Live: FALL OUT BOY // The O2, London
America’s finest pop punk rockers Fall Out Boy took London’s O2 Arena to new heights with their M A N I A Tour.
Emerging via trapdoors onto the stage, Patrick, Pete, Joe and Andy carried the screaming crowds’ adoration through into tonight’s opening track, The Phoenix. The thumping drum beats were perfectly timed well with the flaming pyrotechnics that line the back of the stage, emphasising that Fall Out Boy are all for putting on a show to remember.
The stage is adorned with an impressive lighting rig as well as a huge video screen sitting nicely behind the flaming pyros. A giant runway extends almost to the back of the arena, and it plays a major part in the band’s engagement with the crowd throughout the night. The Phoenix was the perfect opener but Sugar, We’re Going Down brought new frenzy to those in the front rows as both Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz ventured out onto the runway, playing their guitar and bass side by side as more dazzling pyrotechnics went off around them. Despite the young looking crowd, the whole place was singing along word for word, proving that Fall Out Boy are a band that has withstood the test of time.
The whole night was a perfect mix of classic and new tracks. After “Sugar…” we were graced with 2015’s Immortals and Centuries both of which are perfectly at home in an arena like The O2, Patrick’s voice is just as powerful in person as it is on record and fills the whole room with ease. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea was the first song of the night from the new M A N I A album, its edgy industrial feel and electronic vibes go down incredibly well, much of the crowd already singing along proving that Fall Out Boy aren’t pop punk leftovers from the scene era, they are now Kings.
The crowd are given time to recuperate as the energy is taken down a notch, a grand piano is wheeled out on stage for Save Rock and Roll and again Patrick’s voice stole the moment singing both his and Elton John’s part of the duet flawlessly. The power ballad kept the crowd engaged with shouts of “No, No” before the song ended on even more of those pyros and bringing that energy back. The piano stays out for the next few songs, The Last Of The Real Ones which has got everyone dancing, the crowd was a sea of hands waving in the air while Young and Menace is another infusion of industrial electro beats but with an extended piano solo from Patrick. You would be forgiven for thinking these were old songs but alas, they are taken from the new album and the crowd are fully behind them.
The night had already exceeded many expectations, but suddenly drummer Andy Hurley emerges up through the floor in the centre of the runway where he treats the crowd to a drum solo before the rest of the band joins in. Guitarist Joe Trohman accompanies Andy on his platform while the two leading men Patrick and Pete emerge further down the runway on their own platform. As the familiar bars of Dance, Dance break the screams from the excitable crowd who after surging towards the platform are now within an arms reach of their musical heroes. The platform rises up in the air above the crowd, meaning that the band can engage with those who can easily feel alienated at the back of the venue. But this still wasn’t enough for Fall Out Boy, they wanted to make sure that they played to the whole arena, so during the next track Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) the platform rose even higher, it’s practically in the rafters. The upper tier of The O2 could bare witness to the full glory of Fall Out Boy. The classic Thnks fr th Mmrs saw the stage returning back to the ground with the crowd still unrelenting.
This has quite possibly been the best set list I have ever witnessed and it still isn’t over. I Don’t Care is accompanied on the large screen by famous movie clips of people raising the middle finger, a notion soon picked up by the enthusiastic crowd, whose voices still haven’t waned. This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race was worthy of being the song before the encore, the whole arena is united in fist pumping in the air singing so passionately before another new song is unleashed on them. Hold Me Tight Or Don’t has such a different feel to all the other songs of the night, it was like Fall Out Boy had brought a carnival to the stage.
Familiarity was soon back with Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy, a song that is incredibly 15 years old, but it still fits perfectly within the set list. Before the encore kicks in we are treated to a couple more new songs, the new fan favourite Church and the poignant Champion which featured clips of the late Princess Diana and the moments before and after that fatal car crash, including footage of the funeral, it was enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Fall Out Boy go into the encore thanking every single one of their fans for making their upcoming headline slot at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals possible. The stage erupts with more pyros before the lights drop and the chants from the crowd ring out for the band’s return.
Fall Out Boy have proven tonight that they are more than just a rock band. They perfectly blend old with the new and they can mix an assortment of genres from the obvious punk rock to pure sing along pop with a hint of industrial EDM thrown in. You can dance, you can mosh or you can shed a tear or two. The night is wrapped up with a handful of show stoppers, Thriller, Uma Thurman complete with an Uma Thurman montage on the big screen. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark was where you thought the night would end but they go and throw in another oldie, Saturday a shout out to their heavier punk origins. The night finally comes to an end with Pete Wentz unveiling an England football shirt from under his jacket before the arena is filled with confetti and all the pyros at full beans.
The show really could have gone on all night and no one would have cared, every song was worthy of comment and those who are at Reading or Leeds Festival will be in for rad treat, but in all honesty I don’t know how they could top tonight.
Photos: Rachel Prew