If you were to tell the “emo kids” of the 2000s that one of the bands that helped shape that scene would still be selling out concert venues more than ten years later, their response would probably be a scoff and a “well duh.”
But as history has shown, many bands who hit it big back then have either changed their line-up considerably or all together broken up. But Taking Back Sunday has shown that they could withstand the test of time by selling out the same venue not once, but twice, in two years.
Like entering any darkly lit night club on a Saturday night, as soon as you entered Revolution Live, you were instantly greeted by hoards of people who showed up early just to proclaim a spot of their own. Through the cigarette smoke and people clinging onto cans of beer, finding a spot became one of the most difficult parts of the evening, though not impossible.
In the background, the first band of the night, letlive. was on the stage entertaining fans with their screaming which even included two covers of some iconic hardcore bands. The first was a cover of “The Deadly Rhythm” from the newly reunited Refused. The second was Black Flag’s “Fix Me.” But as the song began, commotion from the second floor of the venue got louder and louder with security shoving people out of the way to make room. It was only a short time later that someone pointed out that a member of Black Flag was there.
After one more song, letlive. ended not only their set for the evening, but their time on the Happiness Is…Tour.
As the band and their crew moved quickly to take down and set up the stage, it was a little over half an hour until the second act of the evening took the stage; The Menzingers.
The Menzingers quickly went into their first song of the night, “I Don’t Want to Be an Asshole.” As they played, the band’s sound began to reminiscing of being a teenager. Their songs sounded like music those “weirdos” who went to high school in the 2000s used to listen to and could probably fit in with the other songs on our old school MP3 players.
As they were getting ready to begin another song, the screen behind them lit up with Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazzara on the a screen. Attention was soon placed on Lazzara, but calmed down once the audience realized that it was just a gif (a very short clip being played on a loop). Though some were bummed that Lazzara was not currently waving at everyone live, the excitement for The Menzingers did not waver especially when they played a cover of Rancid’s “Roots Radical.”
Once their set wrapped, the stage went dark to let the road crew do their job and get ready for the headliners. As the commotion of setting up the stage went on for half an hour, the music in the background kept audience members awake and pumped, especially when “Forget About Dre” began to play the background.
On several instances, the lights turned on, giving false hopes to the packed venue. But the final time was different.
It was time.
Smoke began to fill the dark stage as band members began to make their way to their assigned spots. The final person to enter the stage was Lazzara. Once the lights went up, the singer was no longer on the stage, but rather on one of the side bars above the pit. Dressed in black, he began to sing the lyrics to the “Flicker, Fade” the first single off of Happiness Is…with blue lights flickering behind him.
“Flicker, Fade” quickly transitioned into “What’s it Feels Like to Be a Ghost?” from 2006’s Louder Now with little cartoon ghost images flashing behind the band on the screen.
As the song wrapped, Lazzara began to speak to the audience. He proceeded to tell a story of an awkward interaction guitarist John Nolan had with a girl who was dressed in short shorts. Due to the closeness of Lazzara’s mouth and the microphone, it was hard to hear what exactly happened, but somehow he managed to find the girl in the pit and point her out.
Kind of a cool story to tell your friends in the future.
As the night progressed, fans of the band got a set list that contained songs from several of their albums, though tracks from 2008’s New Again seemed to be left off the 21-song list.
“Timberwolves at New Jersey,” “Ghost Man on Third,” “You Know How I Do,” and “You’re So Last Summer” made appearances on behalf of Tell All Your Friends which turned ten just last year.
One of the funniest parts of the evening happened towards the end of “You’re So Last Summer” when a video montage of members of the tour lit up the screen behind the band. In it, the members were all dancing around, even kicking their legs up as if they were some Moulin Rouge rejects dancing the can-can.
“We’re going to let this play for a little longer,” joked Lazzara as he turned to stare at the screen.
Where You Want to Be is probably one of their biggest albums (alongside TAYF), so it was only fitting to have several tracks from the album performed live. Tracks included “Bonus Mosh Pt. II,” “One-Eighty by Summer” which according to Lazzara was a request by opening act letlive., and of course “A Decade Under the Influence.” During the song, Nolan could be seen, from his little corner on stage left, making random and kooky faces as Lazzara’s voice changed throughout the song.
Louder Now was a hit album among fans and it was nice to hear songs likes “Liar (It Takes One to Know One),” “Spin,” and “Error: Operator” get played live rather than hear it directly from a CD. Deep down inside though, there was some hope that the band would play “Miami” since Ft. Lauderdale is as close to Miami as any band ever gets.
The rest of the set list was made up of songs from Happiness Is…which included “Stood a Chance,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and a song that made Lazzara somber up a little bit as the band performed it, “Better Homes and Gardens.” For those listening to the lyrics of the song and happen to know a little bit of band member history, it would only take a few second to realize that the inspiration for the song was Lazzara’s engagement falling apart back in 2007.
Though the energy in the room was somber as it was performed, it picked up right after the song was over, proving that “emo” songs don’t always dampen the mood.
Before long, the last song on the “official” set list ended and the lights went down. For once, no one moved knowing that in a few seconds the band would be back out to perform their encore.
The band emerged on to the stage with Lazzara holding an acoustic guitar in his hands, to begin the first encore song, a track titled “Call Me in the Morning” off of 2011’s self-titled.
Thankfully, they did not end the show with that song and picked up the pace when they began the first notes of “Cute without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team).”
If it wasn’t for the insulated wall Revolution Live has, there was a chance the people at the Broward Theater of the Performing Arts down the street would be able to hear the hundreds of voices screaming together “and will you tell all your friends you’ve got your gun to my head.”
But fans didn’t need to start chanting “one more song” once it wrapped because quickly, they went into another one of their big hits, “MakeDamnSure.” If anyone thought the crowd couldn’t get anymore insane, they would be wrong. It was as if the entire venue went from a ten on the energy scale to an 11 throughout the song.
As the last notes of “MakeDamnSure” were held by the instruments and Lazzara’s (and the audience’s) vocals, it was the end of the road on memory lane. Those 20 and 30-somethings who wanted to relive their youth got to do so with the band that probably got them through some of the toughest days of being a teenager and maybe gave them a new-found love of music.
It was a trip that for just a moment you could feel like the worst things you could do was dye your hair hot pink without your parents knowing, wear too much eyeliner, and writing all over your Converse.
A simpler time. And man, how they are missed.