Twenty years is a long time to do any one thing, but one decade-defying band from Long Island, New York has been captivating audiences for that long and counting. Taking Back Sunday (TBS) is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary with a new greatest hits album, two new songs and a year-long, worldwide tour. On the 16th and 17th of April, TBS took the Ace of Spades stage in Sacramento, CA with two back-to-back sold out shows that took fans on a nostalgic rock n’ roll journey that no one who attended will soon forget.
Kicking off their first night on the “Twenty” Tour was The Maine, from Tempe, AZ. They brought a bouncy, head bobbing energy to the audience with their catchy lyrics and snappy beat, lead singer, John O’Callaghan at one point quite literally leading the crowd to snap their fingers with him. The pop rock group from the deep Arizona desert had fans singing along to mostly familiar favorites like Black Butterflies and Deja Vu and Am I Pretty? but of course, threw in a few tracks off their new album, You Are Ok, including Numb Without You and Slip the Noose. Even concert-goers in the crowd who weren’t singing along were either nodding their head or tapping their feet. The Maine’s 11 song setlist was the perfect way to get the crowd moving to start off the night.
Classic rock tunes from The Eagles and John Mellencamp played over the P.A. as crew members began setting the stage for the night’s headliners and the crowd wasted no time trying to secure their spots on the floor. The sea of people pushed closer and closer to the stage, a buzz of anticipation lingered in the air. All at once, the music stopped, the lights went out. A roar of screams and cheers echoed off the walls as the members of Taking Back Sunday took center stage, starting the two album setlist with You Know How I Do. Following the tracklist of their first album, TBS fans got to start the first half of the set singing along to popular favorites Cute Without the ‘E (Cut From The Team), Timberwolves At New Jersey, and You’re So Last Summer.
The king of the mic swing, lead vocalist Adam Lazzara, enthralled the crowd with his signature, always entertaining talent of throwing and twirling the mic around throughout his performance. The man really knew his audience (and their age group), making jokes about how six and seven year olds were listening to their first albums. Lazzara showed off more of his funny bone, taking a moment to tell a tale of how the band came up with the feel of their first album, a chuckle worthy “picture if you will” description of sneaking into his mother’s room, full of teenage angst, to steal a candle to light while staring at the wall, brooding. He talked about spending time with his family around the City of Trees, told little tidbits about the tour and the band’s travels, poked fun at his bandmates, almost as if having a conversation with an old friend. There’s something to be said about a frontman that not only loves to entertain, but truly connect with his audience.
Fans were already aware that they would hear the Tell All Your Friends album in its entirety, and what a more perfect way to celebrate 20 years than to start the show where it all began. But what they didn’t know was which album would be played next. After the final song from the first set concluded, TBS took a moment to express their gratitude to the audience for helping them celebrate 20 years with an emotional anecdote from Lazzara about them being there with the audience for all the important moments through their music. He quickly and comically segued to bringing their tour manager to the stage to not only thank him, but to also give him one of the most important jobs of the night—determining the fate of the rest of the show with the flip of a coin. On one side, the Where You Want To Be album, the Louder Now album on the other. The rest of the night’s lighting, sound, and tone rested in the fate of a two second flip. With a quick peak, Lazzara belted out “Where You Want To Be” and the second half of the show commenced. Popular tracks off the album, including A Decade Under The Influence and This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know), had fans singing along, belting out every word at the top of their lungs.
Because the band played each album start to finish, die hard TBS fans got a rare treat, a beautiful live acoustic performance of New American Classic. Lazzara even said before he started playing how he has had to turn down couples asking him to play it for their wedding, and that he just doesn’t really play it live. The last five songs on the album were played, but the audience knew there was one final song that needed to be played before they left that night. After a few last thank you’s, Taking Back Sunday ended their almost two hour long 20th anniversary celebration with the clear crowd favorite, MakeDamnSure. Canons on either side of the stage went off, sending billowing confetti into the air to rain down onto the crowd. Taking Back Sunday undoubtedly sent fans home not only picking pieces of confetti out of their hair, but with memories of an incredible show that will last another 20 years, and maybe 20 more.
CLICK HERE to view more pics from the show of TAKING BACK SUNDAY.
CLICK HERE to view more pics from the show of THE MAINE.