Last Thursday evening, legendary rockers Taking Back Sunday came through Los Angeles as part of their national tour in support of their recently released seventh studio album, Tidal Wave. Fans packed the intimate Fonda Theatre to sing along to old favorites, but Taking Back Sunday took the bold risk to play their new album in its entirety before playing a single classic song. As if I needed another reason to respect one of my all-time favorite bands, the move was classic TBS: we are proud of our music and we don’t care if you like it or not (but the fans did, of course).

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All photos by Stephen J Branagan

The lights went off and Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem” played in full, a surprising change from the band’s normal walk-on song “Circle of Life” from The Lion King. But then again, this wasn’t a tour to show fans what they’ve seen. Taking Back Sunday exploded into new sonic territory with Tidal Wave, and they made sure audience knew they’d be seeing something new from the beginning of the show.

Last year, Adam Lazarra told me he didn’t want the band to be relegated to a “nostalgia act,” and Taking Back Sunday proved they were anything but as he came barreling out of the gate with the same raw, powerful voice after years of scream singing. I saw the band preview the album’s title track this summer at Taste of Chaos to a quiet crowd, but this evening, fans loudly sang along to the track that introduced the new album’s rollicking, Americana-influenced sound.

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“We’ve come here to this historic theater to play our new album in its entirety,” Lazarra announced to the crowd and a group of young girls behind me clad in the emo uniform of flannel shirts and Converse whined, “Nooooo!” Time to wise up; this band has built upon the decade-old songs that formed the basis of a now-legendary career.

Lazarra looked so satisfied strumming his acoustic guitar in “Fences” and “We Don’t Go In There,” walking from side to side while extolling his friend and guitarist John Nolan. He sincerely thanked the audience for letting them play the album, explaining, “This means more to us than you’ll ever know.”

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A brief intermission heralded what Lazarra introduced as “part two of our rock ‘n’ roll show,” the half all the minor league TBS fans came for. From “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)” to “Liar (It Takes One To Know One),” Taking Back Sunday packed in the hits.

During “A Decade Under The Influence” and “Flicker, Fade,” the crowd got noticeably rougher as crowd-surfers surfaced. Lazarra was forced to address a fight that had broken out in the pit, warning the rowdy fans that he would use them for target practice while mic swinging if they didn’t settle.

Fans finished off the band’s poetic one liners; “Timberwolves at New Jersey” always elicits a response when Lazarra sings, “I got the mic!” to which the crowd screams, “And you got the mosh pit!” The crowd especially loved screaming endings like, “Defenseless! Dependent!” of “One-Eighty By Summer.”

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“I hope you are all having half as much fun as I’m having up here,” Lazarra told the audience. “I’ve lived in LA for a while, and I know there are a lot of options every night,” he said before he “ended” the set with “MakeDamnSure” and mile-high energy.

Expecting an encore, fans were disappointed when The Fonda’s lights switched on and house music began to play. Half the crowd funneled out before TBS took the stage again, as the house lights remained on. Lazarra explained, “We thought after two hours and playing a full album, no one will wanna hear more, so thank you for staying. This really means a lot.”

The fans who stuck around through the fake-out were treated to an even more intimate “You’re So Last Summer” that was well worth the wait in more ways than one.

For more information:

Taking Back Sunday Official Website
Taking Back Sunday Facebook Page