I’ve been watching a TV show called Arrow, a TV adaptation of Marvel’s Green Arrow, which is about a guy who was stranded on an island for five years and then returns to assume the role of a hooded vigilante who fights crime. In the latest episode the main character asked his date “Is Fall Out Boy still cool?” and she replies “They broke up, and never.” The writers apparently aren’t up to speed (and their taste in music is debatable). But how could they be? It’s not even three weeks since Fall Out Boy announced they’d come of hiatus, released a new single, announced a new album and a few intimate club shows. Tickets for all three American and all three European shows (London, Paris, Berlin) sold out within seconds and I was lucky enough to get my hands on them without paying a fortune on ebay or some rip-off reseller website (yes, I’m looking at you, vianogo).
Fall Out Boy played at Bi Nuu, a venue with a 400 people capacity better known for indie and pop music. I had seen them before twice, one time in 2008 at Huxley’s and then in 2009 at Columbiahalle, just before they went on indefinite hiatus. In the three years that have passed all four members were busy working on solo and side-projects, some more successful, some less. I am glad that they have decided to make new music and save rock and roll (the ironic title of their forthcoming album).
When I got to the venue I was surprised to find people struggling to sell leftover tickets. Apparently all those people desperately searching for tickets on the internet didn’t show up and try to buy one outside the venue. But then again people from all over Germany wanted to see the band and not everyone would come to Berlin hoping against hope to get their hands on an extra ticket.
I had feared that I would feel very old at this show and of course your screaming teenager girls were already in the front row burning up with excitement. But on the whole the crowd was very mixed with regard to both age and gender. I even spotted Berlin-based singer-songwriter Luke Leighfield in the crowd.
Despite what the tickets said there was no support act. Fall Out Boy took the stage at 8:30 to the sound of the intro of Thriller from their 2007 album Infinity on High. When the band struck the first notes the room went berserk. I was in the middle of the room and all of a sudden everyone pushed forward and I got sucked right in. I find myself in a huge mosh pit at the front and I knew this was going to be a night to remember. This was like seeing Fall Out Boy before they got big and when most of their fans were male.
The band looked different from when I’d last seen them three years ago, a lot more mature. They’re probably getting too old for all this pop-punk and emo business. Pete Wentz has dropped the emo look for a natural grown jewfro and a sweater while drummer Andy Hurley had also cut his hair. Only guitarist Joe Trohman still looked very much the same. It was Patrick Stump who had the most obvious makeover. While I really didn’t like Patrick Stump’s solo record at all, his solo career has done him good. The guy lost a lot of weight and apparently invested in some new hair. All of that boosted his confidence considerably which reflects well on his performance. While I remember him as a chubby guy with big sideburns hiding under a clandestine cab and leaving all the frontmanship to Pete Wentz, he seemed a lot more confident and outgoing. He engaged a lot more with the crowd and even did most of the talking. All in all, the band seemed a lot more mature, visually and musically (after all they’re all in their late 20s to early 30s), a fact that also reflects on their latest single.
Fall Out Boy had the same setlist as on their other intimate shows, a great mix of their hits and lesser played songs. As I had expected none of the little girls new any of the songs that predated From Under The Cork Tree, the album that was their commercial breakthrough. They played many songs from that album while they played only two from their latest Folie a Deux. In about the middle of the set they played a medley of songs such as Alpha Dog, Honorable Mention, and Lake Effect Kid.
I was mostly excited about old tracks such as Calm Before The Storm, Where Is Your Boy Tonight or Dead On Arrival which they hadn’t played live when I saw them previously.
Fall Out Boy saved the best for last and ended the main set with Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down before returning for a three song encore. The last song was Saturday, their usual closer, to which Pete Wentz stage dived for his shouting part.
Once the band had exited for good I was half deaf despite my earplugs but also a very happy camper. Good thing I bought a shirt from the merch desk because my Polar Bear Club was drained in a mix of sweat and beer. Outside my inner fangirl got the better of me and I waited for the duration of a large beer to get Patrick Stump’s autograph (btw they guy is really short).
Kudos to everyone who worked at Bi Nuu that night, everything was very well organised, even the cloak room queue was bearable.
After all I believe this was a once in a lifetime chance, one of those “I was there” concerts. I have no doubt Fall Out Boy will be back before long (their album will be released in April, a full US tour will take place in June) but then it will probably be Columbiahalle again, more fangirls and less moshpit.