"Oh, my God. The guy that sings the love songs just said bad f***in' words," said Tom DeLonge, mimicking a shocked concertgoer after he informed the audience of how good he is in bed. Even though DeLonge started a band based on hope, inspiration and infinite human capacity, he still says "f***" a lot. Angels & Airwaves doesn't have that musical chemistry between Mark Hoppus, DeLonge and Travis Barker that made Blink-182 well, Blink-182. Still, seeing DeLonge take the stage, trademark Gibson ES-333 in hand, was like seeing an old friend. And to his credit, he was as energetic and passionate about the performance as he ever was with Blink. These songs are DeLonge's and it seemed there was no place he would rather be than right there, playing them.
DeLonge is the big brother to a whole generation of kids raised on Blink-182's irreverent pop-punk, myself included. I stood elbow-to-elbow in that same mosh pit in 2001 while they played beneath giant letters that spelled out DeLonge's favorite F-word and then burst into flames. And we weren't even the first wave of Blink fans. Rumors persist that the very first time Blink came to Idaho in the mid '90s, they played a barn in Caldwell. DeLonge's music endures because of the accessibility. You can be that concertgoer, hearing for the very first time as he raves about his skills in the sack, or you can be like me, glad to see your old friend. Or you can be like the dad I stood next to in the pit, around DeLonge's age, who came to the show with his daughter. The music, he told me, is "f***ing transcendent." I agreed.