Taste of Chaos - 07/14/2016 at Comerica Theatre
Nostalgia was the word of the night at the Taste of Chaos Tour at Comerica Theatre last night, featuring The Early November, Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, and Dashboard Confessional. This was a very early show, having started at 6:30pm, so unfortunately The Early November was missed. I heard from a few people that they however set the tone for the night with their rambunctious set. Walking into the venue, a massive Rockstar Energy Drink (sponsor of the tour) had a tent set up in the lobby, and they were passing out free samples of different flavors. People were filling in the GA section & seats above the stage as Saosin begin their set. Lead singer, Anthony Green, was in prime form singing in his signature style and running all over the stage. Bringing a ton of energy to the crowd, and actually at one point joining them in the pit itself, Green had the audience wrapped around his microphone. The bass & guitar players were suffering from food poisoning it was said, and to still perform is testament to Saosin’s commitment to their music and their fans.
Taking Back Sunday was up next and took the stage with a massive American flag behind them. Launching into a very loud and very fast paced set, they covered the classics from their early days, and brought out new songs as well. Singer Adam Lazzara was turning into a preacher before our eyes between songs, but not in a bad way. He was talking about how people tell him how their songs remind and define their 16 year old selves, and how you’re still that person. It was quite eloquent and worked to pull the fans who may only know their early stuff, and asking them to keep moving forward with them to enjoy their new songs. In a candid moment, someone yelled a song title out and he quipped “We played that one first, dummy! Where were you?” It received plenty of laughs, as he then went back to being quite formal with the crowd calling us all ladies and gentlemen numerous times. Lazzara’s mic work was impressive as well, throwing it WAY out and around and catching it without injury to himself or band mates.
It was a little difficult to hear him during some of the set, which was disappointing to me, but the crowd did not seem to mind at all. During one of their mega hits, "You’re So Last Summer," it seemed like everyone in the room was singing along. The energy during that song was at a fever pitch, and much like Saosin before them, that energy it in turn seemed to feed back into the band. They ended with their latest single, "Tidal Wave," which is a great representation of TBS, but grown up, as they now are.
The buzz inside Comerica was palpable as the lights came up, during the set up for Dashboard Confessional. This might have to do with the copious amounts of free Rockstar Energy Drink that were being consumed – of which I had a few (try the watermelon one!). The GA floor area was packed, and it seemed like every seat had filled as well. One thing that impressed me is that even with 4 bands on the bill, they ran on a tight schedule and every brief intermission between bands seemed to go quickly as the swapped out gear and set up a new stage for the next act. The lights dimmed, and DC took the stage all at once and with those first few notes of "Vindicated," had the entire crowd enraptured, watching and listening as singer Chris Carrabba belted his heart out.
Everyone on the bill has been around for a long time. It was interesting to see how each group had a slightly different approach to bridging their older stuff that people are nostalgic for, to their new songs. DC is a great example of leaning into what they know their audience wants to hear most and their set list was filled with all of the big hits. They have not released music as Dashboard Confessional since 2009, and Carrabba has had numerous other projects out that clearly his fans have followed. But that may have made it easier to play the more expected tracks as most of their catalog as Dashboard is well known at this point. Playing a few new versions of older songs, more acoustic and even just a slower tempo kept the audience on their toes however. If you’ve never been to one of their shows, you are missing out on the biggest crowd sing-along. They anticipate this and leave room for it during songs like "Swiss Army Romance" and "Screaming Infidelities," Which makes for a highly interactive show between the band and crowd, and lends to a unique experience overall.
Before playing a new song, Carrabba took a moment to let us all know that they are indeed recording a new record, and how “I got lucky, and I like all the old shit better.” The new track indeed calls back to classic DC sounds and he even coached the audience into singing along with the new chorus, to possibly be used for the recorded version of the song itself. It was nothing short of impressive for him to take a moment’s break in the middle of a song and the entire venue was dead silent, just waiting for the next note. He has one of the best voices in the industry and proved song after song that even 16 years in, he’s just getting better... multiple songs were goose bump inducing! Ending their set with a single encore song of “Hands Down” was a great choice – it was clear that they know their fans well.
The bands that played covered quite a bit of ground over the course of the marathon 5 hour show, and props to the fans that were there from start to finish. That’s a long night for anyone! The title of the tour, Taste of Chaos, was a bit misleading as there was no chaos to be found. The opposite actually, with impressively talented bands playing sets with loads of unique charisma capping off a night of calling back old memories, and making new ones.
Bonus points: Meeting Adam Lazzera of Taking Back Sunday afterward at a nearby bar by chance; he was very genuine and polite, I’d say top 5 nicest musicians I’ve ever met.
Only Con: The stage lights were pretty obnoxious in that during every set, they kept blinding the entire crowd with flashes of super bright LED’s.