show recap: taking back sunday/thursday (july 4, 2011)

photo credit: weworemasks

Houston isn’t one to get too many ‘holiday’ shows. So an Independence Day with two bands I grew up listening to, a little beer and a solid round of company seemed like the perfect blend of circumstances to have a good time. Taking Back Sunday is newly reformed, with the original lineup of the days of 2002, which was clear and away one of the most crucial reasons the folks in attendance were there to begin with.


photo credit: weworemasks

Typically late, I arrived to the venue to the sound of Colour Revolt heading towards the finish line of their set. The Oxford, MS crew was out opening a high profile tour in support of 2010’s The Cradle, and the crowd seemed to be enjoying their sound and overall energy, but were in high anticipation of what was to come.

photo credit: weworemasks

Thursday is a band that’s had a very polarizing career as far as albums and fanbases go. All things considering, they’ve always been a great live band, touching base on all of their five (excluding Waiting) albums in their setlist. The band came out with their No Devolucion opener “Fast to the End,” as well as a burst of white confetti that fell over the audience. Geoff Rickley has never been one to shy away from being honest, and he made it clear that he loved being on this tour because “it was one of the first times where all of the bands were good,” hopefully referring to A Skylit Drive, who played on this past January’s Full Collapse tour with Underoath.

photo credit: weworemasks

And while the lull of the new material obviously fell over the crowd halfway through their set, they managed to pull everyone back in with a performance of “Jet Black New Year,” that would send any closeted emo kid into a time warp to the days of the Five Stories Falling EP. Sprinkling in War All The Time‘s “For the Workforce, Drowning” was a nice touch, as was the speedy performance of “Understanding.” After a forty-minute set, Thursday would end on a new note, powering through No Devolucion‘s “Turnpike Divides.”

photo credit: weworemasks

After having reformed, Taking Back Sunday hit the stage looking happier, more vibrant and comfortable than they ever have. Throughout the set, both John Nolan and Adam Lazarra traded barbs and quips referring to their lapse in respective judgments, reflected upon the times during the writing process of Tell All Your Friends and earlier tours. All of this energy was given right back to the band, as this was perhaps the loudest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Taking Back Sunday – which says a lot if you consider the sardine-esque shows at Mary Jane’s in 2002. After kicking off with “El Paso,” I heard the voices of thousands resonating around me.

photo credit: weworemasks

While the band just released Taking Back Sunday a mere week ago, only four of the albums tracks were performed. This leaves obvious breathing room on the setlist, much of which was filled with the shiny treasures of 2002’s Tell All Your Friends, which attributed to seven of the 19 total songs. And while Adam isn’t as small as he was in 2002, the classic mic swinging and head shaking (head bobbing for John Nolan) were all in full effect.

photo credit: weworemasks

The band had a particular mission this evening, and possibly the entire tour. While Mark O Connell was not one to shy away from dismissing any and every incarnation of Taking Back Sunday besides the current one – the band slyly left any trace of New Again out of the setlist. Not only that, but they embraced Straylight Run, a band that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper left Taking Back Sunday for. While an homage performance of “Existentialism on Prom Night” was a huge surprise, the real kicker was seeing Adam Lazarra perform lead vocals and talk about his love for the song. However ‘forced’ it may have seemed on the surface, it was good to see any band full of friends settle their differences and look towards the future.

Not to mention, this particular performance made Matt Fazzi and Matt Rubano’s existence diminutive.

photo credit: weworemasks

One of the more obvious bouts of energy and charisma came near the end of Taking Back Sunday’s set. During “This is All Now,” Lazarra made his way about 200 feet off and in front of the stage to the soundbooth, where he performed the rest of the song. The crowd engulfed him and turned his excursion in a very loud campfire setting. The moment wasn’t over, as Adam made his way to the bar perpendicular to the soundbooth, and the band announced that their last song was “Cute Without the E,” catered in by an explosion of red, white and blue confetti (America – fuck yeah!) and a large American flag that draped over the Taking Back Sunday banner.

photo credit: weworemasks

And in case you’re wondering – yes. Adam did finish “Cute” atop the bar and disrupting business, but not before ordering and taking shots of Jagermeister during his performance. The bartenders obliged him gracefully, as did the 200 or so concert attendees who flocked to the sidebar and treated it as a sidestage. It was a true rock star moment in Lazarra, and this is a frontman who spent many of his early years hanging, swinging and singing from the rafters of whatever venue would host him. The performance culminated in one of the most memorable concert experiences – and a Houston best for Taking Back Sunday.

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[ed note: I know many of you aren’t really getting how loud this crowd was, so watch this video and judge for yourself.]



El Paso
Make Damn Sure
You Know How I Do
Faith (When I Let You Down)
Bike Scene
One Eighty By Summer
Timberwolves at New Jersey
Existentialism on Prom Night (Straylight Run Cover)
What’s It Feel Like to be a Ghost?
A Decade Under the Influence
Since You’re Gone
Set Phasers to Stun
You’re So Last Summer
Ghost Man on Third
This is All Now
Cute Without the ‘E’

Your Own Disaster


Fast to No End
For the Workforce, Drowning
Counting 5-4-3-2-1
Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart
Understanding in a Car Crash
No Answers
Sparks Against the Sun
Jet Black New Year
Turnpike Divides


-What a great show, seriously.
-HOB: Turn your A/C up. It was hot as hell in there, and we’re way too old to be sweating at shows.
-John Nolan doesn’t age. I mean the guy still looks 18!
-HOB: Enough with the backlighting. It’s impossible to take pictures!
-Ran into Mark O Connell at Dirt Bar following the show, and I mentioned New Again – to which he laughed and said “Let’s not talk about New Again.” These guys.
-HOB: Lower your beer prices
-Try not to miss this tour. The bulk of TAYF is worth admission alone
-Thanks to Warner for hooking it up.


  1. Christian Otte

    I know the whole New Again period sucked for the band, but fuck, that record has some really good songs on it that deserve to be played live.

  2. weworemasks

    i’m with ya, christian. tracks 4-6 are some of the best songs they’ve recorded, and ‘everything must go’ is a classic jam.


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