Live Review: Taking Back Sunday @ The Paramount, Huntington-11.21.12

thats a wrapLong Island music scene veterans Taking Back Sunday are a special beast.

Flashback ten years; this was one of THE bands at the forefront of the emo/pop- punk/alternative scene. Their debut album, Tell All Your Friends, was, and continues to be one of the most celebrated records. So, it should come as no surprise that now, after a decade of line up changes, releases, label swaps, and tours, Taking Back Sunday would return home with their “original” lineup to celebrate their seminal album.

NOTE: Though it’s not actually the original lineup, it is widely considered to be the band’s definitive lineup. Also, TBS had reformed this lineup in 2011 and released an album (Taking Back Sunday) prior to this.

After rounding the country in support of the ten-year anniversary of Tell All Your Friends (TAYF), Taking Back Sunday (TBS) returned to The Paramount (Huntington, NY) this past Wednesday, November 21, 2012. With the venue sold out and lines wrapped around blocks, the show was set to be one to remember; however, no one was quite ready for what would ensue.

Long Island acts Life Between Sleep and Bayside opened the night. Fans, seething with anticipation, cheered as the lights dimmed and the “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” theme song cued. Silhouettes moved across the stage in the dark. The slow build of anticipation neared an apex as the lights slowly rose up and the loop ended. With distorted guitars, angst ridden vocals, echoing drums, and thick bass TBS took full control of the room.

Though the TAYF ’10 tour was centered on the classic record, TBS fired through a mini set filled with fan favorites from their assorted discography first. Tracks such as “A Decade Under the Influence,” “Faith (When I Let You Down),” MakeDamnSure,” and “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” whet the insatiable appetites of those in attendance. With that, the lights fell back once again, and the band was gone. Knowing their set was far from over, the crowd did not settle. Camera flashes and phone backlights pierced the dark, and before long, distorted guitars faded back in, this time with the TAYF opener, “You Know How I Do.”

What would ensue can only be described as chaos. TBS delivered an inclusive performance that literally spanned the entire venue. Tracks were complete with full instrumentation– i.e. strings (courtesy of L.I. natives Gabriel the Marine’s Dylan Ebrahimian) and additional vocals (courtesy of Michele DaRose {Nolan}). Aside from supplemental instrumentation, TBS delivered a fully invested performance. Frontman/vocalist Adam Lazarra left the sanctity of the stage and made his way around the room. From the VIP balconies to the general admission bars, Lazarra was everywhere.  Needless to say, fans were ecstatic.

While Lazarra set out on his odyssey, the rest of the band held the stage down. Guitarist/Vocalist John Nolan delivered gut-wrenching vocals. Bassist Shaun Cooper and Guitarist Eddie Reyes shared tight rhythm. Drummer Mark O’Connell held them all together, and live member Nathan Cogan filled out the band’s sound with additional guitar, keyboards, and vocals.

TBS worked their way through TAYF; however, the ten tracks would simply not be enough. After the album closer “Head Club” came to an end, Lazarra grabbed an acoustic guitar. In addition to the original track listing of the album, the band would play the two bonus songs, “Your Own Disaster,” and “The Ballad of al Villanueva,” which can be found on the album’s re-release. Though many seemed less aware of the latter song, TBS would close on it. No encores or anything, just the original album they promised.

Tonally, the band sounded big, but they were not perfect. The vocals weren’t always where they should’ve been; the guitars weren’t always perfectly tuned.  Yet, the roughness around their edges was all the more appealing. The band’s imperfections helped transport the room to a time long ago, when TBS was still a new band. All in all, Taking Back Sunday delivered exactly what they set out to—a solid recreation of their now ten year old masterpiece. Though they may not be the perfect live band, their energy and enthusiasm carry their sincerity.