Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With…Me

First things first. For this concert I decided to do this a little differently. I decided not to spend the entire night trying to get a perfect photo with my not-so-perfect camera phone. I went old school and was just in the moment as the kids say these days. And I gotta say, I enjoyed myself so much more because of that decision.

British India are a band I don’t know much about. But they put on one hell of a show. Plus, they play up their Aussie accents when they sing, which is definitely OK with me. There are so many acts that, when they sing they sound American. British India are not like that. So even though I only half knew two of their songs, (thank you Triple M), they were a brilliant opening act. The fact that they had some killer guitar riffs didn’t hurt too much either.

I think I forgot to mention that I went to this concert alone. Believe me, I tried to get people to come, but they were either broke or not into the band enough to fork out the money to go. And there was no way I was going to miss Fall Out Boy, so I went stag (can girls say that?). Anyway, here’s a little known fact about going to concerts alone: there’s no one to judge you when you go absolutely nuts. No one to make you feel self-conscious because you’re dancing and they’re not. I completely recommend it. Especially for a band that you absolutely adore.

Because I didn’t get any photographic evidence, and because I spent most of the night in a state of musically instigated bliss, a lot of this detail is going to be in the wrong order. But I will write it hopefully just as well as I felt it.

When Fall Out Boy finally came out on stage, they were in balaclavas. Which I didn’t realise at first because there were strobe lights and tall people and the music video for “The Phoenix” playing on the screen behind them. The balaclavas were a beautiful detail, because that’s what the mysterious, beautiful women in the video wear as they take each member of the band down. I love it when bands commit to a theme. FOB were all wearing shirts and vests and things with their logo on them, like a uniform. Kind of like My Chem, or Green Day, or even Panic! back in the day. I would have been mesmerised even if they had been wearing nothing more impressive than jeans and some other band shirts. But the uniformity put me in mind of an army. Just them against the world.

You should have seen the crowd when songs like “Sugar, We’re Going Down”, “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”, and “Dance, Dance” were played. Everyone. Went. NUTS. I suppose, and don’t quote me, that From Under the Cork Tree, and Infinity on High  were their biggest albums, so I guess it’s no surprise that most of their songs came from those two albums. FOB are nothing if not performers. They even managed to get the crowd moving with lesser known songs from those albums like “Thriller” and “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off” and “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me”. But it wasn’t just the songs that got the crowd moving. Joe and Andy both got to shred their instruments for us. I always liked it when bands do that: let the members that don’t get as much attention for whatever reason show the world what they can actually do. And damn Joe can shred. He even managed to pull off the guitar solo in their cover of “Beat It” that I thought was a John Mayer thing. That and he has a beautiful voice. I mean, he’s no Patrick Stump but then again, who is? And Andy? Well he can sure beat the hell out of those drums.

I gained a little bit of respect for Pete during the concert. I mean, he still thinks he’s the frontman, but Pete does have a certain charisma that Patrick kind of lacks. Patrick is the embodiment of the phrase “I will seduce you with my awkwardness”. He is that adorable guy in every room that is just geeky enough to be interesting, but not geeky enough to be repellent. Pete is the kind of frontman that yells at the crowd to scream and to scream louder. Patrick’s the kind of frontman that says, not yells, “and sing louder, dammit!”. He is the frontman that makes fun of our accent and is more than happy to let his music speak for itself. Patrick looked spectacular, just if anyone was wondering. As a person who has struggled with her weight since she was about six, I can absolutely appreciate the hard work that has obviously gone into Patrick’s transformation. He was wearing a pretty tight t-shirt towards the end there. And no, he isn’t all ridges and abs like Pete, but Patrick has put in the hard yards and for that I say: well done Mr. Stump, well done.
Anyway, before I got distracted by talking about Patrick, as I do sometimes, I was talking about Pete. He can hold a conversation with a crowd. He actually stopped what he was saying, was silent for a bit, and explained that he didn’t want to say the same thing as he had on a previous night. And that was when he proceeded to call us all drop bears. “Cute and cuddly on the outside, but freaks in the middle.” Apparently, he’s dressing up as a drop bear for Halloween. I hope he goes through with it. The point is that, even though I hate the fact that everyone fawns over him because he’s “pretty”, he definitely has the charisma of a frontman. He has to be the only bass player who is the main focus of a band. Truly. Unless someone can prove me wrong.

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It may be dodgy, and basically looks like someone has taken a permanent marker to my arm, but there you have it: Fall Out Boy have marked me for life.

“Alone Together” was beautifully done. After Pete had given an impassioned speech about being real and how there aren’t many “real” people left, the band launched into “Alone Together” and flashed photos of punk couples in all their mohawked, pierced glory. It was, well, inspirational really. Basically a dedication to all punk fans everywhere. Like the band was thanking us for being weird and devoted without so many words. Then they aired an interview with a punk god. I knew he was a god because the words he spoke to his interviewer sounded like gospel. But I, in my uninformed ways, couldn’t tell you who he was. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know who this man was. But I loved that FOB decided to show the interview from what must have been the 80s. There was a running theme to this concert: be yourself and let the music be what it wants to be. Save Rock and Roll.

After this interview was shown, the crowd got confused for a moment, because the band ended up behind us for their acoustic set. I ended up pretty close to the stage, which was amazing. Because they played “Grand Theft Autumn”. Acoustically. I am in love with that song. So, despite the fact that the song was played a lot more sweetly than the original version, I was still jumping all over the place. And I could have sworn, just for a second, that I locked eyes with Pete. Pity it wasn’t Patrick but hey, at least one of them actually saw me as more than just a glint of glasses in the flashing lights. And during my favourite song too. Perfect.
“Young Volcanoes” was another acoustic one, with a video of the crowd playing on the big screen behind them. Stripped down, “Young Volcanoes” has a folksy sound that suited the song a lot better, I thought. Especially when we, the crowd, were singing back up. And I’m pretty sure it was during this song that the band released balloons. Big black-and-white ones with the FOB logo emblazoned on it. There was something carefree and beautiful about seeing the balloons bounce over our heads in the flickering colours. I felt…light. Buoyant. I loved it.

Here’s some food for thought: songs rarely make me cry. I mean, unless I’m already emotional, songs don’t make me cry as a rule. Movies, TV shows, and the odd book definitely. But not songs. Except for last night. “Save Rock And Roll”. I was moved. Well, I was too happy to actually cry. But I felt the tears welling up, and the familiar lump in my throat. Patrick on piano, with the photos of fallen musical heroes flashing above his head, and swelling guitar all around? I was a goner. And I noticed that I do this thing at concerts. You know when people in movies are in church and they put up one hand, sway side to side, and say “testify”? That’s me, in time with the music, minus the “testify”. This was a startling discovery. But it makes sense. Music is my religion. I’m OK with that.

Given that Folie à Deux  was their penultimate album, I was expecting a lot more songs from it. I guess that, because that album happened just before the hiatus, there may have been too many bad memories attached to those particular melodies. But the crowd went off for “I Don’t Care”. I was punching the air with the best of them.
I’m going to take a side note here to talk about this bitch that was standing in front of me. I don’t know about you, but if I’m on the floor, not in the stands, it’s because I want to dance. I want to jump and scream and get absolutely enthralled by the music. So when this chick kept turning around and giving me judgemental looks for getting into the songs from my favourite band, I felt like slapping her. Who goes down the front, only to get upset if someone accidentally brushes against them? If you can’t handle the sweat, get out of the mosh pit. (Ha ha, I kid. Moshing to FOB? But still, that sounds better than “crowd” doesn’t it?) So if you are that girl, and kept turning around to look at the girl with the faded red hair, glasses, and the Academy Is… t-shirt, here’s some advice: next time, get a seat in the stands.

It’s been so long since I saw FOB live last that I’m not sure if this is true or not…but I think they end every concert with “Saturday”. I love that. It’s like “here, these are all our songs, especially our new ones. But this is where we came from. And we are paying homage to our humble beginnings”. Most bands play their biggest single last. And you know that a band is coming back on stage when that song hasn’t been played. But FOB are different. And good for them. Who wants to be a follower anyway?

I was flying high when I left the convention centre. Swinging my bag, a skip in my step, and a song in my head. On the bus home I kept my eyes peeled for anyone wearing a bright yellow wristband, because they were my people. There were a few of us. But here was the perfect end to my night. As I was skipping home, trying to keep from singing out loud, a guy walking beside me asked “were you at the concert?”
“I sure was,” I replied, “did you like it?”
“Absolutely, except for the last song. I didn’t know it.”
My jaw dropped. “You don’t know ‘Saturday’?”
And then I proceeded to inform him that Take This To Your Grave  was the first studio album and well-worth a listen. What self-respecting FOB fan doesn’t know Take This To Your Grave? I hope he went home and immediately downloaded the album and listened to it on repeat until he was word perfect.

But there you go, the perfect end to a night that made me truly happy for the first time in a very, very long time. Thank you Patrick, Pete, Joe, and Andy. You guys are simply the bomb.

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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One Response to Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With…Me

  1. Pingback: Of All The Gin Joints In All The World | My Infernal Imagination

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