97X Next Big Thing Throwback: 97X Next Big Thing 4

Almost 13,000 fans filled Coachman Park in Clearwater for the 97X Next Big Thing 4, December 5, 2004. The lineup that was announced looked very differently on show day, with two bands having medical issues causing the full bands to miss the show. These unfortunate situations created two of the most iconic and unforgettable moments in NBT history, but more on that later.  The morning kicked off with England’s The Music with a blistering thirty minute set including their single “Take the Long Road and Walk It.” Following was supposed to be a set by Coheed & Cambria, but due to a death in the family, only lead singer Claudio Sanchez came to the show. He agreed to do an acoustic set featuring Coheed songs, something he had rarely, if ever had done at that point. What followed was one of the most unforgettable moments in NBT history. Claudio’s voice demanded attention from the crowd who were entranced for the entire set which included acoustic versions of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3”, “Once Upon Your Dead Body” and “A Favor House Atlantic.” Claudio and the entire band would return to the NBT stage in 2007. Following Claudio and hailing from Newport Wales, was Skindred who’s mix of Metal and reggae who’s set was unlike any previous NBT set. Hitting the stage around 1pm was Lit who delivered a high energy set including their hits “Miserable” and “My Own Worst Enemy.” At this point, the original set list had My Chemical Romance hitting the stage at around 2pm, but due to losing his voice the night before, Gerard didn’t make the flight to Tampa with the band. Because of this, both Lit and the next band, Taking Back Sunday got extended sets. During Taking Back Sunday’s set, the band members of My Chemical Romance sat on the stage watching their friends and ultimately ended up joining them for a rendition of the My Chemical Romance song “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).”  This performance is usually regarded as the #1 moment in NBT history.  The rest of Taking Back Sunday’s set included Adam Lazzara scaling and hanging upside from the stage scaffolding and performances of their hit songs “Cute Without the ‘E’”, “Set Phasers to Stun”, “A Decade Under the Influence” and “This Photograph is Proof.”  Taking Back Sunday would return to the NBT stage in 2006 and 2011. It was only 4pm when Taking Back Sunday left the stage. The next two bands were Lost Prophets who performed their hit “Last Train Home” and Story of The Year whose 50 minute set included their hit “Until The Day I Die.” The Used made their return to the NBT stage for the second time in three years. The band would return to headline in 2007 and play again in 2009. Their set included songs from their new album In Love and Death which had been release only months before. Immediately following their performance and as he was walking off stage, lead singer Bert McCracken was arrested by Clearwater Police for an outstanding warrant relating to an incident at Next Big Thing 2. The night was headlined by Sum 41 who played at the very first 97X Next Big Thing. Their set included hits “Fat Lip”, “In Too Deep” and “Still Waiting.” This was Sum 41’s last NBT performance as of 2020.
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