Dear Taking Back Sunday,
I'm soooo not ready for you to be "new again" as you sing about on the self-titled track to your fourth album. In fact, I wish you would just return to your former ways and be old again. Remember Tell All Your Friends and Where You Want to Be - your two best albums to date? I get that you're happy with the new album and I've heard all of you say how it's your latest and greatest to date - as bands always seem to - but it hasn't caught on yet with this TBS fan, who saw you play last night at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
I was stoked when I heard you were coming out with another album after 2006's Louder Now, which was my least favorite TBS album, so I'm still bumming that I can't get into more than a handful of songs. I was hoping for more. I do like your new guitarist/backup vocalist Matt Fazzi, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the chemistry between frontman Adam Lazzara and Fred Mascherino.
With that said, your set at the Marquee was solid, aside from some sound difficulties. And true to everything I've told people in the past, you put on one hell of a live show. Adam, you throw that mic around like a pro. I've seen you do it several times in the past and I'm afraid someday you're going to strangle yourself or render someone in your band unconscious, but hey man, so far, so good.
I wish you would have played longer than an hour and fifteen minutes since you haven't been here for a headlining gig in a loooong time, but whatever. You did an awesome job of covering a mix of material from your four discs. Highlights included "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team)," which was killer, along with "Timberwolves at New Jersey," which had almost everyone dancing, and "Liar (It Takes One to Know One)," "Sink Into Me," "Swing" and "MakeDamnSure."
You really slowed things down with "A Decade Under the Influence," one of my favorite TBS songs, but you had me wishing for more songs from "Where You Want to Be" like the oh-so stellar "...Slowdance on the Inside."
Adam, I loved your banter between songs, especially when you mentioned playing at one-time hot Mesa live music venue The Nile Theatre (R.I.P.) but I'm pretty sure the mostly late teen to early twentysomething crowd didn't understand what you were talking about.
All in all guys, awesome, awesome set -- for the most part. I've always said that you're at your best live, but you didn't disappoint tonight even with the sound issues. You still rock. And I'm holding out hope that you take a page from your first two albums and go back to the roots that made me fall in love with your band to begin with when you start working on that next disc. And hey, please don't take too long of a break this time.
"You Know How I Do"
"Set Phasers to Stun"
"One-Eighty By Summer"
"You're So Last Summer"
"Liar (It Takes One to Know One)"
"Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team)"
"Sink Into Me"
"What's it Feel Like to be a Ghost?"
"Everything Must Go"
"Timberwolves at New Jersey" (Note: This featured opening act Envy on the Coast lead singer Ryan Hunter)
Last Night: Taking Back Sunday at Marquee Theatre
Better Than: The Taking Back Sunday wannabe bands that get too much airplay on KEDJ 103.9 FM. You know who they are.
Personal Bias: I love, love, love Taking Back Sunday. I've seen them a handful of times in concert so I wasn't going into this blindly.
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Random Fact: The band spent the day prior to the concert hanging out in Scottsdale according to lead singer Adam Lazzara who shared that he went to Starbucks twice and visited Urban Outfitters and Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall.
Further Listening: Their latest album is called New Again but if you want to hear the awesome Taking Back Sunday that I fell in love with, check out 2002's Tell All Your Friends or 2004's Where You Want to Be.
By The Way: One of my favorite TBS shows and favorite concerts of all times was at the Tweeter Center in Camden, N.J. Not only did TBS, who are from New Jersey, perform a very memorable performance but they shared the stage with Arizona favorites Jimmy Eat World and The Format (RIP).
One More Thing: Most of the staff from the Marquee Theatre was chillin' at Casey Moore's after the show. And who could blame them? Casey Moore's is the coolest bar in Arizona after all.