Say Anything started out the evening with their anthemic “Hate Everyone,” the first single released off their 2009 eponymous album. Singer Max Bemis later rolled through “Mara and Me,” “Eloise” and “Do Better” from the same album; the latter highlighted solos by the rest of his sextet. The indie punk rockers also played a few old tunes with In Defense of the Genre’s “Shiksa” and Is a Real Boy’s “Woe” and set finale “Alive with the Glory of Love.”
“You guys are great,” Bemis informed the audience, which often sang his lyrics for him. “Easily one of the best shows on this tour!”
Angels & Airwaves kicked off their set with Love (available for free download here) album opener Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce; white strobe lights backlit the band, enhancing the ambiance for the ethereal, sci-fi track. Watch the intro here.
The light show continued, shooting strategically timed colored beams as the quartet performed much of their new material, including “Young London,” “Hallucinations” and “Shove”— a song that bassist Matt Wachter told us about earlier this spring.
“It’s a really, really stripped down song,” he said. “Most of the Angels & Airwaves songs have layers and layers of keyboards and really lush instrumentation with a lot going on. This song was the antithesis of that — just bass, drums and guitar and the keyboards would kick in on the chorus, but it was really stripped down. I felt kind of exposed. Even live I feel like it sounds like something’s missing. But it’s really cool in the sense that it gets back to the root and essence of what rock music is, as it’s just a simple arrangement. I think most bass players, myself included, on first listen usually come up with something way too complicated and way too intricate and just too note-y. You always have to step back and really look at it and simplify and let the bass line support the melody and structure of the song and not overpower it.”
Frontman Tom DeLonge, also of Blink-182 fame, had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand throughout the show, and seemed truly touched by the audience’s warm response.
“I thought maybe, just maybe if our band had four punk rock guys that started something that stood for hope and then a couple of thousand people showed up in Phoenix, it might be pretty fucking cool,” said DeLonge.
“We’re not on the radio. We’re not on TV and you found us still. Six years ago when we started this band we didn’t know what would happen. And tonight I come here and f–k, I feel so validated.”
Angels & Airwaves also played a few older tunes, including I-Empire’s “Everything’s Magic,” We Don’t Need to Whisper’s “It Hurts” and crowd-favorite “The Adventure.”
As soon as the prog-rockers left the stage, the crowd demanded more, chanting, “One More Song.”
DeLonge and crew delivered did better than that, performing two more songs—”Breathe” and “The War”—for an encore.
After touring for the last eight weeks, Say Anything and Angels & Airwaves will finish up their spring jaunt with shows this weekend in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Ventura, Calif.