Music has the power to bring people together, and live music can foster and create connections. It’s been more than seven years since Angels & Airwaves have toured the United States, and their show at The Fillmore Philadelphia sold out well in advance. A long line formed hours before doors, with many people dressed in Angels & Airwaves shirts and merch from other Tom DeLonge endeavors: these are people who know their band, and who can’t wait to see them for the first time in several years.
Energy buzzed in the room as they walked on stage, opening to “Surrender.” DeLonge gripped the mic for this opener; throughout the set, he’d alternate between playing guitar and only singing. The band played a healthy mixture of songs from their discography, and even deep cuts like “Overload” and slower tracks like “It Hurts” and “Wolfpack” impressed the crowd with their musicianship. Drummer Ilan Rubin would later show off with a drum solo; it may have been several years since they’d been on tour, but Angels & Airwaves did not miss a beat.
After “Paralyzed,” DeLonge said, “There is an opportunity for something special to happen
tonight,” telling the room about an experiment where everyone’s brain waves come together at a concert. It may seem cheesy, it may seem a bit cliché, but there was a little bit of magic in the air as Angels & Airwaves fans came together that night.
The whole night wasn’t serious; DeLonge would throw in occasional jokes about “hot mamas” or make goofy facial expressions, which kept the mood light. Earlier this summer, Angels & Airwaves released the single “Rebel Girl” – and as soon as they hit the first notes, fans cheered, and sang along with every word just as much as they did for the band’s biggest hit, “The Adventure.” At a quiet moment later in the set, DeLonge waxed poetic as he reminisced about his time in blink-182, and then played a medley of blink’s “I Miss You,” “There Is (Box Car Racer),” and “Aliens Exist,” which fans who know of his interest in extraterrestrial life got quite the kick out of.
There was an ecstatic quality to the performance, exemplified in songs like “Hallucinations” and the closer, “Heaven.” You could say a six-and-a-half-minute epic track is over-the-top, but for Angels & Airwaves, that’s exactly the point. DeLonge reminded the crowd to “go out there and make your life something special” and as the final refrains echoed through the room, there’s no doubt they would.
Check out our exclusive photos of the show from @MHudelson below: