Photos + Review: Taking Back Sunday at First Avenue (Minneapolis, MN)

Taking Back Sunday (Long Island, NY), The Maine (Tempe, AZ)
April 28th, 2019
First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN

Atreyu last Friday was the start to an amazing weekend, probably one of the best I’ve had. Taking Back Sunday was the other bookend, that closed out the weekend full of great music, great company and great times.

Last Sunday was the third time now seeing and photographing Taking Back Sunday, second now at First Avenue. I’ve now reached the three year mark of doing this concert photography thing, and at this point I think I’m firmly in the part of trying to improve upon what I’ve done in the years before. I’ve shot a lot of bands, where I’m at the point of having photographed many multiple times, and it’s been cool to be able to document my improvements in this time. And for a band that has been a part my life for almost half of it like Taking Back Sunday, it’s also been cool to see how much a band like them has improved in just those three times I’ve seen them.

The first time seeing Taking Back Sunday was when they tour with Every Time I Die, and I honestly don’t really remember much about that night. I remember more from Every Time I Die’s set, but what I do remember is being quite upset with the lighting then. I’m willing to admit that it might have been my equipment at the time not being that good, but it was very backlight-y and hard to get a good clear shot for me. Second time seeing them was on the Coheed and Cambria tour last year at The Armory, and they blew me away. I not only got some of my favorite photos ever from that night, they killed their entire set and owned that venue like they were supposed to be the headliners.

This last time seeing them was the best of both worlds. Take the phenomenal lighting performance they had at The Armory and put it in First Ave instead, with how good and intimate and comfortable that venue is, you get a god tier show.

Taking Back Sunday are currently on a celebration tour of being a band for 20 years. In doing so they are playing two dates in each city, and playing their first album in full both nights and then a coin flip determines whether they play, in full, either Where You Want To Be or Louder Now after. The loser of the coin flip gets played in full on the second night, which is what we got on Sunday (Louder Now).

Walking into the night I was a bit intimidated after looking at the setlist. A 25 song long setlist is crazy to me. There’s been bands I’ve seen where 40 minutes in I’m wondering how much long we’ve got. But huge props to Taking Back Sunday for making the night go by way fast and super enjoyable. The Maine were a perfect choice for an opening band and definitely played like it. I loved how effortlessly the band and Adam Lazzara would go from playing songs and then to bantering about random stuff, to telling stories about certain songs, like how Adam’s old cell phone goes off in the bridge of “Makedamnsure” and how the piano on a song was originally supposed to be slower on record, but then was put on in double time instead. Even though I walked in not knowing a lot of the songs, I enjoy listening to stories like that because not only do they explain how certain songs got made, they then give a greater sense of connection then to those songs if you know where they came from.

As much as I like Taking Back Sunday right now, I do wish I was a bigger fan so that I could appreciate the night even more so. I love all the singles and iconic songs of theirs  like “Makedamnsure” “Cute Without The ‘E'” and “A Decade Under The Influence” which were all played, but to be able to know and sing through all of the 25 songs would have made the show at least a little bit better for me. Maybe bump it from an A to an A+.

All in all, this was an absolute dream night to end a dream weekend to be able to see all this good music be played and be with such good company. It was a blast being able to photograph and cover it and I’m incredibly jealous of anybody that gets to see any future dates coming up.

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