There is a quote by the acclaimed artist and magnificent musician that is the legendary Stevie Wonder which reads as: “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it”. This quotation in actuality can act as a parable for the remarkable event fortunately hosted by the great Governor Hindmarsh on this night. Undoubtedly there was a “time travel” effect provoked by the international touring artists which brought about not only nostalgia, but memories of the attendees’ past; thankfully this also created memories to treasure well into their future via numerous striking songs.
To a degree, the opening outfit Endless Heights from Sydney were the odd band out. Not because of the sophisticated amalgamation of emotional punk they deliver to an incredible effect; simply they are newborn compared to the outfits they were supporting on this tour. Unfortunately this worked against them, as the attendance for their performance was criminally low. Not deterred, the quintet enticed onlookers to join in the fun and magnetised the privileged few with their post-math-emotional-punk formula.
Sadly the world had been somewhat working against the five-piece, having to call in a fill-in drummer as their usual percussionist Julian Diaz had suffered a broken heel and essentially this was just the beginning of the bad luck. Just minutes into their set, an amplifier failure prevented any further play for a painful stretch of time. Commendably, vocalist Joel Martorana maintained the crowd’s attention and affection by remarkably revealing how music had helped himself through some of the challenges life had presented to him; he then encouraged observers to use the power of this incredible art form to do the same which is priceless advice. Whisper in a sense brought the band back to life, finding their “full flight” mode as a band with a crunchier, yelled and more prominent sound. Drain showcased the musicians’ expansive ability to incorporate a post-punk element into their recipe and Pray I Fade closed out the understandably shortened set with grace. It was far from picture perfect, however from the few tracks displayed alone, it felt that Endless Heights are progressing to something big in the not too distant future.
In 2005 an album entitled Phantoms was released by Seattle emotional pop rock outfit Acceptance and ironically against the title of the record, global stardom found the quintet. This “wild ride” of sorts was very short lived however, just over a year later the band announced their hiatus and then became the very identity their debut album was named after, Phantoms.
At this event though, the quintet were thankfully reunited and armed with a new LP called Colliding By Design, released an astonishing twelve years later. To a deafening female dominated scream when the five-piece took to the stage, they launched into a rather Kings Of Leon inspired song Diagram Of A Simple Man – the opening track of their new record; arguably not the dream start many of the audience would have hoped for as they had been waiting over a decade to hear Phantoms songs with live treatment, but the reaction was still rather grand. The crowd’s wish was Acceptance’s command although and quickly In Too Far roused the observers to a “sing and dance-athon”, truthfully vocalist Jason Vena could have remained silent as Adelaide was more than happy to take the reins with their vocal delivery (a sample of the headliner’s What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost? was thrown in brilliantly). Haunted was delivered in nearly a country music manner and forced many to swoon uncontrollably, but So Contagious almost caused crowd members to faint with excitement (a sample of The Receiving End Of Sirens’ Planning A Prison Break was eloquently also involved).
This Conversation Is Over and The Letter Chords maintained this terrific trip down memory lane which was adversely broken up by the newer track Goodbye – this song is overtly modern and more similar to U2’s Discotheque than the exceptional song-writing identity Acceptance uphold themselves. Fire And Rain improved the scene but honestly it was the dominant Take Cover which incited a polite riot, simply put this track is an anthem. Glory/Us acted as the sign off for the genuinely appreciative Seattleites and although it was brief, the twelve year wait was finally over for South Australia, the demand of an encore was testament that the wait was worth it.
New Jersey’s favourite emotional rock punks Taking Back Sunday (arguably) are certainly no strangers to Adelaide, and their confidence when they attacked The Gov with Death Wolf was rampant and surprisingly very revered. Honestly though, the song is a blasting throwback to the quintet’s early 2000s era and superbly hard-hitting. Frontman Adam Lazzara was instantly in his element, flaunting his eccentric dance moves and strut to his admiring onlookers and displaying his famous mic swings which switched hands and even wrapped elegantly and effortlessly around his neck. Liar (It Takes One To Know One) induced a noisy sing-along and continued through Slowdance On The Inside. From the get-go TBS were on a mission to transport Adelaide throughout 15 years of their music and frankly, this was the best this writer had seen the quintet execute a headline show. Timberwolves At New Jersey, What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost, A Decade Under The Influence, How I Met Your Mother, Error Operator, You’re So Last Summer, Holy Water, Flicker Fade, Call Come Running, Set Phasers To Stun, Faith (When I Let You Down), Stood A Chance, One Eighty By Summer, Better Homes And Gardens, Tidal Wave and My Blue Heaven captivated the entirety of the venue.
Gratefully the act of an “encore” was not utilised and Mr. Lazzara and his army decided to uphold the energy that had been sweltering during this monstrous performance, Cute Without The E was more like a volcanic eruption than a song inviting crowd-surfers to climb and crucially chaos to reign; this was then cemented by MakeDamnSure properly finishing what was a a momentous concert.
The past few visits and even years for Taking Back Sunday have been inconsistent to an extent as this scribe believes they hit an identity crisis of sorts. Trying to achieve the “stadium” band effect dampened their intimacy and conviction with their live delivery. This elusion was completely absent this time around; with just the five members and the true “punk soul” in full effect onstage, the quintet seem more than revamped, they are re-established and I’m certain the world is thankful for it.