It’s already approaching five years since the announcement of Illinois four-piece Fall Out Boy’s hiatus, with a lot of people having assumed at the time that it was all over for the Patrick Stump-fronted group. However, all that changed when just over a year ago the band resurfaced with a brand new record, titled Save Rock and Roll. The album, their 5th, was written and recorded in and amongst tons of secrecy with no one having expected their sudden return. On Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy reinvented themselves totally, incorporating pop elements into their strong punk rock sound. Last night, Fall Out Boy took to the stage at the 5,000-capacity Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam together with support from The Pretty Reckless.
The Pretty Reckless, fronted by Taylor Momsen, took to the stage just after 7:30pm, performing songs such as Make Me Wanna Die and Miss Nothing from their 2010 debut album Light Me Up, as well as songs from their upcoming sophomore release Going to Hell, including the title track, Follow Me Down and set highlight Sweet Things. Taylor Momsen is a frontwoman who knows how to work a crowd and engage with them, yet the only issue with this band is that the rest of the members (Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins) are quite static onstage. On one hand this enhances the focus on Momsen, yet on the other hand it would be nice to see the other performers engage more with the crowd too. All in all it was a great set, and this band could be well on their way to success in the future.
After this, the wait for Fall Out Boy had properly begun. For most fans, this is the most excruciating wait (especially if the band shows up late), yet also the most worthy one. A short 30 minutes later, after pre-show music which consisted of everything from Dutch electro house to Arcade Fire, the lights went out and the large white curtain onstage fell to the ground as the balaclava-clad members of Fall Out Boy kicked off with The Phoenix. Opening with flourishing strings and a chant of “put on your warpaint”, the band were surrounded by an elaborate stage set-up and intricate lighting. Once the powerful chorus kicked in, the whole floor was shaking as the crowd went mad. “I’m gonna change you, like a remix, then I’ll raise you, like a phoenix” states Stump in the chorus, seemingly referring to the great stylistic change the band went through post-hiatus. After this strong opener, there was no time to stop as the band went straight into I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me, an older classic with a big punky chorus and screamed vocals. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me” followed, encompassing another big chorus and that typical early Fall Out Boy sound which is seldom heard on Save Rock and Roll. The first big highlight of the night followed, in the shape of This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race from 2007 album Infinity On High. An energy packed chorus ensured the eruption of moshpits where bodies flew around at full-on speed, before the sing-a-long breakdown got everyone’s hands in the air. Newer single Alone Together followed, with its pop-based melody and chant of “let’s be alone together”. It was followed by an extended guitar solo from guitarist Joe Trohman, before the band rejoined him for Thriller and Death Valley. The former is slow-burner, with the latter being more upbeat and punchy. Sugar, We’re Going Down was next, sparking lots of screams from the predominantly female crowd. As with Thriller, it’s more of a slow-burner with a big, sing-a-long chorus and epic-sounding solo. Regardless of the song played, Fall Out Boy are masters of crowd engagement and energy, jumping and running around stage on a constant basis. Up next was a cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, which was given a harder, punkier sound courtesy of the distorted main riff and heavy chorus. Young Volcanoes closed the first part of the main set, once again encompassing poppier elements akin to bands like Fun and Train, which are a whole world away from the pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy.
Suddenly, all the lights went out as a pre-recorded monologue played over the speakers, with the crowd wondering what was going on. After a few minutes of waiting and wondering, the band (minus drummer Andy Hurley) showed up on an acoustic stage in front of the sound desk to perform two stripped down numbers. The first of these was I’m Like A Lawyer with The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You), during which the whole crowd lit up the venue with their phones and lighters. It was followed by Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy which slowed down the pace even more before Stump, Trohman and bassist Pete Wentz left the mini stage. As the crowd waited, drummer Andy Hurley took to his kit for a drum solo, which segued into the band returning on stage for Dance, Dance, one of the bands breakthrough hits. Once again, moshpits erupted during the power-packed chorus with the crowd singing at the top of their lungs before Just One Yesterday slowed down the pace a little. Early hit I Don’t Care followed, with its signature riff and “whoo’s” bringing the show back up to speed with another powerful and energetic chorus, before Stump got the crowd to sing back to him. Following this, Wentz gave a speech to the crowd about the future of rock and roll, stating that it’ll never die and that members of the next big rock bands were in that very crowd. The band proceeded to close the main set with comeback single My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up), with its mesmerising lighting and massive chorus concluding in loud chants from the crowd as the band left the stage.
As the wait went on for the band to resurface, a piano appeared atop the runway which stretched around the back of the stage, before Stump took his place there for the title track of their 2013 album Save Rock and Roll. He politely asked the crowd to light the room up yet again, with Save Rock and Roll (featuring Elton John on the record) being the big, wave-your-hands-in-the-air ballad of the night, with a goosebump-inducing key change towards the end. It was the most emotional moment of the night, with massive hit Thnks fr th Mmrs following with the biggest cheer of the night before Take This To Your Grave’s Saturday closed the whole show. This and Thnks fr the Mmrs ensured the show ended on a high note, with the band swiftly leaving the stage whilst throwing various picks and drumsticks into the crowd.
The show was definitely a successful one, and with Fall Out Boy having reinvented themselves last year it made for an even more entertaining set with so many different high-points and not a single low-point. If there’s one band who can Save Rock and Roll, it’s Fall Out Boy.