When someone utters the words, “when I was your age” it can often be assumed it's one of those mother to daughter or father to son moments. But when you're well past what's considered “jail bait” – possibly even legal drinking age – and the person speaking happens to be Angels & Airwaves' Tom DeLonge, it can come across as a strikingly odd thing to say.
The pop-punk prince turned political activist, after all, isn't exactly Mick Jagger old, and those former diehard Blink-182 fans, well, they aren't exactly what you'd call young'uns.
As DeLonge shared a story of young love, before segueing into “It Hurts” midway through the band's set at the Long Beach Arena, it wasn't the converted Angels fans he was addressing, but instead, the thousands of pesky teenagers – with their homemade T-Shirts, throwing up totally lame renditions of rock hands – in attendance, most of which had came for co-headliner Taking Back Sunday.
When Angels & Airwaves made its first Los Angeles appearance in May, DeLonge shared his goal of becoming the biggest band in the world. Though he may be setting the bar a bit too high, there's no doubt the band's atmospheric rock translates well in an arena setting, much more so than listening to its debut, We Don't Need to Whisper , on CD.
Most of the band's set including opening “ Valkyrie Missile,” “The Adventure,” and “Distraction” – a song DeLonge explained to be about struggle – proved to be climatic, and at times moving. But when the frontman joined the top tier of the arena to tell a joke about contracting gonorrhea and to sing Boxcar Racer tune “There Is,” the band began to lose its steam becoming more dragged out than intense, and never really came full circle again.
The New York-based, post-hardcore band Taking Back Sunday on the other hand, maintained a steady, energetic pace throughout.
To the band's credit, it was musically on point through the duration of its set, which weighed heavily with songs off its latest album Louder Now (“What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?,” “Make Damn Sure,” “Twenty-Twenty Surgery”).
It's hard, however, not to be sidetracked by the Jessie Jackson/Benny Hinn-circus performer persona and onstage banter of frontman Adam Lazzara, that sometimes borderlines on cheese. Seeing someone swing their mic chord around their neck, may be cool the first, even the second time, but when it's done 50 times in a row, it gets old real fast.
Lazzara's onstage antics did, however, get the crowd riled up, to say the least. But when you're playing to an audience, the majority of them, being females in their tween/teen years it's not that hard to win over a crowd.
And seriously, who knew the ability to semi-play harmonica could produce so many shrieks and make so many girls weak in the knees, as Lazzara did during Taking Back Sunday's performance of “Divine Intervention.”
But then again, it wasn't just his vocal abilities or his gray hair that helped Taylor Hicks win season five of American Idol.