Tales from the Tour: Taking Back Sunday at Buffalo Riverworks

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:17 AM

It’s very admirable to hit a 20-year anniversary as a band. And as Taking Back Sunday’s frontman Adam Lazzara said on stage, it’s a reason to celebrate.

Classic emo/alternative rock Taking Back Sunday has been celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band by touring around the world and doing what they love the most, but with a twist.

On this run, they’ve been playing their debut album, “Tell All Your Friends,” in its entirety, but they then flip a coin to decide which other album to play in full: their second release, “Where You Want to Be,” or their third record, “Louder Now.” I was lucky enough to see them play both nights (which meant all three records collectively) in Buffalo at Riverworks on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The first night, their Halloween show, was nothing short of wild. The coin landed on “Louder Now,” considered by many to be their mainstream breakthrough. The band sounded better than ever, and they seemed to be having the time of their lives.

The performance of Louder Now’s opening track, “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” caused many a crowd-surfer, with the mosh pit extending to all corners of the floor. The band then broke into a cover of Weezer’s song “My Name Is Jonas.”

The show ended with three encores. First up was the title track from their most recent record, “Tidal Wave,” and it was followed by two tracks from their second album: “This Photograph Is Proof” and “A Decade Under The Influence.”

On the second night they played that second album, “Where You Want to Be,” along with the debut. The show was completely sold out, so if you thought their Halloween date was crazy, this one was insane.

Once both “Tell All Your Friends” and “Where You Want to Be” were run through, the band again performed the Weezer cover and “Tidal Wave.” They then closed with “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” and possibly their most recognizable song “MakeDamnSure.”

The thing that stood out the most about both shows was Lazzara in all his charismatic glory. He played two acoustic tracks on his own (“Divine Intervention” from “Louder Now” and “New American Classic” off of “Where You Want to Be”) where he told a story before each one. And, of course, he was all over the place, singing his heart out with the microphone covered in tape and the cord wrapped tightly around his neck.

Taking Back Sunday is one of those once-in-a-lifetime bands where seeing them play live is an amazing experience. Every song, every note, every little thing about the performance is better than just putting the record on. Taking Back Sunday has two shows of the tour left, both in New York City, before taking a break. They then hit the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey for their annual holiday shows. If you get the chance to go to one of their shows on this tour, take it. It would be the best show you see all year, period.

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