October 20, 2007
But our hearts beat for the diehards
When one enters an arena for a night of music they should be experiencing an event full of escapism that provides a euphoric force that brings you to your feet and makes your voice your own personal ache with unabashed vulnerability. We live in a time and age where repressed emotions rule the day and it’s not looked upon fondly to unleash them. There was a time, not too long ago, where concerts found social misfits gathered close together in a unifying stance where band and fan became one through the unification of music. With ticket prices breaking the $100 barrier that fusion is gone. All too often you find stock brokers who are obsessed with celebrity in the best seats with the true fans in either the nosebleeds or left out in the cold. However, one band has currently defied this idiotic reasoning; Fall Out Boy. Commonsense would tell you that a band this popular cannot be edgy or epic in this day and age. Can one really have watershed moments from a band still signed to a major label? The answer is a resounding yes and on the “Young Wild Things Tour”, Fall Out Boy is letting their music ignite a generation’s message, which is often overshadowed by their indelible pop hooks.
As I headed into the arena for the show, it proved to be more than I could have anticipated. The entire evening was full of treasured moments right from the outset as openers Cute Is What We Aim For, Plain White T’s and Gym Class Heroes entranced the entire 13,000 in attendance. Each opening act had the crowd on their feet in rapt attention. Gym Class Heroes even played the beginning of Van Halen’s “Jump” and the reaction was far more deafening than it had been for the actual Van Halen three nights earlier. With the $30 ticket price, it ensured that anyone who wanted to see this show could. There was no VIP’s bidding for tickets in the front row, because it was General Admission. Here is an organization that realizes long term success depends on the returning customer and their fanaticism. Instead of punishing them, the band and their management team is rewarding them with a first rate show, all for a mere $30.
As ferocious as these openers were, the evening belonged to one band…Fall Out Boy. When the lights dimmed, there was an enormous draping covering the stage as drummer Andy Hurley teased the audience with the beat of “Sugar We’re Going Down”. As the drape dropped, it was as if 13,000 simultaneously raised their arms, hands, hearts and voices to the air. The sight I witnessed was inexpressible; I could feel the chills go down my spine. Even if you don’t approve of this band or its talent, one must marvel at the glorious visceral power of witnessing a band whose command was so physically powerful that everyone from the general admission floor to the person in the top row of the balcony surging their voices, arms and hearts right back to the band for an evening that was all about elevation and escapism.
It’s one thing to come out and leave a pint of blood on the stage, but it’s another to dazzle the audience’s visual senses. Behind the band, an animated video based upon “Where The Wild Things Are” found the band taking a journey while accompanying the music on-stage. “The Carpal Tunnel of Love” found a comical animated video that was too good, as it kept my eyes off the stage. From that moment forward, I tried to keep my eyes on the four band members as they were the true show despite having one of the best stage shows I’ve ever seen. This band has a physical intensity that matches the subject matter of their songs. Bassist Pete Wentz was jumping and flying across the stage like a superhero and even though he is the primary songwriter, the other three members are catalysts for his inspiration. He needs Patrick Stump to convey the poetic message with his poignant voice, Joe Trohman’s guitar to drive the songs and the syncopated stinging swing of drummer Andy Hurley to bring everything full circle.
“Grand Theft Autumn” and “Homesick At Spacecamp” from the band’s 2003 album Take This To Your Grave were as well received as the bands best known songs. This isn’t a band living off their platinum glories but embracing their past and the channeling of emotions through their instruments made these songs highlights. I’ve made the mistake of overlooking this album, but I’ll need to delve deeper into this one because the performance and the audience reaction was otherworldly. Many in the crowd have been following this band since their club days and they were rewarded accordingly. Each song felt like an old friend with perfectly ebullient hand clapping pop hooks that no one can touch. “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” (produced by the mighty Butch Walker), "Thnks fr th Mmrs" and “The Take Over, The Breaks Over” were all brisk and biting as the audience held onto every last note. Each of these tracks, from Infinity On High, proves that this album may be the band’s bravest and best effort to date.
When you peel away your preconceived notions about this band, you can delve into how multifaceted their lyrics truly are. One song in particular stood out providing me with a watershed moment. “Hum Hallelujah” is the type of song children of the 60’s and 70’s would have found solace in the corners of their rooms as the needle creased that 12-inch vinyl and their static-filled headphones penetrated their ears. Songs like these lead to intellectual realizations that define one’s life. We find ourselves vulnerable and overcome with life’s obstacles but somehow, a voice reaches out from the distance that provides a cathartic moment and makes life not just easier for the time being, but more joyous to live in. I watched the aggressive and fanatic crowd hoist themselves en mass as they ebbed and churned against one another during this song not because they were fighting for space but because they were unleashing their sorrow, pain and embracing the joy that not just music, but life can bring. Seeing this made me feel alive in the same way when I first saw Eddie Vedder ascend head first into a crowd fifteen years ago.
In the last few months, I have written articles on artists who have contradicted themselves so often, I have attempted to steer them back in the right direction in hopes they will see the light. I have criticized artists on everything from ticket prices to how they handle GA to the length of their shows. I am happy to say that I do not have a single aspect of the Fall Out Boy concert to criticize because they did not just meet my expectations, but exceeded each and every one of them. They fully realize the value of a fan while comprehending and understanding that long-term careers are built through word of mouth, winning over fans one person at a time and treating them with respect. They are following the blueprint for longevity to a T and are so logically sound that one wonders why others don’t follow their lead.
So you need them just to get by
Link to antiMusic Biz Article
Fall Out Boy Music on Amazon.com
Fall Out Boy Wegpage
Fall Out Boy Myspace Page
Sugar We're Goin' Down
Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song...
Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy)
I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy...
Homesick at Spacecamp
A Little Less Sixteen Candles...
The Carpal Tunnel of Love
Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?
I'm Like A Lawyer...(Me & You)
Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner
The Take Over, The Break's Over
Mr. Brightside (The Killers Cover)
This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race
Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
The (After) Life Of The Party
One and Only