A few months ago, I took a nostalgic trip to see one of my favorite childhood bands perform in DC. Shortly after, I received an email notification that another influential band from my childhood was playing at a venue in a city closeby. With the overwhelming success of experiencing Snow Patrol, I could not resist buying tickets to see the incredibly sentimental Angels and Airwaves live.
Tom DeLonge, the lead singer of the more widely known band Blink 182, went on to create the ambient, space, punk-pop soundscapes that occupied my childhood road trips and high school planning periods while also shaping the formative years of my adolescence. Angels and Airwaves reminds me of my first car, my second bedroom, adjusting to a new home, a new school, new relationships and Graduation.
2011 was the year I threw my cap into the air. 2012 was the last year Angels and Airwaves performed for the public. I waited seven years before they announced their return. There was no way I could miss this tour.
Silver Spring, Maryland was the closest opportunity. The Fillmore. I went with Nick Crawford, and on our way to the venue, we figured it would be best to stop and use the restroom before proceeding. We went into a local restaurant a few doors down. For fear of a ‘customers only’ rule, I sat at the bar and ordered a drink while Nick relieved himself.
My drink arrives at the same time a gentleman enters the bar and sits two seats away from me. He’s carrying an Angels and Airwaves souvenir bag and a few metallic posters that seemed to be signed by the band. I asked him, “Are those VIP goodies?”
He proceeded to tell me he received an email claiming his tickets had been upgraded to VIP and early access for free. Before I could pull out my phone to check my email, he turns to me and says, “Want one?”
Unable to process what I just heard, I stammered a quick “No, I mean, I do not want to take your signed posters,” while simultaneously resisting the urge to grab the poster and run. Of course, I wanted a signed poster
“My wife and I bought tickets to this show for a date night. We’re not going to hang two posters. I don’t even think she knows the band,” he explains to me. As my head begged me to take the poster, I politely accepted. “Here,” he said, as he handed me a commemorative silver coin and a bag to hold the poster. I protested, but luckily he insisted. I thanked him profusely and bought his first drink for him.
Having started the evening in the best possible way, we proceeded to a line that was literally wrapped around the block. It was a sold-out show. Nick and I, along with nearly 2000 other people spent the night reveling in the incredible return of a band we loved and missed.
I could say this a thousand more times and it would not be enough. Go see the artist you love. Take the trip you’ve been dreaming of. Talk to people. Make new friends. Do things that feed your spirit. Money can always be recouped, but your time can’t. Spend it doing something unforgettable.
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Photos by Nicholas Crawford