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Review: Taking Back Sunday @ The Bamboozle, 4.30.11

Taking Back Sunday, back row, from left, Adam

Taking Back Sunday, back row, from left, Adam Lazzara, Shaun Cooper and Mark O'Connell and front row, from left, John Nolan and Eddie Reyes. Credit: Warner Bros., 2010

Taking Back Sunday's triumphant return to The Bamboozle didn't quite go as planned.

Sure, it was set up beautifully, with lots of great music at Day 2 of the massive three-day festival in the Meadowlands Complex parking lot, including stand-out sets from Dashboard Confessional, The Gaslight Anthem and the long-awaited reunion of Long Island scene heroes The Movielife.

However, Taking Back Sunday's reunion of its “Tell All Your Friends”-era lineup hit a pretty big snag, as singer Adam Lazzara struggled with losing his voice. It was clear from the beginning, as Lazzara sounded hoarse and uncharacteristically off-key during “You Know How I Do” and “Bike Scene.”

Even talking became a challenge early on, as he revealed that the band would play its breakthrough album “Tell All Your Friends” in its entirety. Though that announcement clearly thrilled the fans, it also placed an even higher burden on his voice. There's nowhere for him to hide on those songs, which are build around his impassioned wail and his ability to go from quiet to screaming in seconds. He didn't have that kind of control last night.

In a way, though, the crowd seemed determined to carry Lazzara through it, especially since the rest of the band was in fine form and Lazzara tried to make up for his voice with extra-dramatic stage antics and mic swinging. Taking Back Sunday shows have always been shout-along affairs and this was no exception.

By the time the band reached the end of “Tell All Your Friends,” Lazzara seemed to know his limits, saying, “I apologize in advance.” (He also put extra emphasis on the “Sing me something soft, sad and delicate, or loud and out of key” when the band played “Existentialism on Prom Night,” from guitarist/singer John Nolan's former band Straylight Run. It was weird that the ailing Lazzara sang lead instead of Nolan.)

Lazzara's voice fared far better with the band's newer material, especially the new single “Faith (When I Let You Down),” which goes on sale Tuesday. The song is catchy and anthemic and Lazzara and Nolan powered through it well – a good sign for the band's new album set for release on June 28.

Lazzara closed the night with his usual daring feats as he climbed around the stage during “Make Damn Sure,” but toughing out a rough night took way more bravery from him and the rest of Taking Back Sunday.

SETLIST: You Know How I Do / Bike Scene / Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team) / There's No 'I ' In Team / Great Romances of the 20th Century / Ghost Man on Third / Timberwolves vs. New Jersey / The Blue Channel / You're So Last Summer / Head Club / El Paso / Liar / Error Operator / Existentialism on Prom Night / What It Feels Like to Be a Ghost / A Decade Under the Influence / Faith (When I Let You Down)/ Make Damn Sure

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