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There’s no ‘I’ in ‘teen’–but that night, there was

The band Taking Back Sunday performs the soundtrack of their fans’ lives

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FRONTMAN Adam Lazzara smoothly singing and strumming away despite having a broken leg, crutches shoved aside. PHOTO BY MAGIC LIWANAG

With the flurry of foreign acts coming into the country lately, there were a few that I  missed due to conflicting schedules, budget constraints or sheer “Huh, (insert artist/band name here) are playing here right NOW?” moments.

But three magic words broke the curse of my concert nonattendance: Taking Back Sunday (TBS). Was I really going to forego the chance to watch the band that largely contributed to the soundtrack of some of the best years of my adolescent life? Definitely not.

The delicious memories that came with each track of the “Tell All Your Friends” album were too hard to ignore. Also, it didn’t hurt to know that the Philippines was the band’s only Asian stop in their tour this year, which marks both the launch of their new, self-titled CD, as well as “Tell All Your Friends’” 10th anniversary.

The Skydome in SM North Edsa was already littered with people eager to see the New York-based rock/post-hardcore/emo punk group in the flesh by early afternoon of April 13.

Superb local acts Imbue No Kudos and Typecast performed well-received sets that whet the crowd’s appetite. Then the lights went out, sirens sounded, a backdrop with the band’s insignia was teasingly lowered onto the set, and then each member casually walked onstage and assumed their positions, wasting no time in pleasantly jolting the crowd with the self-titled album’s hard-hitting opener, “El Paso.”

Wave of nostalgia

PHOTO BY MAGIC LIWANAG

Apart from the adrenaline rushing through my veins, there was also a warm wave of nostalgia upon seeing the original lineup-Adam Lazzara (lead vocals, guitar), John Nolan (backing vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Shaun Cooper (bass), Eddie Reyes (rhythm guitar) and Mark O’Connell (drums, percussion)—together again.  Plus there was Lazzara’s crutches, no thanks to a recent accident that may have shattered his leg, but not his renowned onstage charisma.

The set was an excellent balance of old and new tracks, which perfectly showcased the band’s over-a-decade-long career. Tracks performed off the eponymous album included “Sad Savior,” “This Is All Now,” the catchily upbeat “You Got Me,” and the anthemic “Faith (When I Let You Down).”

Fans of the 2006 album “Louder Now” got a taste of “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?,” “Liar (It Takes One To Know One),” “Error: Operator” and “Spin.” Off 2004’s “Where You Want to Be,” there was “One-Eighty by Summer” and “A Decade Under The Influence,”  the latter inciting the whole room to passionately sing the infamous “to hell with you and all your friends” line in unison, almost as if with a shared, comically deep-seated angst from past experiences.

Towards the middle of the show, the band caught the audience off-guard by announcing that the next song would be a cover of Straylight Run’s “Existentialism On Prom Night,” which drew out some thrilled shrieks and “awwws” from the crowd. I even spotted a few people clutching their chests, as if holding on to a previously forgotten memory of teenage love tucked away in the corner of their hearts.

FANS’ hands raised in heartfelt support, cheering on Lazzara and the rest of the band. PHOTO BY MAGIC LIWANAG

Popular picks from “Tell All Your Friends” such as “You Know How I Do,” “Bike Scene,” “You’re So Last Summer” and “Timberwolves at New Jersey” had the majority belting out the lyrics heartily, seemingly in celebration of the album’s freshness and relevance, even after 10 years.

Crowd favorite “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)” was feigned as the last song of the night, but left an inkling that the band was just teasing as they said goodbye and walked off the stage. True enough, they came back a few minutes later as people continued to demand “MORE!” To which, the band responded by playing a power-packed encore consisting of classics “There’s No ‘I’ In ‘Team’” and “MakeDamnSure.”

Where I expected there would be dead moments in the audience, based on age gaps and debates on which album was best, there really weren’t many. We were all too preoccupied with bouncing up and down, fists thrown in the air as we relived notable moments in our lives, marked by our favorite TBS tracks performed right in front of our faces.

And when it was all over, the room was emptied of a significant number of sweaty forever-teens-at-heart, still reeling from the experience, sighing and grinning with nostalgia and delight.

“Taking Back Sunday Live in Manila” was brought to you by Audio Mustachio, Kerplunk! Productions and Ovation Productions.


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