So much has happened in the last 20 years ranging from crazy disasters to marvellous achievements and on this warm Melbourne night, Long Island, New York rockers Taking Back Sunday turn back the hands of time to play two of their earliest, dearly loved albums and decide to take back Friday while they’re at it.
Even with their headline spot at the ever growing Unify Gathering 2019 happening the next night, Taking Back Sunday decided to regale those who were unable to make it to the festival in Tarwin Lower in Victoria’s south east. They may be playing ‘Tell All Your Friends’ in full for those at Unify but tonight was a special night with ‘Where You Want To Be’ and ‘Louder Now’ in their entirety.
Hitting the stage first is Melbourne Hardcore band Outright. Lead vocalist Jelena Goluza came out of the games with a crazy ferocity that only her band members could match. Guitarists Lincoln Le Farve and Joel Cairns were tearing it up, but it was bassist Brett Eitzen who was owning the stage along with Goluza. As the set went on, more people migrated forward and were getting into the set more and more. What started out as a rough dozen turned into a floor of people getting into the style. With the intensity and pull that Outright has, it’s a surprise to not see them playing Unify but at least they’re on the bill for Download Festival Australia. Raw, powerful and meaningful – the three core Hardcore foundations, and Outright has them all. Sure they may not exactly suit what Taking Back Sunday offer sound-wise, yet it all somehow still matches really well. They also gave off the vibe of an earlier yet harder Tonight Alive, which there cannot be enough of these days.
Taking Back Sunday was a huge part of many teenage lives (especially if you fell into the emo / scene / Goth groups of the time). With many songs being a part of many memories both good and bad, the influence that they had impacted lives. For the last 20 years they have touched many of our souls and it’s rare for bands to do what they’re doing on this night.
The moment the lights went down and vocalist Adam Lazzara hit the stage, everyone was in a frenzy. Everyone was excited to hear the songs of their memories. Kicking off with their second album ‘Where You Want To Be,’ it was easy to hear everyone sing along to the album’s opening song, Set Phasers to Stun. It was evident this was going to be a nice, long sing-a-long with an amazing band. With everyone from the barrier to the bar up the back of 170 Russell, people were moving, fist pumping and putting their heart and soul into every moment. In fact, everyone was so into the moment that this reviewer rarely saw a phone out. People were living in the moment while Taking Back Sunday took them back in time.
When A Decade Under the Influence kicked in, it was like a switch was flicked. Guitarist John Nolan kicked up his intensity while Lazzara owned not just the stage but the venue. With the hands up high and everyone chanting, “I got it bad,” Lazzara had everyone around his pinky.
Stopping quickly to address the crowd and bring up Melbourne’s iconic AC/DC Lane and Cherry Bar, they jumped back into playing ‘Where You Want To Be’ with This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know). The energy was continuously high, even when the acoustic guitar was broken out for New American Classic. Lazzara even made us laugh about a story between them and Hilary Duff and her influence on Number Five with a Bullet and yes, she really did influence it. At the end of …Slowdance on the Inside, the crowd was raring for more even though that was one full classic album complete.
With chants of “One more album,” and laughs from the band and a joke about We All Love Our Pets which is an absolute deep cut of the band, they jumped into the next album ‘Louder Now.’ Even after a full album, the energy from everyone was immense for What’s it Feel Like Like to be a Ghost? yet that was not the peak.
The peak energy came from the largely known and majorly beloved single MakeDamnSure. There wasn’t one person in the whole of 170 Russell who wasn’t going insane and putting 110% of everything they had to offer to give the song everything it deserves. It doesn’t matter what you say, a whole venue singing, clapping and enjoying the same song is something every concert goer loves to see and experience.
During Up Against (Blackout), it was clear to see that everyone put a lot of energy into MakeDamnSure but were still showing their love. Lazzara was also taking more time to tell more stories about recording and influences behind songs like My Blue Heaven. For long time Taking Back Sunday fans, it was the definitive experience of their love for the band as a whole. It was a crazy rollercoaster from the moment the band hit the stage to when they finish I’ll Let You Live.
That wasn’t the end though. We got some specials at the end such as You Can’t Look Back and All Ready to Go from 2016 album ‘Tidal Wave,’ then finished with their most loved song, Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team) from ‘Tell All Your Friends.’ A major surprise for everyone there. With Taking Back Sunday to play in front of 12,500 attendees at a sold out Unify Gathering, the Long Islanders hit Sydney and Brisbane in what will be four insane, energetic shows that will be a must see for all fans so make sure you catch this, what could be, once in a lifetime opportunity.
Get tickets for the remaining Taking Back Sunday shows here!