Live at Slam Dunk 2012 on Saturday, 26th May 2012
Of course, the main room for the Atticus/Jagermeister stage was completely packed out for Taking Back Sunday, headliners of Slam Dunk North 2012. The band had almost not even made it to the UK at all after worries that their flight would be cancelled from the US due to bad weather on the East coast, but thank god they did!
I took my place at the barrier alongside some people who had obviously been waiting there all day for Taking Back Sunday, braving the overwhelming heat from the sunny weather and not to mention the huge crowds brought about by the likes of The Blackout and Funeral For A Friend who had torn the stage apart with their sets previously.
The band walked onstage to deafening screams and kicked off with 'Error: Operator' from their 2006 album 'Louder Now'. Frontman Adam Lazzara was staggering about, struggling with his broken leg from a freak accident in which it was crushed by a tree only months ago - I had to say he was making a tremendous effort. Lazzara excited the crowd halfway through the fairly long set of 18 songs, by climbing off the stage and onto the barriers to sing with the crowd who were only too happy to join in, before wondering out loud "how long does this thing go?" - referring to the microphone lead. He then raced up the stairs to the balcony, much to the delight of the VIPs and fans stood upstairs, not delighting security quite so much, who chased him but to no avail - Lazzara was hanging over the balcony singing to the crowd far below for much of the set - which included songs such as 'Spin' - also from Louder Now, but rarely played live.
The rest of the band still onstage (guitarist/vocalist John Nolan, rhythm guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O'Connell) carried on playing every song perfectly despite their frontman's antics and screams-from-afar as he navigated his way around the balconies. When Lazzara finally made it back to the front, the crowd at the barrier was rewarded for their patience in his absence with a magnificent sing-along to 'You Got Me' - from their 2011 self-titled album - an emotional moment for many of us at the front - there was not a single face around me that wasn't absolutely beaming after that song.
Lazzara thanked the crowd towards the end - saying that the band will be back in the UK this Autumn and confiding in them that the band weren't originally going to agree to headline the festival until they saw the rest of the lineup, mentioning Every Time I Die as a favourite and a highlight of the festival for Lazzara himself.
The band finished off with fan favourite and possibly one of their best songs - 'MakeDamnSure', tearing the stage apart and leaving the crowd sweaty and breathless but thoroughly exhilarated.
I'd like to wish the Slam Dunk organisers luck in picking a better headliner for next year's festival because Taking Back Sunday are a tough one to beat!