I have been to three Fall Out Boy concerts in my time. One when I was still in high school, one in 2013 (which you can read about here), and then another at the Tivoli, last night. The ticket was an early birthday present from my sister. And what a present it was. My sister knows me incredibly well. Plus, she’s a bit of an opportunist. FOB is one of her favourite bands too, so we went together. Well, kinda, but I’ll get to that.
I actually have a few photos from the concert this time, but I didn’t take them. My sister insisted on borrowing my phone in order to take photos because her phone’s camera sucks. So, I have photos! Pretty cool.
Anyway, now for the show:
My sister insisted (haha consonance) on showing up for the support bands. She’s an “entire experience” kinda girl. So we had to sit through “Swimmers” (originally “Emily’s Army”). And yes, I mean sit through. These guys sucked. Every single one of their songs sounded the same to me. Except the last one which was kinda catchy. But the rest of them? Ugh, I was hoping each song was the last one. Here are the only things I remember:
1. The two singers had dyed their hair to match their guitars. Like, seriously. Both of these guys had blue hair, but different shades of blue. And these shades of blue corresponded with their guitars. I could NOT believe it.
2. The main singers’ hair wiggle. Oh. My. God. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. It was how I imagine a news reader’s hair would look if they started head banging. Every strand moved in a kind of wave around the main guy’s head. I could not stop laughing. It was ridiculous.
3. A girl behind me stood up for herself in a way I never could. Let me explain: out of all the people I could have run into at that gig, standing behind me was a friend of mine from Brisbane who I hadn’t seen in forever. Anyway, he was only a line away when he asked the girl next to me if he could move through the crowd to stand with me and my sister. She said no. And why?
“I’m sorry. But I did pay for my ticket too.”
I couldn’t argue with that logic. It’s genius. And totally true. So I just looked over my shoulder throughout the concert. I wasn’t even mad. I was impressed. If it were me, I would’ve caved.
Notice not one of these things have anything to do with the music? THAT’S how forgettable Swimmers was as a band.
The next support was a band called Twin Atlantic. These guys were an experiment into obscurity a friend of mine and I conducted in high school. I have one of their albums and never thought to download anymore. Why? These guys are so incredibly Scottish. Like, you can barely understand them Scottish. I was braced for half an hour of wishing I’d brought ear plugs but what happened was totally different. After Swimmers née Emily’s Army, Twin Atlantic were a breath of fresh air. They had stage presence. They had songs that sounded different from each other. In short, they had talent. And it didn’t hurt that the guys were all incredibly attractive. So I will be downloading a few more albums, because I was thoroughly riveted for their set.
And after Twin Atlantic was, of course, the main event. The princes of pop punk themselves (even if they don’t define themselves as pop punk), Fall Out Boy. My sister and I were pretty close to the stage when the band came out. But we didn’t stay there for long. Not if we valued our ability to walk.
The Tivoli gig was 18+. So, unfortunately, there were a lot of meatheads in attendance. And these meatheads decided to try and make FOB “hardcore” by moshing. By jumping all over people, shoving them, pushing them over, and being general dickheads.
FOB is not a hardcore band. I’m cool if people wanna dance and jump and punch the air, and I understand the whole non-existence-of-personal-space thing at concerts, but moshing is excessive. Moshing to FOB is essentially insecure men trying to reassure themselves of their masculinity by throwing their weight around. Literally. My sister and I had to separate because these meatheads rammed straight through us. My friend and his sister had to leave because of these meatheads. I ran from my, admittedly pretty sweet, spot because I was in danger of being trampled to death. Almost literally. I love Fall Out Boy. I went to watch my favourite band play live and to maybe dance and jump a little. I did not go to have my night ruined by a bunch of idiots. So, to those guys I say: either learn to love Rammstein or sit the fuck down.
Even Pete told the crowd to take a giant step backward and to “look after one another”, because these fuckers were getting way too over the top. And when the band is telling you to calm down, maybe it’s time to calm down.
Once I moved out of the way of all of the unpleasantness, the gig was fun. It was not as full of meaning as the 2013 gig I saw, but that may have been because Save Rock and Roll was a concept album and therefore the gig had a through-line. American Beauty/American Psycho was a regular album, so there wasn’t that running theme throughout the night. Plus, the Tivoli gig was a Sidewave (a sideshow played by a Soundwave band) and so was maybe a little more intimate and laid back than a Fall Out Boy Soundwave gig would have been. But seeing FOB live is always fun.
Fall Out Boy have an energy that is simply contagious. However (and yes, there is a however), the setlist was nearly identical to the one I saw in 2013. Only five of the songs FOB played were from the new album. I know that their set wasn’t as long as it was at the Entertainment Centre, but this was ridiculous. I wanted to hear songs like “Jet Pack Blues”, “Fourth of July”, and “Novocaine” live, not the biggest hits that are played over and over again because those hits will always get a reaction. The band played them well, and I got up and jumped and punched the air, but I was swept away by the energy, not the songs themselves. Is that the point? Maybe. But I wanted to hear something new.
They did play “The Kid’s Aren’t Alright” which wasn’t a single, but the rest of the songs that were played from AB/AP were. And even though these songs were played with as much vigour and joie de vivre as I could have hoped for, I wanted more. Is that fair? Maybe not. But it’s what I wanted.
Fun fact: at at least two of the FOB gigs I’ve been to, there has been a girl holding up a sign emblazoned with the words “Sophomore Slump” (short for “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Century?”). It’s one of the lesser known songs from FOB’s From Under the Cork Tree album. She is always in the front row and, from what I know, her sign is always ignored. Until this gig. Pete started saying something about “not remembering how this one goes, but we’ll try it anyway”. And then they played the opening chorus. Haltingly. The crowd yelled the words and filled in the gaps in the band’s knowledge. The boys gave up when the verse hit, but they at least tried. They tried and deviated from their set list for a fan. The deviation may have only lasted for thirty seconds, but it was a beautiful thirty seconds.
The only songs I love that FOB play every single time that they play live are “Grand Theft Autumn” and “Saturday”. “Grand Theft Autumn” is my all-time favourite FOB song. And “Saturday” is kind of a tradition. Both of these songs are from Take This To Your Grave, and the fact that they still get played blows my mind. Because these songs aren’t guaranteed to get a reaction. In fact, many new fans would probably skip this album, as it was the first proper studio album. So there is that.
Pete fell more into the frontman role during this gig than Patrick did. Patrick had his moments. Patrick even danced a little on stage, which made me incredibly excited. But Pete was the main guy. He spoke to us, told us stories, and promised not to talk about drop bears anymore. But, as engaging as Pete was, the main thing I remember from these parts of the gig was Patrick saying that he doesn’t swear on stage unless Pete makes him because of all the awful words Pete says. I thought that was adorable on every single level. Thank you for that adorableness, Mr. Stump.
I had a blast at this concert despite idiot “males” and a disappointing first band. My sister had a blast. And, of course, I got to see one of my favourite bands in person. It really doesn’t get much better than that.