On the 20th March, London’s Wembley Stadium, a mean feat for any artist, played host to American Pop-Rockers, Fall Out Boy. Since 2003 and the launch of the first studio album, Fall Out Boy have had ever-increasing musical success, and as such have accrued fans over the last eleven years that, judging from the crowd, ranged from young teenagers to middle aged adults. Fall Out Boy shirts and hoodies could be spotted all throughout London; dedicated fans had swarmed to Wembley for the event.
Before Fall Out Boy graced the stadium, The Pretty Reckless took to the stage to support both the band and their newest album, Going To Hell. Despite being significantly heavier than the headlining band, the crowd get passionately involved in the set, with a large portion singing to every word. Taylor Momsen, former actress who has found true passion in the form of her music, exerts a throaty, gravelly yet powerful singing voice, certainly impressive for her tiny size. Over their eight-track set list, the band demonstrate extensive musical and vocal talent, particularly from guitarist Ben Phillips who delivers impressive guitar skills with frequent intricate solos throughout the set combined with backing vocals that compliment Momsen’s perfectly. Ending the set with their debut single “Make Me Wanna Die” followed by the band’s latest single “Going To Hell” (below), The Pretty Reckless left the crowd were animated and ready for the headlining set.
With Fall Out Boy arriving a few minutes later than the stage times suggested, the stadium was tense with anticipation. The band finally arrived on the barely lit stage dressed entirely in black and donning balaclavas in keeping with their cinematic side of their newest album. Lead singer Patrick Stump tells the crowd to “put on your war paint” and the stadium erupts into “The Pheonix”, the first track from their newest album Save Rock and Roll.
With their 5-album strong repertoire, the 20-tack set list consisted primarily of the bands numerous singles stretching across their entire career from their second single “Grand Theft Autumn” to their latest single, “Young Volcanoes”. The stage has elevated walk ways that the band uses throughout the show, as well as large screen that projects sections of videos, images, and even lyrics. This is particularly effective during “This Ain’t A Scene It’s An Arms Race”, in which each chorus lyric flashes up, rallying the crowd into the loudest chanting of the entire night. The Chicago-grown boys have certainly developed since earlier days, with previous shows being unable to benefit from such a stage set up.
Lead vocals from Patrick Stump are pitch-perfect throughout the entire performance. His unique, soulful voice that holds the sound of Fall Out Boy together is as strong as his high studio-standard, and at time even outshines his recorded efforts with elongated notes that enhance each song. This is particularly noticeable during their latest single, “Save Rock and Roll”, with vocally powerful choruses, brilliantly complimented by keyboard playing, another of the singer’s talents.
Guitarist Joe Trohman, who in much earlier Fall Out Boy years had been criticised for substandard skills a musician, proved himself to be truly talented during guitar solos throughout the set, including the impressive solo during the band’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, originally recorded by John Mayer. Following this performance, the band disappear from the stage briefly to reappear on a smaller stage (minus their drummer) in the centre of the crowd where they perform three acoustic songs: “Sophomore Slump”, Infinity on High single “Me and You”, and finally Take This To Your Grave favourite “Grand Theft Autumn”. Each song benefits from an acoustic rendition, and the crowd enjoys a break from the fast-paced nature of the show before the lights return to the main stage to highlight the drums.
Drummer Andy Hurley, obscured behind drums for the majority of the set, takes the spotlight to perform a loud and fast paced solo, demonstrating his musical talents into “Dance Dance”, a fan favourite from the band’s second album, lead by bass-work from Wentz.
In atypical fashion to most bands, bassist Pete Wentz acts as front man, talking to the crowd, introducing most songs, and even setting off a Mexican wave. A highlight of the night includes their performance of “Just One Yesterday”, in which Wentz encourages the crowd to shine their mobile phone lights – it lacks the charm of the classic cigarette lighter, but looks pretty all the same. Lead singer Patrick Stump, who appears considerably less confident than Wentz, first speaks midway through the set despite demonstrating flawless vocals throughout. Fans are clearly elated during any time Wentz addresses the crowd, with screams and cheers that have followed Wentz throughout his career as Fall Out Boy’s ‘main man’. He provides screaming vocals on their recorded works, but the appearance of a crew member screaming into a microphone over Wentz during these songs suggests that Wentz lacks the ability to perform vocally live. The infrequency of these screams, however, mean that this does not take away from the quality of their live performance.
After performing the lead single from new album Save Rock and Roll “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” (below), the band temporarily disappear back stage, only to return for a much-expected encore, with the title track of the new album as well as “Thnks fr the Mmrs”.
The show comes to a close with debut-album track “Saturday”, both a fan and band favourite, typically the close to each of their shows, and the fans know it, putting all of their energy into the bands last offering for the night. As the band vacated the stage, the crowd were crying for one last encore, craving more. There is no doubt that the band’s hiatus did their recorded or live performances any damage; they are better than ever.
Review by Sophie Weller