Taking Back Sunday

Irving Plaza / New York City, NY

Taking Back Sunday by Ryan Russell
Taking Back Sunday by Ryan Russell

I’m 28 years old and I’ve seen Taking Back Sunday live 27 times. They simply keep delivering: adroitly balancing a doting fanbase with a genuine hunger for new creative challenges.

Their current tour supporting their September release, Tidal Wave, is billed as “Smaller Venues, Longer Sets,” which in itself is an admission of fan-service. It finds TBS at an interesting time in their career: TW is a departure from their previous sound (a means to satisfy the creative urges of artists on their seventh LP), and their tour supporting it is, it would seem, purposefully aimed at scratching their audience’s back. While those two goals may seem dichotomous, TBS found a fantastic solution.

They’re playing TW front-to-back, then performing a “greatest hits” set. It works masterfully. Singer Adam Lazzara’s performance has long been a standout for them (early shows found him hanging upside down from stage rafters) and- exactly like their songwriting- has matured wonderfully, gaining charisma and poise without losing potency. He owns the stage with a magnetism that combines southern hospitality, wild-west roguishness and a kind of American rockstar confidence that remains unmatched. Lazzara jokes about knowing people want to hear early hits and waxes on just how incredibly awesome TBS think their new album is and how immeasurably excited they are to play it for you.

Both sets are phenomenal. The audience sings every word. Not a soul dares leave early. I can’t wait to see them for a 28th time.

-Mark Shreve

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