Paul Citone/Kabik Photo Group

Taking Back Sunday Take It Back

The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan, July 15

Nostalgia sells. Just ask Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazzara, who helped spearhead the pop-punk/emo revival of the late `90s/early ‘aughts.’ “I know why you’re all here: For nostalgia,” Lazzara said. “You see, I was there when you got your driver’s license. I was there when you were chainsmoking cigarettes when you were skipping class. And we’re here together tonight, ladies and gentlemen.”

The pop punk/emo stalwarts from Long Island, NY. then launched into a set list that put its formative years to the forefront. “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team)” and “You’re So Last Summer,” were performances ripped straight from an early 2000s’ time capsule: Lazzara playfully whipped his microphone like a lasso and shuffled his boots like a cowboy during the driving riff of the former, and singer/guitarist John Nolan viciously strummed on and swung his sunburst Telecaster while singing the harmonies of the latter. Throughout the night, Lazzara displayed the charisma of a television evangelist—especially during his charming stage banter—and he was preaching the gospel of nostalgia. “This, as you know, is the Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour,” he said. “They pay me $30 every time is say that, and it’s all going on black when this set is over.”

Taking Back Sunday was perhaps too playful, perhaps. What could’ve been their cleanest performance in Vegas was hindered by over-the-top production, and it was painful to look at times. To look at The Chelsea’s stage during “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” was to witness a UFO preparing for takeoff. The dozens of flashing lights in all colors of the rainbow ultimately served a distraction from a clean performance. Great show, guys, but stick to the minimal, basement gig-like production you used during your early years, and let the nostalgia sink in. ★★★✩✩

Photos by Paul Citone/Kabik Photo Group

Set List
Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)
Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
Flicker, Fade
What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost
A Decade Under the Influence
Stood a Chance
You’re So Last Summer
Holy Water
Timberwolves at New Jersey
Better Homes and Gardens
Error: Operator
Tidal Wave