It was like the old days for Taking Back Sunday Monday night, as the Long Island Music Hall of Famers played the tiny RJ Daniels American Bar and Grill in Rockville Centre as a benefit for the Tommy Brull Foundation.
“I feel like this is going well,” singer Adam Lazzara said after leading the crowd in a scream-along of “What It Feels Like to Be a Ghost.” He was smiling as he watched the tightly packed crowd scream back at him like they did years ago at The Downtown in Farmingdale and he ran to the back of the bar letting fans sing into the mic like the old days as well.
The Long Beach-based band, currently in the middle of a global tour to celebrate its 20th anniversary, hasn’t played a show this small in years, though Lazzara did remind everyone how they used to play the nearby Vibe Lounge, before playing the classic “You Know How I Do.” The band is set to headline the opening night of the Great South Bay Music Festival, Long Island’s largest music festival, in July.
However, Taking Back Sunday drummer Mark O’Connell grew up with the late Tommy Brull and his brother, event organizer Martin Brull, and was eager to help the foundation’s project to help build Mr. B’s Adaptive/Inclusive Playground in Rockville Centre, which would give children of all abilities a place to play together.
Tickets for the show sold out immediately on Saturday once they went on sale and fans started lining up six hours before the doors opened Monday night to secure a good spot.
After all, Monday’s show was one of only a handful where the band didn't play its debut “Tell All Your Friends” in its entirety. That gave them the freedom to open with the title track of the recent “Tidal Wave,” while also showing off some rarities including “My Blue Heaven,” which will be part of the tour when it picks back up Wednesday.
The concert, which raised $25,000, is the largest show ever in the foundation’s “Shine a Light Music Series.” Other fundraisers in that series have brought Kurt Vile, the Felice Brothers, Deer Tick and others to Long Island, with proceeds mostly going to Camp Anchor in Lido Beach.