beef with Post Malone, we have to say that Blink made it their own to the point it sounded like it could have come straight off NINE as an original track.

The usual fan-favourites were of course there in the form of the biggest singalongs in Blink’s Pop-Punk armoury – Down, I Miss You and of course, set-closer All The Small Things. All that was missing was The Rock Show.

The crowd wanted more though and their cries paid off with an epic rendition of the hilarious Family Reunion. Think of all the swear words put into one song and you’ll get this result. The second show didn’t get an encore (or this song) so we’re pretty chuffed we got to see it. An entertaining encore finish to a show loaded with banter and a whole load of acoustic fun.

Then came the second show – cleverly pencilled in for you guessed it NINE pm.

It would have been easy or perhaps even expected for Skiba and Hoppus to do a carbon copy of the 7 pm show only they actually didn’t. This was a real bonus and added thrill for fans who were lucky enough to be at both shows. Even the banter between songs was different so it was refreshing to see such off the cuff genuine unrehearsed almost personal chit-chat between the band and the crowd.

The second show was perhaps less focused on the NINE album than the first which was strange as this was the album release party but when they’ve switched in What’s My Age Again? you can’t really complain, can you?

Blink-182 Matt Hoppus Matt Skiba Acoustic Pryzm Kingston 18th October 2019

One of the best parts was when Hoppus and Skiba threw the next song into a crowd vote which resulted in inaudible yelling across Pryzm. A few Alkaline Trio die-hards were screaming for Private Eye and Mr Chainsaw (wouldn’t that have that been great!?). In a bid to silence the over-enthusiastic crowd Hoppus picked what can only be described as the most stereotypical British thing we’ve ever seen at a concert – a fan who had politely raised his hand to request a song. Seriously, this happened. And, we owe a round of the applause to this chap because he got us Dammit put into the setlist when it wasn’t meant to be played.

It was at this precise moment that whatever else was on the setlist after Dammit was thrown completely out of the window. Sparked by an impromptu on-stage “band meeting”, Aliens Exist was a surprise but welcome addition to the set before All The Small Things came along again. And just like that, they ended with a quick blitz of Built This Pool before taking their last bow.

The sing-a-longs and vibe for both shows was something special to have witnessed and been part of to the point that it would be wrong to pick which show was the better as both were outstanding. After a long day of press since breakfast TV, the energy both Hoppus and Skiba gave the set was something else. Whatever these guys are on, we want it.

It was also great to see Skiba really hold his own and look at ease in the band compared to when he first joined. Skiba in Blink-182 just works in ways we can’t explain. With any luck, his tenure with Blink will long continue alongside Alkaline Trio.

Fans that witnessed either (or both!) shows at Pryzm know that the opportunity to see Blink like this is again is unlikely and perhaps that’s what made it all the more special. We’ll be buzzing about this one for quite a while because frankly acoustic sets don’t often get this good. [10]

Setlist (7pm show)
Bored to Death
Wasting Time
I Miss You
Generational Divide
I Really Wish I Hated You
A Thousand Bad Times (Post Malone cover)
Blame It on My Youth
All the Small Things
Family Reunion

Setlist (9pm show)
Bored to Death
Wasting Time
I Miss You (The Cure’s The Lovecats intro)
What’s My Age Again?
I Really Wish I Hated You
A Thousand Bad Times (Post Malone cover)
Dammit (with snippet of TLC’s No Scrubs)
Aliens Exist
All the Small Things
Built This Pool

Pick up the new Blink-182 album, Nine, from Amazon digitally or on CD now.

All photos by Claire Frays.

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