Fall Out Boy
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Better than: Doing your homework.
The Boys were back in town.
Clad in grey jean vests, fancy hats and tribal 'tats, Fall Out Boy hit Oakland's Fox Theater Sunday night with an exciting fervor, making young girls sob hysterically as the band returned to the Bay Area for the first time since 2009.
Blending old punk-pop favorites with singles off their newly released comeback album, Save Rock and Roll, the group delivered a simple, solid show that reminded the young crowd why not studying for their finals or doing their physics homework was totally worth it.
Singer Patrick Stump was unquestionably the star of the night, as his soulful, high-pitched voice has never sounded better. The emotional vocalist unquestionably outshined his fellow band members. Stump -- who embarked on a rather unsuccessful, lackluster solo career after Fall Out Boy's second hiatus in late 2009 -- was a joy to watch as he belted out tunes of heartbreak and disappointment with physical passion and gritty intonation.
Stump reminds you of musicians like Chris Cornell, Gene Simmons, Mick Jagger, and (hey, since we're talking about teenage girls) even the Spice Girls: great vocalists who left to pursue solo careers that were dull, unsuccessful, and nowhere near as impactful. Stump is simply so much better with the band, so it was great to see him back in that element.
Opening with "Thriller," an autobiographical song about the band's return from its first hiatus in 2005 following the release of From Under the Cork Tree, Sunday night was a very gratifying show for many fans. The band members knew it. "We had to do this thing again because you guys are real to us," said bassist Pete Wentz.
Fall Out Boy was at its apex following the release of the chart-topping Infinity on High in 2007, where the majority of the group's fans and customers were 13-18 year old teens. But somehow the majority of the attendees at the Fox last night were also 13- to 18-year-old girls. It made us wonder if these teeny-boppers were really listening to this band when they were between 7 and 12 years old.
Most likely not. Rather, the new album is an indication of Fall Out Boy's staying power and ability to lure in a new crop of teenage fans. Mascara gunk was everywhere, and Wentz's three wardrobe changes made teenage girls scream and pull their hair.
The band's music seems to highlight all of the key emotions of high school, from raging hormones to excessive, annoying school spirit. Moments of intense passion came out during love anthems "Sugar, We're Going Down," "Young Volcanoes," and the hits "Phoenix," "Dance, Dance," and "Thnks fr th Mmrs." At times it felt very much like a homecoming dance, with gyrating bodies and boys seeming to nearly thrust girls off the edge of the balcony. Apparently songs about constantly getting rejected really make kids want to get it on nowadays.
The encore, "Save Rock and Roll," was fine musically, but brought out a cockiness that made it the low point of the night. The band, which claims to be "saving" music through its latest pop album, performed the title track with a slideshow of legendary musicians on the screen behind, honoring the likes of Jimmi Hendrix, Madonna, Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many more. But the song, and the slideshow, ended climactically with an image of Fall Out Boy. Is this band really following in the lineage of game-changers and musical icons like Dylan and Hendrix? Definitely not. It's pretty bold to say you're the continuation of Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur -- so bold that it's almost upsetting.
Additionally, drummer Andy Hurley's unwillingness to perform a drum solo for "Death Valley" after praise and prompting from Wentz was pretty disappointing, as he said he didn't really want to perform the same song twice. Dude, lame.
At the end of the two-hour performance, one fan mentioned to his friends that Fall Out Boy might one day be like AC/DC or Rolling Stones, in that his children would ask him what it was like to be at a Fall Out Boy concert. As the group finished with its regular closer "Saturday," it was clear the show meant something very deep to fans both new and old, who felt as if they too were returning from a hiatus. Whether Fall Out Boy is saving rock 'n' roll or not, the boys did a pretty damn good job of displaying it.
Personal bias: When "Sugar, We're Going Down" was released in 2005, I was a 15-year old hopeless romantic teenager with a lot of makeup, so I have detailed memories of blasting this song in cars and screaming along like it was the anthem to my life. When this song was played Sunday night, I couldn't help but throw down my notebook and become a teenager again for four minutes. Rest assured, I quickly resumed my journalistic poise right after. Also, I really do not think Pete Wentz is hot.
Celebrity Sighting/Random Detail: Spider-Man was near the front of the stage. No webs were found after the show.
Quote of the Night: "Like O-M-G, did you see how wide Pete's tongue is?"
By the way: Drummer Andy Hurley pulled up to the scene in a blue Subaru Forester. No, the ceiling was not missing.
Also: Fall Out Boy will perform at the America's Cup Pavilion in San Francisco on September 21.
Tell that Mick
What a Catch
Where is your boy
I Don't Care
Light em Up
Save Rock and Roll