Taking Back Sunday and Coheed and Cambria have run in the same circles since the early emo days of the 2000's. And while the bands have shared stages over the years, the crews had never teamed up for a full length tour - until this summer, of course. The bands are hitting the road together, finally, crossing the US through mid-August. In total summer fest fashion, though, these shows are taking place at amphitheaters around the country, giving the shows a new spin from the normal local venue scene. I headed down to Bayfront Amphitheater in Miami to catch the kickoff of the co-headlining tour on opening night.
The Story So Far, a pop-punk band from California, opened up the night with their song “Empty Spaces” off of their 2013 release What You Don't See. Though there was a pretty solid crowd for the openers on a Friday night in Miami, the set seemed to lack energy. The band members stayed relatively strayed away from each other, solidly playing their instruments, as vocalist Parker Cannon stood with his arms behind his back at the mic. The band performed a lengthy opener set that included their single “Out of It” along with fan favorites like “Nerve” and “Things I Can't Change.” The Story So Far recently announced their upcoming release date for Proper Dose, due out late September.
I wasn't sure who to expect out next, as the tour seemed branded as a co-headliner, but as the Tidal Wave imagery was brought to the stage (and super cute pop figures at each members area), the fans waited anxiously for the arrival of Taking Back Sunday. Beams of light scattered across the stage as the band took the stage and Adam Lazzara burst into “What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost” from 2006's Louder Now. If TBS wanted to pummel their fans with instant nostalgia from the start, well, mission accomplished. From the seats to the lawn fans were jumping up and down, screaming along, as Lazzara swung his mic wildly around.
In 2008 I saw Taking Back Sunday for the first time at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. At the opening chords of “Timberwolves at New Jersey” Lazzara laughed and said “yeah right!” The seething rage of a decade long taunt was finally soothed on the opening night of tour as the band performed the song (in it's entirety, oh my god yes, thank you!) to a crowd that was definitely just as stoked as I was. Taking Back Sunday's seventeen song set was mainly fan service, hitting all of the major hits from their early days, while lacing in newer songs like “All Excess” and the title-track off of 2016's Tidal Wave in the later part of the show. While Taking Back Sunday hit at least one song off each of their seven albums, Louder Now definitely took center stage. The band closed out with their mega “MadeDamnSure” that had literal grown men on their knees screaming “I just wanna bring you down so badly” at the top of their lungs. TBS never requires flashy props – give them a cool light show and an extra long mic cable and you've got everything you need.
What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost? / Error: Operator / You Can't Look Back / Timberwolves at New Jersey / Liar (It Takes One to Know One) / Faith (When I Let You Down) / All Excess / A Decade Under the Influence / Better Homes and Gardens / Flicker, Fade / Set Phasers to Stun / Call Come Running / You're So Last Summer / My Blue Heaven / Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team) / Tidal Wave / MakeDamnSure
The sun had set over the Miami skyline, and The Keywork lit up and the band stalked to the stage under red lights and kicked immediately into “The Dark Sentencer,” the newest released single from Coheed and Cambria. The song is set to be released on the band's upcoming eighth album, Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, which continues the story of the Armory Wars. While TBS chatted up the crowd, Coheed vocalist Claudio Sanchez took his stance at the mic and let his music talk for itself. Looking around in even the first few minutes, you could see how many people in the crowd were enraptured by the performance. The music flowed consistently from start to finish, and the string solos from Sanchez were mind-blowing.
After coming out with a newer song, Coheed devled into their older discography and had the crowd air-guitaring along to “Devil in Jersey City” and “Blood Red Summer.” The stage lighting for each song perfectly matched the mood and tone of the song being performed. This on;y heightened the extreme craftsmanship stemming from the stage as Sanchez's voice pitched boggling high, then dropped low, all while shredding away. A Coheed show truly is a journey through their music, choosing tracks that emphasize their story and fan's love of the entire universe. When Coheed kicked into their 2003 powerhouse "A Favor House Atlantic," though, the crowds were on their feet singing along even louder than Sanchez himself. A highlight of the set was the live debut of "Unheavenly Creatures," the latest single and video release, promoting Vaxis. It is always cool to be the first core group of fans to see a song performed live, and the rest of the fans on this tour are bound to be blown away by the song. Rather than a drawn out encore, Sanchez's double-necked guitar slunk out from the shadows and the band pumped out an astounding rendition of 2005's "Welcome Home." Afterwards, the crowd was left with Sanchez's fist raised in the air, before disappearing into the shadows.
The Dark Sentencer / Time Consumer / Devil in Jersey City / In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 / The Crowing / Blood Red Summer / A Favor House Atlantic / Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial) / The Suffering / Wake Up / Unheavenly Creatures / Welcome Home
Coheed and Cambria
Taking Back Sunday
The Story So Far