Taking Back Sunday singer Adam Lazzara has said for years that the band would remove “There’s No ‘I’ in Team” – an intensely personal song about betrayal written with guitarist/singer John Nolan – from its setlist because it didn’t feel right to sing once Nolan left the band.
Last night at Irving Plaza, “There’s No ‘I’ in Team” was the band’s final encore.
“My shoes,” Lazzara said, smiling, “are tasting quite delicious.”
It was just one of the many moments in the 85-minute set that show how much has changed with Taking Back Sunday in April, now that Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper have returned to the band after seven years away. It also showed how a lot of what made this particular “Tell All Your Friends”-era lineup of Taking Back Sunday so special is wrapped up in these particular people – Lazzara, Nolan, Cooper, guitarist Eddie Reyes and drummer Mark O’Connell – playing together.
There’s something about the way Lazzara and Nolan, one-time best friends now mending their relationship, sound together – their vocal trade-offs on “Tell All Your Friends” inspired a generation of two-singer emo bands by the mid-Aughts – that is inspiring. But there’s also something about the way O’Connell and Cooper, best friends themselves, hold down the rhythm, and something unique in the way Reyes interacts with all of them.
When they started out with “Cute Without the ‘E’” and the capacity crowd of Irving Plaza – yes, the days of The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza are now over – started screaming along, it was as if nothing had changed from the days of teenage angst that drove the tiny clubs like Rockville Centre’s Backstreet Blues or the old Knitting Factory into moshing frenzies.
But as great as it was to hear “Bike Scene” and “Timberwolves vs. New Jersey” – and even the epic “Your Own Disaster” – revved up to their original glory, it was the changes that make the new/old Taking Back Sunday even more interesting.
Lazzara sounded at home on “Existentialism on Prom Night,” from Nolan and Cooper’s band Straylight Run, while Nolan brought his own twist to more recent Taking Back Sunday songs like “180 By Summer.” On the new songs, especially “Baby Your Beard Hurts,” which has Lazzara and Nolan trading vocals again, they sounded like they were ready to build something new.
After the rocking “Best Places to Be a Mom” went over well, but not as well as the older songs, Lazzara promised, “The next time we play that for you, you’re gonna lose your ------.”
He’s probably right.
SETLIST: Cute Without the ‘E’ / Set Phasers to Stun / Liar / 180 By Summer / Bike Scene / Error Operator / Existentialism on Prom Night / What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost / A Decade Under the Influence / Everything Must Go / Best Places to Be a Mom / You’re So Last Summer / You Know How I Do / Baby Your Beard Hurts / Great Romances of the 20th Century / Timberwolves vs. New Jersey / MakeDamnSure // ENCORE: Your Own Disaster / There's No ‘I’ in Team
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