Taking Back Sunday's rise – from Long Island teens with a dream, delivering sandwiches and sharing a tiny Amityville apartment to make ends meet, to international stars who have headlined arenas and played some of the world's biggest events in the past decade – is so unlikely it seems more like a legend than their actual lives.
Maybe that's why last night's show at The Paramount in Huntington, the band's first Long Island show since reuniting its “Tell All Your Friends”-era lineup last year, felt so different. Although most of the band's shows are still about building the legend, the Paramount show was about its origin.
Singer Adam Lazzara talked about delivering sandwiches, which bars in Mineola wouldn't card him and where and why certain songs were written. The fences from “There's No 'I' in Team” were in Levittown. The amazing “180 By Summer” was written in Lindenhurst.
“This is a very special evening,” Lazzara said. “This is where we're from.”
And the 90-minute set was played for the people who are from there, too – not just geographically, but emotionally. The capacity crowd didn't just scream along with the teenage angst of “You Know How I Do,” it could relate to the decidedly more adult issues of “Best Places To Be a Mom,” from the Rockville Centre-based band's recent Warner Bros. album.
It's a sign of how Taking Back Sunday has grown as a band and how its fans have grown with it. While the nuances of the ways the guitarwork of John Nolan and Eddie Reyes fit together or how hard-hitting the rhythm section of drummer Mark O'Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper have become may get lost on the still-moshing crowds, it's still on display in new songs like “This Is All Now” and the thunderous “El Paso.”
The band is also much more noticeably Lazzara's to lead now, as opposed to the last time the lineup played Long Island, when the duties were more evenly split between him and Nolan. Even as he waded through the crowds to reach the back of The Paramount, Lazzara, stringing microphone cord over the length of the entire venue, with fans holding it up over their heads so he could get farther back, was the focal point, though he remains deferential to the band.
He even sang lead on “Existentialism on Prom Night,” from Nolan and Cooper's band Straylight Run, which was one of the night's high points, as they all sang, “You would kill for this.”
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Lazzara, normally very chatty onstage, seemed at a loss for words at several moments in the evening. “I had so much I wanted to tell you,” Lazzara said. “But I was taken aback by how beautiful this venue is and how beautiful you all are.”
Later, he told the crowd, “From the bottom of our little, weird hearts, we'd like to thank you.”
“This is too cool,” Lazzara said, before leaving the stage.
It sure was.
SETLIST: Faith (When I Let You Down) / You Know How I Do / Error Operator / Liar / El Paso / 180 by Summer / What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost / A Decade Under the Influence / Existentialism on Prom Night / Best Places To Be a Mom / Bike Scene / This Is All Now / You're So Last Summer / Timberwolves vs. New Jersey / Make Damn Sure / Cute Without the “E” // ENCORE: Ghost Man on Third / There's No “I” in Team