Photos and Review by Aaron Tamachi
This week Underoath returned to Toronto for the first time since they initially disbanded four years ago. Upon the separation, vocalist Spencer Chamberlain pursued his band Wintersleep, and drummer Aaron Gillespie continued his project The Almost while simultaneously drumming on tour with Paramore. However, rumors circulating in November 2015 of a possible reunion tour and it was finally and officially announced, nostalgia grabbed fans by the throat and Toronto show was sold out, shockingly in under 3 minutes.
Despite their lack of intention to re-start this project, Underoath made this comeback in response to fan requests. Appropriately titled the Rebirth Tour, the reunion not only marks the return of the band but also the 10-year anniversary of their release of They’re Only Chasing Safety. To celebrate, Underoath brought along melodic rock band Caspian as their show opener, who played a fantastic set. As such, fans were in full swing and chanting Underoath between bands, and exploded into a frenzy as Underoath came out swinging for the 21-song set. It wasn’t long before The Phoenix made the transition from a music venue to a giant steam room.
Opening with Young and Aspiring and a top-notch production team, the stage lit up and Underoath was unstoppable. They sounded so crisp and refined that it was hard to believe the band had been apart for so long. UO almost flew through Down, Set, Go (which was said to never be performed live) plus Some Seek Forgiveness and Others Escape. UO did a variation on the soft, flowy tune, creating a more upbeat crescendo.
Following the completion of TOCS, the band left the blackened stage for a quick breather while a video played on the stage backdrop. Then Underoath returned to the stage for the second half of the setlist with In Regards to Myself. The crowd was rejuvenated and continued on with as much, if not more intensity than the first half of the show. By then, the temperature inside The Phoenix felt as though it had reached 40C. Eyes were stinging from the sweat rolling down foreheads and fans were tasting each other’s salty sweat as they partied shoulder to shoulder.
Every track on the album was played, right down to the interludes, and it was (and I totally risk sounding like an idiot saying this) brilliantly magical. Feeling the weight of 1400 people jumping up and down, screaming out the lyrics, and moshing with a friend (or a friend to be) with a band we grew up with, it was impossible to feel alone.
For me, this was absolutely the show of the year (quote me on this in Dec 2016). Everyone needs to experience a show like this at some point in your life. We aren’t sure how long the band plans on touring, and I’m personally hoping that this brief instance isn’t going to be like the Alexisonfire “were back and not going anywhere but actually were not back together and you misunderstood what we meant” type reunion. Truthfully, I’m hoping to see a couple albums, but I’m just happy I was one of the lucky attendees for this auspicious occasion.