BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
This was the show that I had been secretly waiting for all year long.
I was introduced to this band back in 2005, and they were instantly a favorite. A decade before I even picked up a camera or knew what one was, I knew that one way or another I would see this band live. I couldn’t have ever imagined that it would be through the lens.
When the tour was announced, it sold out nationwide the first day tickets were able to be purchased.
The energy was electric.
Scores of excited fans lined around The Pageant in St. Louis, Missouri, proudly displaying their Blink-182 and Angels and Airwaves tattoos (yes, myself included!).
“If this is the last concert I get to before I die, then I’m gonna be die a happy man!” one fan exclaimed. And he wouldn’t have been disappointed. This was a show for the ages, from the lights, the music itself, and the little stories that Tom Delonge would tell in between songs, it was an emotionally charged, Space Age rockfest from start to finish.
Opening the lineup was a band from Los Angeles by way of London, Charming Liars. And charming they were indeed. Their sound was a smooth combination of brooding energy mixed with passionate lyrics and, refreshingly, attention to detail. Vocalist Kiliyan Maguire ignited the crowd with his dominating state presence, at one time calling for the audience to join him in waving their phones in the air side to side for effect (which, I’ll admit as a photographer wasn’t the most ideal environment, but I’m sure it looked hella cool from his point of view). The crowd eagerly ate up tracks from their “Thought, Flesh and Bone” album, released earlier this year by Chartmaker, Inc.
Second up was a band hailing from San Diego, CA called The New Regime. Vocalist Ilan Rubin took the stage and immediately continued where the previous act left off. Dancing with illuminating lights behind the drum kit, their performance was certainly eye-catching. A mess of hair, he could easily be mistaken at first glance for a smaller version of Claudio Sanchez of Coheed & Cambria. He played tracks from his new EP “Heart” which debuted earlier this year in September under COMMAND! Music.
After a brief intermission, the lights dimmed. The crowd erupted. Fans began to weep openly from the front row. Tom Delonge commandingly took to the microphone and opened with “Surrender” from Angels and Airwaves‘, “Love, Pt. 1 & 2” album from 2011. The show never slowed down after that moment. Delonge showed now visible signs of aging or slowing down as the show progressed, telling the crowd stories about a snowboarding trip, and pointing to one member of the crowd, telling him, “You seem like a really swell fucking dude!”
At one point in the show, Tom stopped the music and said, “You know, they did a study once where they found out that at a concert, everyone’s brain waves sync up and we all get to experience the same thing at the same time. So what you’re experiencing right now, the person next to you is also experiencing.
And he was right.
Everywhere I wandered that night to get another photo, both on the ground level and up in the mezzanine, fans from all age groups were singing their hearts out as Angels and Airwaves continued to play hit after hit, experiencing the pure joy of sound, lights, and lyrics.
Delonge left the stage after a heartfelt, “Thank you,” to the fans and with the encouragement to not give up on your dreams. “I never thought we’d be here today,” he said. “But this is what not giving up gets you. So please don’t ever give up on your dreams!”
And I certainly hope that we won’t. Thanks for all the nostalgia. The memories. The lyrics. And most of all, the music. It’s no wonder why the venue was sold out. This was indeed, a once in a lifetime experience.
Angels and Airwaves
The New Regime
All images © Jess Beck
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