Pop-Break Live: Taking Back Sunday (Pine Belt Arena)

word by joe zorzi | photos by keeyahtay lewis…

All photos are courtesy of Deadbolt Photos.

I’ve spent a decade under the influence of Taking Back Sunday (worst pun ever). My cousin introduced me to the band at eleven years old (thanks Phil) and they’re still one of my favorite bands today. I pride myself in having seen them with each lineup more than once and there was no chance I was missing the 10th Anniversary show of their debut album, Tell All Your Friends. As you could imagine, I was a little bit bummed when I heard they were moving the show from Starland Ballroom to the much bigger and much further away Pine Belt Arena in Toms River. But it ended up being a great venue and a percentage of the proceeds from the concert went to Hurricane Sandy Relief.

This was the last show on their two month tour and you could tell it was a big one. I missed the opener, Kenny Truhn, but made it right in time to catch The Menzingers. They were a fun live band and a good fit for the show. Their set was nothing groundbreaking, but it was a good warm up for the next two acts.

Next up was Bayside, who I saw for the first time at Bamboozle earlier this year. They killed it once again, the highlight of their show being guitarist Jack O’Shea. He seems to be quite an underrated guitarist and I promise you if you see them live you’ll know why I say this. The band was all about New Jersey and gave us lots of love. You could tell they had a great time on tour and that this stop was special.

After Bayside I pushed up towards the front of the stage with my friends. Before we knew it, the lights dimmed and the Mr. Rogers Theme Song started playing. Taking Back Sunday came out swinging with “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost” right into “A Decade Under the Influence”. They played a nice mix of their post-TAYF jams ending with “MakeDamnSure”. All of the sudden the stage went dark. We all knew what was coming.

“A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack and Coke all morning…”. The classic line from the movie Beautiful Girls started blaring through the speakers mixed with a hailstorm of static, piano and noise. This quote was sampled in the demo version for “Great Romances of the 20th Century” and the moment it started, the crowd’s energy was on another level. This was one of the most passionate and intense crowds I’ve ever been in. Complete strangers were grabbing each other and screaming the song lyrics into their faces.

These were true fans who grew up listening to Taking Back Sunday. It was an awesome experience and a great show. The band was at their best and even had some help from Neil Rubenstein on vocals. It was obvious how much the show meant to them and how much fun they had on this tour. From the opening notes of “You Know How I Do” to the blistering screams that closed out “Head Club”, you could tell Taking Back Sunday really gave it their all. In the end, I’m glad I drove the extra hour to catch the show. It reminded me how much I truly love this band.


  1. Great review Joe. This show was everything a Taking Back Sunday fan could hope for. They played bits of everything and TAYF. Upon walking in I couldn’t help but feel like I was at a middle school talent show because of the bleachers and the fact that no one was really there when Kenny Truhn started. But it FILLED and blew any expectation I had away as soon as Bayside came onstage. Then TBS came on and like I said, one could not be disappointed with a longer drive for the quality of the performance TBS had alone.

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