Fall Out Boy – Live Review

Mitch Cole

The love child of all seven dwarves, Bristol will always be home to me. With an unusual degree in Early Years Education, I'm keen to get my teeth into something new. Excited to write about anything and everything, I might even stimulate you with my emphatic opinions and disappointing vocabulary.

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Aeons ago, I wrote a piece on Fall Out Boy’s latest album, Save Rock and Roll, which, frankly, was an utter triumph. The band have been busy ever since the release, pulling a Beyonce (before it was a thing) and filming videos for each song on the album, featuring cameos from various artists who lent a hand along the way, eventually finishing the ‘Young Blood Chronicles’ in May 2014.

The concept of Save Rock and Roll is an interesting, if not slightly overcomplicated, one but the world seems to be lapping it up after the band announced, and continually expanded, a tour which leapt from small venues to festival headlines slots, from American clubs to UK arenas. FOB have gone from strength to strength over the past year and with a Monument Summer tour alongside Paramore, it seems as though their success hasn’t quite run it’s course yet.

Having been in love with the band for most of my teenage (and several of my adult) years, I held back festive tears at the news that my friend had bought three tickets to see the boys in Cardiff and was reforming our tight knit emo trio for one spectacular night. Equipped with a hearty chest infection, aggressive bout of sinusitis and an award winning hangover, I made my way to the car and we raced through the night, over the bridge (seriously, £6.40? You’re alright thanks) and into Cardiff. The rest, as they say, is history.

19:58 We’re here! God, it’s busy.
19:59 The variety of people is impressive. Over-dressed wags from “the match”, 11 year olds with their metal head Mums, the token majority of 16 year old girls equipped with blue VKs, regular humans, man in SuperDry jeans and us. Diverse.
20:01 Oh, The Pretty Reckless are starting up.
20:02 They’re noisy aren’t they? I mean I can barely hear myself think with this facial congestion but they really are quite noisy.
20:02 Better find a decent spot (by the toilet) and check us in on Facebook with a funny status. How will people know we’re having a great time otherwise?
20:05 Just been told that Taylor Momsen is the little girl from The Grinch. Taking a moment to digest her Miley style transformation from cute singing caterpillar to butterfly of fury.
20:10 Not sure but I think she’s wearing a cape.
20:14 “Cardiff, you’re fucking awesome tonight” God I hope the 5 year old on a leash missed that one, Taylor.
20:18 Discussing her similarities to the dirty punky women of yesteryear.
20:21 It’s a cardigan, sorry guys.
20:26 We’re getting a water. Emma’s having a lemonade.
20:30 Made our way into the crowd. Still a lot of space left, we’re all pretty happy about this.
20:33 Up close, people seem to be enjoying it. The “pit” is featuring a lot of movement and it’s quite sweaty over there.
20:36 “Did she just sing ‘you make me wanna die?'”
20:41 This is their last song. It’s called “Going To Hell“, title track from the new album. It sounds a bit like everything else they’ve sung but if you’re into that, winning formula I guess.
20:44 Very much a green hue to this song.
20:47 It’s still going. Thundering along.
20:48 It’s finished. They’ve gone. Did quite well, I thought.
20:50 The lights are up and there’s a pair of tights on the floor. Someone has worn them here, then decided to take them off and keep them safe on the ground of Cardiff Motorpoint Arena.
20:53 Attention has been drawn to the tights and everyone’s eyeing them up awkwardly and pushing them around the floor. They’re doing the rounds. I hope the aimless girl doesn’t want them back because they’re sodden with lemonade and chewing gum now.

What happens here is the awkward 25 minute wait for Fall Out Boy to come on stage. The crowd starts to buzz and surge, the “dedicated” fans shove past the tiny people and stand directly in front of them. The lifted arms clutch their one and only under-age beverage of the night whilst their pits emanate inexperience and prepubescence. People get antsy, we try to eye up mature gig goers who will sing and have a good time without punching us in the tits along the way. We start to lose hope.

21:18 There’s a mega screen behind the big sheet. There’s something on it. 
21:20
 The lights are off. I’m more excited than I thought.
21:21 They’re running onto the stage wearing balaclavas. “Put on your war paint” OH GOD this is weird and amazing and weirdly amazing.
21:23 “The Phoenix” is a great opener. Obvious but effective. They sound CD recording good.
21:27 Wonder how much old stuff they’re play given they’re touring with the new record.
21:28 Well they’re playing “This Ain’t A Scene” so that ticks that box, doesn’t it Cardiff? Absolutely smashing it. Pete Wentz looks nice. Remember when everyone saw his willy? Yeah, me too. Simpler times.
21:34 “Alone Together” is accompanied by a montage of punk/alt couples having a great time. It’s sort of cute and sort of cringey but we’re all quite stone hearted so it’s wasted on us really. Good song, though. Transfers well to an arena.
21:35 The one and only Patrick Stump is en point with these vocals. He’s doing really well, genuinely.
21:36 Crowd control. “Guys in the front row are getting fucking wrecked. Can you all take one big step back? Awesome, let’s go”
21:37 GUITAR SOLO ALERT.
21:39 “Welcome, it’s here”. Fan favourite “Thriller” and Alice looks like she’s about to fall over and cry.
21:42 We’re having a little pep talk about individuality and being a “weirdo”. It’s probably ringing true for a lot of the crowd.
21:44 Enough of that now, they’re playing “Death Valley“. It sounds really good and that falsetto is the sexiest thing here right now. The slither of stadium dubstep is just about perfect.
21:48 Almost forgot there’s a lot of other people around me. Am I singing too loudly? I wish I had a lemonade.
21:49 Trying desperately to find those tights and suck the fizz out of them.
21:50 Holding wee in now “I’m just a notch in your bedpost, but you’re just a line in a song“. Everyone is loving this, the atmosphere is mega right now.
21:54 Speaking of loving it, “Young Volcanoes” is sung nearly entirely by the crowd. This song is an anthem for us “individual weirdos” and that’s absolutely okay. Although balloons have fallen from the ceiling, the mood has been nothing but lifted.
21:55 The close ups of the crowd on the big screen feature a lot of brace riddled mouths and kooky hair. I can be a judgemental as I want, they’re having the time of their lives.
21:57 JUST BEAT IT
22:00 Punk rock montage alert. Interviews all about real rock and roll and sell outs and encores and all sorts. We get it boys, you’re in it for the music not the fame.
22:03 They’ve materialised on a platform in the middle of the crowd with acoustic guitars. Hello.
22:03I’m Like a Lawyer” sounds nice like this and Stump’s vocals are divine.
22:05 “When we tour, we like to learn a bit of the local dialect but we’re shit here. We’ve not learnt any Welsh, sorry guys”. Don’t worry, neither has anyone else since about 1847. We’ll still sing along. “Grand Theft Autumn” is vintage FOB and iconic. Big moment on that stage right now.
22:09 Has someone been sick? Bloody blue VK fiends.
22:08 DISTRACTING DRUM SOLO ON THE MAIN STAGE ALERT
22:10 …which leads into “Dance Dance“. Holy shit, they know how to keep you hooked don’t they.
22:14 Getting our phones out to light up the arena for “Just One Yesterday“. No Foxes cameo though 🙁
22:16 Patrick is singing her bits and concreting this as a highlight from the album. The crowd are loving it.
22:18 Ironically, I’ve been dogged up for my ambitious solo during “I Don’t Care“.
22:23 And now comes the generic appreciative moment. It’s weird to think what it would actually be like to sell out arenas – maybe they really are that thankful. Either way, it’s a rockstar’s thankyou from Mr. Wentz: “This is our fucking love letter to you”. Cheers buddy.
22:24My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” sounds perfect live. It’s thriving in exactly the environment it was intended for. There’s red lights and lots of fire on the screen. We love it, they love it.
22:27 It’s pitch black now. Girls are screaming. #unsettled
22:30 Fret not, costume change for the encore. Lots of vests and a piano. Homosexuality has increased approximately 110%.
22:31Save Rock and Roll” complete with a montage of iconic stars of days gone by. Madonna, Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Cobain, Rolling Stones, Elton. It’s strangely emotional. “I need more dreams and less life. I need that dark in a little more light.” GOOSEBUMPS.
22:35 Thnks fr the mmrs!!!?!?!
22:39 Photo op for the boys. Nicely done.
22:40 And just like that, rather cleverly, they’re finishing with “Saturday“. A little slice of sentimental, thoughtful, humble heaven. Perfect.

On a massive high afterwards, we decided to head for a midnight Burger King and discuss just how much we love those four men. Turns out, it’s a lot. The show was high octane, full of energy and emotion, passion and narrative. I always worry that some of the magic of live shows is lost in a crowd of thousands but it turns out, with the right combination, it just intensifies an already encapsulating experience. I forgot about the reams of tweens, anxious for their first period, and rowdy men, fresh from the rugby. It felt like it was just us three and FOB. Wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

The band are heading back our way to play Isle of Wight festival and Download later this year. I hope you join me in crossing fingers and toes that they’ll extend their Monument tour with Paramore to our tiny island too. Tickets are available for a few of their upcoming shows and, if you’re into your dancey pop-punk come rock come emo come wonderful music, I urge you to go. What a show.