Taking Back Sunday's 2002 debut, Tell All Your Friends, is undeniably important to our beloved music scene. The instant classic seemed to resonate with every dejected teenager who listened. (As a hopeless romantic myself, I recall pouring over the heart-on-sleeve lyrics in my formative years.) With a combination of raw energy, chemistry, brutally honest lyrics and complementary dual vocals, the band captured lightning in a bottle. A decade later, they are releasing that lightning on the TAYF10 Tour, on which they're performing the album in its entirety. I caught the November 20th stop at Lupo's in Providence, RI.
The brief but strong line-up kicked off with The Menzingers. The band put out what is, for my money, the album of the year, On the Impossible Past, but this was my first time experiencing them live. Musically, they're not a far cry from the Americana rock of The Gaslight Anthem with a dash of Alkaline Trio, and their performance was as strong as those comparisons. Their half-hour set mostly consisted of cuts from On the Impossible Past - including my two favorites, "Obituaries" (with which they opened) and the anthemic "Casey." They closed with an older favorite, "I Was Born."
Bayside has become one of my favorite bands without me even realizing it, due to their impressive consistency. I've loved them since their debut album (Is it too early to star campaigning for a Sirens and Condolences anniversary tour in 2014?) and have seen them a many times over the years. They never disappoint; every album they put out and every show they put on is solid. This performance was no different.
It was essentially 45 minutes of fan favorites, including "Blame It On Bad Luck," "Duality," "Masterpiece," "Sick Sick Sick," "Carry On" and closer "Devotion and Desire." Frontman Anthony Raneri mentioned how Bayside came from the same Long Island scene as Taking Back Sunday and thanked them for paving the way and everything else they had done for them, whether they realized it or not, in the last 10 years.
Unlike most full album shows, Taking Back Sunday opened with the "greatest hits" portion before getting to the album. I prefer this approach, as it makes the album feel like the main event - which it is. They played 8 songs, including "MakeDamnSure," "A Decade Under The Influence," "Liar (It Takes One To Know One)" and "El Paso." Longtime friend of the band Neil Rubenstein was in attendance and lent his voice to the latter. He also stuck around to perform the backing vocals he recorded on Tell All You Friends; a welcome addition to an already-exciting line-up.
Although they had already witnessed half a set from Taking Back Sunday, the audience erupted as soon as Lazzara came in with "So sick, so sick of being tired..." from Tell All Your Friends opener "You Know How I Do." They loved all 90 minutes of the band's performance, but the single loudest moment of the night came during "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" when the instruments dropped out for a chill-induing crowd singalong of "Why can't I feel anything from anyone other than you?"
Lazzara made his way into the crowd about halfway through the album and remained their for a handful of songs. He allowed the crowd to sing with him, danced atop the bar and eventually made his way up the balcony, all while his microphone chord zigzagged around the venue. (He's known for his mic swinging, after all.) Lazzara actually sounded better during the former half of the set, but he seemed to enjoy revisiting Tell All Your Friends - and fans sang along so loudly that it was hard to notice.
After finishing the album, the band members returned to the stage to celebrate guitarist Eddie Reyes' birthday, which was the day prior. Reyes sat back as a male dancer came out and stripped down to his underwear in front of him. The entire band, Reyes included, watched on in amusement. The group proceeded to perform of two Tell All Your Friends-era b-sides, "Your Own Disaster" and "The Ballad of Sal Villanueva." The latter may be my favorite Taking Back Sunday song, and I never thought I would have the opportunity to see it performed live. You'd never know they were rarities; most fans sang along at the tops of their lungs. It was the icing on the cake after an excellent show.
Lazzara remarked that he saw the crowd going off for all three bands, which further proves how good this line-up is. Revisiting Tell All Your Friends proved to be fun and nostalgic for both the band and its fans. The members of Taking Back Sunday relished in the audience's excitement and reciprocated with their own enthusiasm. As someone who has loved the album for a decade and counting, the TAYF10 Tour did justice to the classic.