Oh, be still my 2002, emo heart. Taking Back Sunday continued their sold-out tour streak at the North Park Observatory last Friday for a flock of loyal fans ready to dig up old wounds and sing along.

Tour mates, Every Time I Die opened the show with the heavy drops and guitar squeals needed for floor stomps and circle pits. Their fans mixed well with the age-spanning crowd of younger TBS fans and the all-grown-up, emo apologists (i.e-me), there to reminisce.

I’ve been to many heavy on the nostalgia rock shows in the last year, but the speed at which TBS frontman, Adam Lazzara got the room hot and bothered with his screams of yesteryear was at a record pace.

“I’m an addict for dramatics,” he crooned for what must be the millionth time in his life. What separates Lazzara from other frontmen still peddling their teenage transgressions 15 years later is—I still believe him.

Shouting staccato syllables while a microphone wire wraps around his signature jean jacket, it seems Lazzara doesn’t need to dig too deep for the heart-on-his-sleeve angst that turned his band’s debut album, Tell All Your Friends into the genre-defining classic it is.

The band mixed songs off new album, Tide Wave between an arsenal of fan favorites— “Cute without the E” and “A Decade Under The Influence” —as predicted. But the surprise of the night for me was seeing original guitar player, John Nolan back in the band.

Nolan originally formed the band with Jesse Lacey (Brand New) before their now infamous falling out. And the rumors that still surround the forming of Taking Back Sunday and the writing of, Tell All Your Friends has become folklore.

The story of Lacey vs. Nolan vs. Lazzara is nothing short of Shakespearian. Fueled by betrayal, cheating girlfriends, fist fights, and decades worth of lyrical jabs—there’s enough back and forth beef to compete with the coast to coast rap battles of the nineties. (Except instead of actual gangsters and guns, these were sensitive boys in Long Island, killing each other with the pen).

Nolan to Lacey in one famous lyric: “Best friends means I pull the trigger. Best friends means you get what you deserve.”

There is, of course, the part of the story where Lazzara was caught cheating on Nolan’s sister—rumor has it—which prompted Nolan to abruptly quit the band just a few years after co-writing the album. At which point, he and Lacey mended wounds and swore allegiance against all things Lazzara.

But there Nolan was, up on stage, playing the songs and reliving the story. His soft-spoken sincerity played straight man to Lazzaras vaudevillian cadence between songs. And at a certain point, they allowed a nice calm to set in before the palm-muted prelude of “You’re So Last Summer” sent goose bumps around the room.

The crowd panted along with the band, screaming at every word and gesture Lazzara tossed from the stage. Taking Back Sunday has earned its longevity by providing their die hard fans with a quality discography, yet I could feel it in the floor boards and see it on everyone’s face, what they really wanted.

It’s those first songs Lazzara and Nolan wrote together over 15 years ago—steeped in the revenge and remorse of lost friendship—that has transcended both their careers and turned Tell All Your Friends into their dowry and the crown jewel of the emo-rock world.  

“Better Homes and Gardens” was the answer to cries for “one more song”, followed by, “MAKE DAMN SURE” to close the night for a band that has reached perennial status.

Review By: Corey McComb

Photos By: Charlie Spadone