The AMP’s hosted a lot great shows, especially this year. As we outlined in our Summer Concert Series Preview , there are a lot of cool things happening and we were particularly excited about the Coheed and Cambria/Taking Back Sunday show. Well, it finally happened this past Tuesday night and we were not disappointed in the least!
The AMP is a big venue and of course that means there are some loud shows, but Coheed and Cambria’s set might be the loudest thing to hit the AMP stage yet! Naturally, a heavy band like Coheed is greatly served by high volume, and they sounded simply amazing! All their songs are complex, technical masterpieces, and they ripped through them as effortlessly as breathing. It was extremely impressive. Like the Pixies two nights before them (Weezer/Pixies Review), they weren’t big on stage banter, but their performance really spoke for itself, and the brisk pace they maintained between songs also made the concert experience even more intense. Aside from the obligatory “thank you, goodnight” at the end of the set, they only addressed the crowd once. Before Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness love ballad “Wake Up”, singer Claudio Sanchez stopped to dedicated the song to his bandmates and their adventures traveling the world and playing together.
As if the pummeling musical performance wasn’t enough, Coheed also had a stunning and captivating light show that really took the whole event to another level. The lighting was simple; the setup was basically some multi-color, ever changing dots around the band’s Keywork logo, but it was extremely effective and had this hypnotic quality that completely sucked you into the show. It was one of the best things about the evening, and that’s seriously saying a lot.
The set itself was fairly standard; all their big singles and signature songs made the cut, alongside the tracks they’ve released from their forthcoming new album Vaxis Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures. During “Unheavenly Creatures,” Sanchez uncharacteristically shed his guitar and swayed around the stage holding the mic as he sang. It was a bit weird seeing him sans Explorer or a Gibson guitar of any kind, but it shifted the dynamic of his performance in a welcome way, as did the inclusion of the heavily new wave influenced and synth driven track itself.
If you’re a fan of Coheed and Cambria, you’re obviously familiar with the story of The Amory Wars, the fictional narrative created by Sanchez that is the central concept of the band and its songs. Tuesday night’s performance was complete with all the samples, intros, interludes, etc. for each song, and that brought the attendees into the adventures of Coheed and Cambria even more so. Aside from the closer and perennial fan favorite “Welcome Home”, the audience came most alive for the epic four song run of selections from Coheed’s commercial breakthrough In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. As loud as the band was, the crowd might have been even louder singing along to “Blood Red Summer” and “A Favor House Atlantic”. It was simply a spectacular show. Setlist listed below.
The Dark Sentencer
Here We Are Juggernaut
Devil in Jersey City
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Blood Red Summer
A Favor House Atlantic
Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)
Here to Mars
Coheed wasn’t the only featured attraction. Their fellow Vans Warped Tour alumni Taking Back Sunday delivered an equally incredible, if drastically different, set. Front man Adam Lazzara was quite talkative, interacting with the crowd in a hilarious, almost carnival barker like style for much of their performance. A few songs in he introduced “Timberwolves in New Jersey” from their first album Tell All Your Friends and mentioned “how lucky (they) are (they) still get to play it” and made a joke about how they got their record deal “when they were 8 or 9” in a humorous nod to how long the band have been active and successful.
Lazzara soon noticed a guy in the pit that looked a lot like him and asked him if he was from Dodge City, KS, which is apparently where his father is from. “I was always hoping that something weird would happen to me in AR. That could have been the thing. I met my brother I never knew I had.” He then proceeded to introduce the song “All Excess” as “a dance number” and mentioned how the next song was also a dance number and that it was a “two for one” deal because he loves a deal and he’s at the Walmart AMP. The second dance number was “A Decade Under the Influence”, one of the band’s most successful singles and a big hit with the audience
Later in the set the pace got brisker between songs and sadly there was less of Lazzara’s stand-up type comedy, but that was also when major singles like “Cut Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team” and “MakeDamnSure” were played with remarkable energy, and the crowd went nuts. Toward the end of their performance, Lazarra led the AMP in a chant of “Coheed” to welcome them to the stage and to let “their old friends” know they would be playing for a good crowd. Taking Back Sunday’s set is listed below.
What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?
You Can’t Look Back
Timberwolves in New Jersey
Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
Faith (When I Let You Down)
A Decade Under the Influence
Beat Up Car
Set Phasers to Stun
Call Come Running
You’re So Last Summer
My Blue Heaven
Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)
Pop punkers The Story So Far kicked the night off and were very appreciative of the crowd for showing up early, as singer Parker Cannon often remarked between songs. They’re currently on tour to support their forthcoming new LP Proper Dose. Their loud and fast set was a nice appetizer for the evening’s main courses. As it was winding down, Cannon thanked both headliners for taking them out on their summer tour and described them as “two very good live bands” and assured us “(we) were in for a good show.” He was right. The whole show had a fun, comradery filled vibe and was a great example of why this is an awesome time to be a fan of live music in Northwest Arkansas.
Photos courtesy of the Arkansas Music Pavilion