This review could easily be titled “Fall Out Boy(s) to Men”. The band has matured so much, individually and as a whole, musically and in personae, since they went on hiatus in late 2009. They are still the same band, Patrick Stump (vocals and guitar), Pete Wentz (bass, vocals), Joe Trohman (guitar, vocals), and Andy Hurley (drums, vocals), but with a whole new, grown-up attitude. Fall Out Boy brought their Save Rock and Roll Tour (small venue version) to Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on June 11, 2013, much to the delight of the capacity crowd ranging from 15-year-old fanboys trying hard to look like circa 2005 Wentz to older (and old … well, middle-aged) fans.
The set list was a work of art, sampling songs from all five FOB albums. But it’s not just the breadth of the song selections that’s impressive, it’s the structure of the set, itself. As the houselights fell, Jay-Z’s recorded prologue to Infinity on High‘s “Thriller” played to a now-screaming audience, the perfect way to end a long hiatus:
“Yeah, what you critics said would never happen.
We dedicate this album to anybody people said couldn’t make it.
To the fans that held us down till everybody came around.
Welcome. It’s here.”
Stump sang a genuine love song to the fans; at least those who insisted that FOB really was just on hiatus, and hadn’t broken up; “…our hearts beat for the diehards”, and the band put their full hearts and smiles into playing their comeback tune. They slyly followed with the sardonic nod to tell-all groupies with From Under the Cork Tree‘s “I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me”.
The band continued to weave in and out of their musical history, often linking themes, one song to the next. Folie à Deux‘s “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”, a tribute to falling apart and the imperfection of romantic relationships, was followed by Save Rock and Roll‘s anthemic “The Phoenix”, declaring war upon the old and promising a rockin’ make-over, while exhorting the listener to “dance alone to the beat of your heart”.
Until a few nights before the Tempe show, the setlist included the wickedly clever progression from Infinity‘s “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s an Arms Race” to 2013’s Save Rock and Roll‘s “Where Did the Party Go” … moving from the former’s opening lyrics “I am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words. And don’t really care which side wins; long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I’m in” to the latter’s intro, “I am here to collect your hearts; that’s the only reason that I sing.”
Through it all, the band sounded amazing: Stump’s voice is aging very well indeed, like fine wine, growing more interesting and smooth with time, soaring through his often complex, bluesy compositions like a well-tuned sax. Apparently, he’s really been pouring it out with all his will, night after night of the small venue tour; when he came out after the show to greet fans, Patrick … always a sweetheart — communicated in pantomime, signaling at his throat, and rolling his eyes expressively. The only drawback was occasionally poor sound-mixing; Stump’s voice was, at times, glaringly brightened, while Hurley’s drums were mixed so strongly on some songs that they buried the subtler interplay between guitars, bass, and vocals. The show had the best lighting this reviewer has ever seen at the venue (and that’s a lot of shows, folks!). Unfortunately, the big light show seemed more appropriate to a larger stage, and some of the impact might have been lost to the fans crammed against the barricade. But it sure was exciting, all the same; the audience could see every member of the band, and the timing on the lighting was immaculately matched to the music, as were the various backing images, particularly the slide review of the pantheon members of rock history during “Save Rock and Roll.”
In the past, Stump’s vocals were often his only truly noticeable presence in live performances; he has matured out of an almost painful shyness to bring a dynamic presence as a front-man to the band, sharing that duty equally, now, with bassist Pete Wentz. The band has become much more collaborative, it seems; co-guitarist, Joe Trohman did double duty, playing keyboards as well as trading off guitar leads/rhythm roles with Stump, and he (and his wonderful hair) brought a great physical energy to the show.
Drummer Andy Hurley pounded out the rhythms, fast and smooth, driving the band from pop-punk to soul to solid rock and back again with seemingly boundless energy and some of the best upper body tatts seen on the Marquee stage. Wentz was laid back and thoughtful; he explained to the audience that the band grew out of punk roots, and the new album was a reflection of that upbringing: “We did this one just for us; not giving a fuck about what anyone else thought.” Yep…that’s punk, alright. When all is said and done, Fall Out Boy might not be the ones to save rock and roll, but they sure are doing their damnedest to keep it alive and well.
I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today
What a Catch, Donnie
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
I Don’t Care
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)
Save Rock and Roll
Thnks fr th Mmrs
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Photographs and text Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich – DOOM! Magazine, All Rights Reserved. Do not repost or reproduce.