Anyone who had even the most fleeting emo phase knows Taking Back Sunday. Those of us who’ve never outgrown ours were treated to something special this weekend in celebration of 20 years with them — two “Decades Under The Influence,” if you will.
The band is out on a commemorative tour, during which they’re performing their debut album Tell All Your Friends in its entirety. In cities where they play two consecutive nights (including Dallas) the second set of the first night was to be determined by a coin toss. One side of the coin represented their sophomore album Where You Want To Be, and the other side represented their third album Louder Now. Regardless of the results, Dallas would get to hear all three albums. On Saturday night, we crammed into House of Blues at the mercy of chance, eager to find out where the night would take us.
Taking Back Sunday brought former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and his band, which he now calls “Frank Iero and the Future Violents,” along for the ride. Iero has been involved in several passion projects over the years, ranging in style from emo to hardcore. However, anyone who expected Iero’s performance to be an MCR tribute was sorely disappointed. His band’s sound is a far cry from the emo legends but fun nonetheless. The group has a grungy, post-punk vibe and they put on a solid, energetic performance.
Taking Back Sunday finally took the stage after a lengthy set changeover, but they were quick to jump right into Tell All Your Friends. They played the first couple of tracks without pause before frontman Adam Lazzara gave us the rundown of their 20th anniversary and teased the coin toss. The crowd was strangely demure for a Saturday night, but all that changed with the sounding of the first notes of the next track, “Cute Without The ‘E’.” The high-pitched screams from fan-girls of all ages rang out, and tons of other onlookers were jumping around in excitement.
The crowd was so rowdy that a fight even broke out at one point. At the end of “There’s No ‘I’ In Team,” Lazzara paused again to inform the crowd that the next track, “Great Romances Of The 20th Century” was the first song the band ever wrote together. These anecdotes continued throughout the night. It felt like we were getting a lesson in Taking Back Sunday history. (Lazzara could have definitely shaved a few minutes off of his story about how the piano intro of “The Blue Channel” came together, though.)
After the Tell All Your Friends portion of the evening, it was time for the highly anticipated coin toss. The band brought their tour manager and good friend to the stage to do the honors, and Louder Now won. Wasting no time, they got right into it. The record is full of hits right up top, including “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost,” “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)” and “MakeDamnSure,” which they played with endless intensity. Lazzara’s famous mic swinging was on full display, and fans couldn’t get enough.
When night two rolled around, House of Blues was equally filled with fans who turned out to hear Taking Back Sunday’s first two albums. Lazzara polled the crowd to see how many of us showed up for both nights, and about a quarter of the audience cheered in response. The set started out once more with Tell All Your Friends, during which Lazzara told the same stories, almost verbatim.
Where You Want To Be isn’t as chock-full of hits as Louder Now, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind, especially because the band made sure to play a few tracks we missed as an encore after their second consecutive marathon set. The night ended with a celebratory burst of confetti as they played us out with “MakeDamnSure" with not a still person in the room.