Music Critic Ash Sutton reviews Fall Out Boy in Birmingham, applauding the impressive set design and the band’s musical talent
Hallow’s Eve and I finally managed to tick seeing the third and final of my favourite bands from my childhood emo phase live. Fall Out Boy are an American punk rock band who arguably peaked in the early noughties, yet are one of very few bands of their sort that are still wildly popular today. Spending their Halloween in the Utilita Arena, Fall Out Boy put on one of the best gigs I have ever seen to promote their new album So Much (For) Stardust.
With it being Halloween, the atmosphere even before the music started was incredible. We were welcomed into the stadium to a montage of horror movies playing on the big screens beside the stage, and while this is not my thing at all, the effort put into embracing the spirit of Halloween was admirable. A lot of people in the pit dressed up too, I counted three Cowboy Barbies, the entirety of Mystery Inc. and an awful lot of Mario and Luigi’s. The costumes continued on stage, with the support act PVRIS performing their entire set dressed as the elderly, the lead singer being wheeled out in a wheelchair, laughing through their first song. Fall Out Boy themselves all came out in costume too, our lead singer Patrick Stump as Beetlejuice and the lead guitarist Pete Wentz as Jesus? A ghost? An angel?
The band came on stage to the first single of their new album ‘Love From The Other Side’. I adore a live performance where the guitars are loud and you can feel the drums through the floor, this was exactly that, and it set the precedent for the rest of the night. Stump’s vocals were perfection the entire way through the show, and the band were equally as talented, though the solo part in the middle of the set where Stump sat at a piano and played ‘Golden’ and ‘I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Trying to Get You Off’, both songs I didn’t know, but led into a cover of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ where the band joined the singer back on stage in a new set of Halloween costumes.
The set design and props were big and bold, and in my opinion made the show. The boys came out on stage to a basic red curtain back drop, but as the show went on we dived into the sea, we went to the forest and saw a tree that looked like an owl (which was a physical set piece rather than just a projection) and were joined by the head of a giant dobermann. The front-of-stage screen also reflected an ode to each album cover through the first part of the set before it was replaced with a magic 8 ball that decided the set list for part of the show. Pete Wentz’s guitar was also a flamethrower, there were confetti cannons, and fire balls, and a giant bubble gun. The vibe was unbeatable.
Of course, nothing is perfect. While there was a good mix between old classics and new songs, there was a good portion I didn’t know at all. Unlike every other show I’d been to, nobody in the stands stood and danced besides the couple who were sat in the row in front of me, who even then only stood for the songs they really liked. My biggest qualm of the night was the lack of Coffee and Brownies stand in the Arena Bowl that I tried just the Saturday before and had been looking forward to the entire day!
As this tour marks their first since their 20th Anniversary, I worry if Fall Out Boy are reaching their end of music making days, or if they will continue until they are old, and their stage presence remains as infatuating as it was when they were first formed and join the likes of The Foo Fighters and The Rolling Stones in their legendary. If this does turn out to be one of the last, to say they would be going out with a bang wouldn’t even start to describe how good the So Much (For) Stardust Tour was.
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