The Paramount opened its doors at 6pm on March 24th to their 500thshow since its debut in 2011. There are a number of artists to select for this kind of celebration, but to the owners of The Paramount, the most suited band to take the slot was Long Island’s own Taking Back Sunday. This sold out show packed hundreds of fans in to experience why The Paramount opened up in the first place.
Letlive was the first band to open and it was a very wise choice. Jason Butler’s sporadic nature and high leveled energy was more than enough fuel to get the crowd hyped for Taking Back Sunday’s performance. Jason wasted no time during their set to leap into the crowd and have them form a circle pit. Personally, I was surprised it took Jason a few songs to scale the upper mezzanine. He didn’t leap off, but he did do a good job of rousing those who were sitting in the VIP sections, along with wearing the red velvet belt and as his own.
Letlive took care of their fans by playing off of their latest record, The Blackest Beautiful as well as favorites from their first album; Fake History. When, “Muther” came on, Jason as always spoke from the heart and reached deep within himself to pull out his emotions on his personal demons and hauntings from his family life. The crowd reiterated his words back to him, helping to pull him out of his torment. “Renegade ‘86” pulled the set back into the pulsing chaotic blend of angst, guitar riffs and hard hits from the drum set, but it was the last song; 27 Club that really pushed Jason beyond his limits of getting the crowd moving.
Shortly after, The Menzingers took the stage. Letlive is a hard act to follow, considering their broiling energy, but The Menzingers were able to get the crowd nodding their heads and moving around. The band kept to their hits from their On The Impossible Past and their newest release, Rented World. Their hit, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”, definitely got the crow jumping around. The Menzingers don’t always write the happiest of lyrics, though they are a quite happy and energetic on stage. It proved to be infectious towards the middle of their set.
When Taking Back Sunday took the stage, they did it with grace. They came out onto the dark, grabbed their guitar/bass/drum sticks/microphone and waited, poised for the lights to rise. When the first chord was struck, it was almost as if the members were struck with this jolt of electricity that birthed life into their veins. When the lights illuminated the stage, the very first thing that I saw was an ear to ear smile that was stretched over Adam Lazzara’s face. New York, whether the state as a whole, the vast city of Manhattan, the hipster fashion of Brooklyn or the hometown of Long Island in itself is home to these gentlemen and that was evident in both their performance and that grin that possessed Lazzara’s face for the first few seconds of their set.
The band excelled in playing everything and I mean everything to appease both their success as a band, as well as their fans; both old and new. Adam knew when to take control of the stage and to swing his mic at appropriate moments. As a front man since 2002’s Tell All Your Friends, Adam was able to take command and pull back, letting the rest of the members shine with their own vocals, guitar riffs, bass lines and hits of the drums. One of the things that one can respect most about this front man is that he does not forget the origin of his entry into this beloved band. “I want to thank Eddie Reyes for letting me try out for this band”, he said with his hand resting on Eddie’s shoulder. The crow had roared in a deafening approval.
After years of seeing this Long Island favorite play, one comes to the conclusion that Taking Back Sunday is not who they were back in 2002. They are no longer full of angst that construed so heavily into their lyrics and instrumentals. Taking Back Sunday are adults with families and separate lives outside of the band. This translates well into their performance as well as their latest works, but they still are loyal to those fans who first came out and heard “Cute Without the E” or “A Decade Under the Influence” when they were first put out.