Fall Out Boy: No gimmicks–just straight up, intoxicating fun

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Falling on the eve of a three-day weekend, Fall Out Boy’s concert gave teens and yuppies a much-needed break, courtesy of these self-proclaimed “antiheroes” of rock and roll. PHOTO COURTESY OF OVATION PRODUCTIONS

After a warmup set by local band Typecast, a collective whoop signaled the triumphant return of Fall Out Boy to Smart Araneta Coliseum last Aug. 8.

If people were still skeptical of the American band’s ability to sustain its popularity after years of inactivity, those doubts were laid to rest as soon as its members hit the stage. No crazy gimmicks or elaborate production—just in-your-face, intoxicating fun served straight up.

Opening with “Thriller” from 2007’s “Infinity on High,” the band dished out 20 hits that sum up its decade-long musical journey—from the frenetic rhythms of “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me” and “Dance, Dance,” all the way to the pop-punk swagger of “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” and “I Don’t Care.”

BASSIST Pete Wentz gets up close and personal with the screaming crowd. PHOTO COURTESY OF OVATION PRODUCTIONS

Fainting fans

The crowd tirelessly kept up with Patrick Stump’s vocals and Pete Wentz’s tongue-twisting lyrics, fueled by Joe Trohman’s jaunty guitar riffs and shirtless Andy Hurley’s throbbing drum beats. Pretty soon, fainting fans were being hauled out of the pit by burly bouncers.

Unlike in other concerts, where the newer songs tended to get a lukewarm response from the audience, fans sang-shouted to unreleased tracks like “Death Valley” just as loudly as they had to classic faves like “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.”

FRONTMAN Patrick Stump lets out an ear-to-ear grin amid raucous welcome-back cheers, with drummer Andy Hurley thumping away in the background. PHOTO COURTESY OF OVATION PRODUCTIONS

“Put on your war paint,” Stump bellowed amid the marching intro beats to “The Phoenix.” The crowd’s response was overwhelming. Despite the musical evolution, the songs from “Save Rock and Roll” were undoubtedly Fall Out Boy creations—catchy, cathartic anthems with lots of fist-pumping moments and “whoa-ohs” to get everyone to sing along.

While the kids and the kids-at-heart whooped along to the midtempo “Alone Together,” an impish Wentz told all the “dudes” in the house to sing along to the carefree, acoustic guitar-driven “Young Volcanoes.”

‘Antiheroes’

JOE TROHMAN rips out on guitar, bushy hair and all. PHOTO COURTESY OF OVATION PRODUCTIONS

Towards the end of the set, he turned serious and told the story behind the “Save Rock and Roll” album. For him, it represents the band’s return as the “antiheroes” who will stand up for the weirdos, freaks and losers everywhere.

He said, “If someone tells you that there’s nothing special about you, what if there f…ing is?” and promptly launched into the foot-stomping carrier single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)”—a defiant middle finger to those who want to put the band and its fans down.

Riding high on Wentz’s rousing speech, the band did a four-song encore with a slide-show backdrop of music icons—Freddie Mercury and Kurt Cobain to Madonna and Tupac, among others—paying tribute to rock ’n’ roll while singing about the travails of growing up.

Emotional high

Not a few fans were misty-eyed as Stump sang, “You are what you love, not who loves you,” switching to a deep English accent for Sir Elton John’s singing parts.

The sing-along hit an emotional high when all four guys stood up to join the crowd in chanting: “Oh, no, we won’t go / ’Cause we don’t know how to quit, oh, oh.”

The band wrapped up with a blistering cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” followed by romping-hard punk classics “Thnks fr th Mmrs” from “Infinity,” and “Saturday” from the 2003 debut “Take This To Your Grave,” at which point Wentz dove into the crowd.

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