Taking Back Sunday’s North American Spring Tour featuring The Menzingers and letlive. was the perfect combination of energy, band-crowd chemistry, and entertainment at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, New York on March 15th. All three bands brought a packed house to Upstate Concert Hall, with people of all ages and walks of life ready to sing-a-long.
Letlive. opened the show with a captivating set to say the least. Singer, Jason Butler, started off strong with his all-out stage persona, getting the crowd going with a popular song from their latest album, “The Dope Beat,” followed by several other great songs from the same album, including “Banshee.” In between songs, it was interesting to see the quieter Jason Butler, making powerful, but soft-spoken statements. The highlight of letlive.’s set was easily when the crowd went wild for one of letlive.’s most popular songs, “Renegade ’86.” Jason Butler even entered the crowd at one point stating, “why sing from here when I could come to you?” After many wild screams, incredible energy, and a spot-on overall performance, letlive. without a doubt gained a large group of fans.
The Menzingers offered a fun, energetic performance that left everyone in the crowd moving. Even those in the crowd that had never listened to The Menzingers before were immediately interested in their interesting duo-vocal take on pop rock. They started out their set with “Rodent” off of their 2014 release Rented World on Epitaph Records. They also played favorites off of that record including “I Don’t Wanna be an Asshole Anymore” and “My Friend Kyle”. The Menzingers set also consisted of songs off of On the Impossible Past including “Gates” and “Casey”. They closed out their set with “In Remission” and had the audience passionately singing all with them all throughout, as they did at many points in their set.
When Taking Back Sunday hit the stage, every person’s eyes were glued to them. Adam Lazzara kept the crowd entertained with his microphone swinging and eye contact with the audience, while the rest of the band kept the audience engaged with their upbeat attitudes and spot-on performances. Taking Back Sunday’s setlist held the perfect combination of older songs mixed with newer songs off of their self-titled album and new release, Happiness Is. Their set started with two new songs; “Preface” and “Flicker, Fade,” which proved to be amazing live. The crowd began to dance with familiar excitement when the guitar intro to “What’s It Feel Like to be a Ghost” began to play. Taking Back Sunday continued to play crowd favorites, including “Number Five With a Bullet,” and “Liar (It Takes One to Know One).” Through uniting the audience through older songs, and captivating them through newer songs, Taking Back Sunday continued to demand everyone in the venue’s attention. The stage backdrop also helped keep the crowd’s attention; beautiful visual art and backgrounds were projected against the band’s silhouettes, making the whole performance seem like a finished piece of art.
Another highlight off of Taking Back Sunday’s newest album, Happiness Is, came at the end of the night with “It Takes More” The biggest energy from the crowd, however, came at the very end of the night, during the band’s “encore” (they didn’t actually leave the stage, but explained that they usually do at that part of the night). Adam Lazzara offered a small speech, saying that the next song was one of his favorite Taking Back Sunday songs; “Call Me in the Morning.” The performance was raw and perfectly executed, bringing the crowd along for the “building up” feeling that “Call Me in the Morning” naturally brings. Taking Back Sunday left the stage on an all-time high, making the audience go wild for the last two songs, “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” and “MakeDamnSure.” If there was any doubt before the show that everyone there loved Taking Back Sunday, it was evident during the encore, when every person there could have been caught singing along.
Taking Back Sunday, The Menzingers, and letlive. turned out to be an amazing combination in the pop punk/pop rock music scene. From the energetic, fun performance from The Menzingers, to the truly moving moments from Taking Back Sunday, the 2015 North American Spring Tour was a huge success.
Review by Taylor Clynne
Photos by Michelle Boccio