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Taking Back Sunday shines at Best Buy Theater

Lead singer Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday

Lead singer Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday performs at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Maryland. (August 30, 2009) (Credit: Getty Images)

Full circle moments, especially in the music industry, are few and far between.   

But Taking Back Sunday built one last night at the Best Buy Theater in spectacular fashion, even as it raised money for those in Long Beach struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The Rockville Centre-based band celebrated the 10th anniversary of its breakthrough album “Tell All Your Friends” by playing it in its entirety. They even went as far as reliving their early days, when Adam Lazzara served more as a master of ceremonies than a singer, since their feverish fans knew every word and would scream along.

Back in the day, “I've got the mic and you've got the mosh pit” wasn't as true, since Lazzara would rarely sing that line — he would hand the mic over to fans who would sing (scream) it. Lazzara did that again last night, letting fans sing “Great Romances of the 20th Century” and “Ghost Man on Third” as he waded his way through the crowd on the floor of the sold-out Best Buy Theater and reached the sound board in the balcony.

It wasn't quite the same as the band's early shows, where Lazzara would hold out a mic stand for fans to scream into in tightly packed Long Island clubs or the Knitting Factory. Of course, the band's not the same either.

Lazzara and guitarist/singer John Nolan don't maniacally trade off lines any more. Nolan sings now instead of screams. You can almost hear the influences of his time in Straylight Run now in the “Tell All Your Friends” songs, especially in “Bike Scene.”  

When the band folds U2's “With or Without You” into the end of “You're So Last Summer,” it fits. When Lazzara takes back full control of the mic for the beloved B-sides from the “Tell All Your Friends” recording sessions, it's clear how much he has developed as both a singer and a frontman.

“Your Own Disaster” is even stronger thanks to a new arrangement that sets off Lazzara's vocals more, while “The Ballad of Sal Villanueva” sounds epic, moving from bouncy pop-punk to hard-core and back again.

The growth is also clear in Taking Back Sunday's first set, playing its more recent songs, especially in “180 by Summer,” where there is more open space than usual, allowing the song's emotions more time to develop, or in "El Paso," which gave bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O'Connell a chance to shine after Lazzara told the crowd how the Long Beach residents had seen their homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.   

This anniversary concert (they also play The Paramount on Wednesday and Terminal 5 on Friday and Saturday) shows Taking Back Sunday hasn't forgotten where it came from. But it also shows the band is still looking to grow.

SETLIST: What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost / A Decade Under the Influence / Faith (When I Let You Down) / Liar / 180 by Summer / El Paso / Error Operator / Make Damn Sure / You Know How I Do / Bike Scene / Cute Without the 'E' / There's No 'I' in Team / Great Romances of the 20th Century / Ghost Man on Third / Timberwolves at New Jersey / The Blue Channel / You're So Last Summer / Head Clun / Your Own Disaster / The Ballad of Sal Villenueva

Tags: Taking Back Sunday , Adam Lazzara , John Nolan , Mark O'Connell , Shaun Cooper , Eddie Reyes , Sandy

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