On November 6th the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, CT played host to a rather different set of clientele. In addition to the 21+ crowd the casino normally caters to, on this night the resort was abuzz with thousands of teens who made the trip to this northeast gambling mecca for a chance to see Taking Back Sunday perform live.
Performance wise, Taking Back Sunday played a rather entertaining, albeit a bit predictable, set. Although the tour may have been in support of New Again, the bands most recent LP released in June, the five-piece from Long Island treated fans to a 15 song set that was almost evenly split amongst the groups four studio albums.
The band opened with Set Phasers To Stun, off of 2004s Where You Want To Be, before swiftly moving on to You Know How I Do. It was during an extended musical interlude during this song that Adam Lazzara, the lead vocalist, officially introduced the band to the crowd, which elicited a collective shriek from the thousands of teenage girls in attendance. From there, Lazzara and Co. alternated back and forth between their new material (Sink Into Me, Carpathia, Lonely, Lonely, and New Again) and their back-catalog. The band finished its set by rattling off some of its biggest hits (Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team), Whats It Feel Like to be a Ghost?, and A Decade Under the Influence) before closing with fan-favorite MakeDamnSure. Song selection wise, one of the biggest risks the band took was to play One-Eighty By Summer, which Lazzara admitted was an older song we havent played in awhile. In this case, the wager provided a decent return, with the majority of the young crowd knowing the song and singing along.
Although the band played a solid set, complete with Lazzarras trademark mic-swinging typical of a Taking Back Sunday show, there were a lot of things about the show that seemed amiss. One of the most obvious was the lack of an encore. Taking Back Sunday took the stage around 9:40 and was done by 10:45. As the final notes of MakeDamnSure rang out, Lazzara bowed before handing the mic off to bassist Matt Rubano and left the stage, never to return. Oddly enough, the crowd did not seem to mind (or if they did they were not vocal about it) - there were no chants of T-B-S or one-more-song and the crowd was, for the most part, rather quiet. The house lights went up and all in attendance promptly made their way out of the arena. What made this even more peculiar was that The All-American Rejects, the band which opened for Taking Back Sunday, returned to the stage to play an encore of their own after their set earlier in the night.
Another anomaly was the rather low attendance numbers. The Mohegan Sun Arena, which usually plays host to the WNBAs Connecticut Sun, is listed as having a capacity of 12,000 for concerts. Earlier in the night, Tyson Ritter, frontman of The All-American Rejects, announced that he thought the crowd in attendance was 5,000 of the sexiest people he had ever seen, so it is safe to say that the venue was at about half of its capacity. This stands in stark contrast to the large crowds Taking Back Sunday usually plays before (for example, at the Bamboozle 2009 the group played to a crowd of 30,000 and even recorded a live album of the performance).
Finally, a problem for some in attendance was the security and venue rules. It seemed as if Mohegan Sun treated its arena just as strictly as it treats its gaming floor. Crowdsurfing was prohibited even though there were half a dozen security guards between the barrier and the stage that would have been more than able to handle the occasional surfer or two. Around a dozen more guards walked throughout the floor keeping order. During Cute Without The E (one of Taking Back Sunday’s most well known songs off of Tell All Your Friends, their debut album) an ambitious group of fans tried to start a small circle pit. Their efforts, however, were in vain, as two security guards were quickly alerted and stepped in to break up the fun.
Despite the lack of an encore, low attendance, and overbearing security, Taking Back Sunday still managed to put on an entertaining show for all in attendance. While the groups style of music may have not been particularly well suited to the older crowd Mohegan Sun generally draws in, it was disappointing that more patrons did not take a gamble and go to the event. While you have no idea what the payoff will be when playing slots or table games, it is a safe bet to make that, for the price of admission, if you are open to the style of music at a Taking Back Sunday show you will get your moneys worth.
Set Phasers To Stun
You Know How I Do
Sink Into Me
One-Eighty By Summer
My Blue Heaven
Youre So Last Summer
Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)
Whats It Feel Like to be a Ghost?
A Decade Under the Influence