Prior to the start of the bands fall tour in support of its forthcoming album, Mania, Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz said the band intended to take full advantage of the arenas it would play.
That was certainly the case last night at the Q where it opened the tour. Playing on a stage that included a catwalk that ran the length of the floor to a satellite stage at the opposite end of main stage, the band also made use of a large high definition video screen and regularly shot off fireworks and enormous bursts of flames in delivering a 22-song set in front of a crowd that filled about three-fourths of the arena.
The band began the show with a bang literally as fireworks exploded while the band ripped into The Phoenix. Then, images of lush forests showed on the giant video screen while the band played Irresistible, a song that benefited from some pounding drums. Shirtless drummer Andy Hurley, in fact, acted like the engine that powered the show. He regularly hammered at his kit with intensity throughout the set, driving the songs and giving them real gravitas.
Sugar, Were Goin Down also featured fireworks; with its upper-register vocals and clashing cymbals, Alone Together came off as a shimmering pop anthem. Its soft backing vocals gave it a real tenderness. An animated video accompanied American Beauty/American Psycho, and Save Rock N Roll, a good old-fashioned power ballad that singer-guitarist Patrick Stump performed on piano, represented a nice change of pace. Wentz introduced the frenetic Last of the Real Ones as a tune about meeting someone and falling for them because their flaws match yours.
Stump adopted a bluesy wail for Young and Menace, which he performed solo on piano. The stripped down rendition of the tune worked perfectly.
The band then made its way to a b-stage at the opposite end of the area. Hurley kicked off that segment of the show with a drum solo that featured a slew of samples (including the vigorous woo-hoo refrain from Blurs Song 2") as the stage rose into the rafters. His solo segued into a particularly noisy rendition of Dance, Dance. Stumps vocals seemed to cut out a bit on Expensive Mistakes, a new tune the band had never played live. In fact, if Stump seemed rather tentative for the entire performance, its because he probably was. He confessed to the crowd that he had missed a week of rehearsal due to a family emergency.
The band returned to the main stage for a loose, punk rock rendition of I Dont Care that was accompanied by a video of celebrities flipping the bird. A vigorous mid-song jam distinguished Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy, a song that began with an a cappella intro, and Champion, another new track, didnt soar as Stumps voice sounded thin and the backing vocals seemed off. Prior to playing it, Wentz apologized that Manias release was pushed back to 2018. We dont want to put anything out if its not our fuckin best work, he explained. The album has already yielded three singles so perhaps hes being his own worst critic.
The three-song encore began with Uma Thurman, an infectious song that featured a twang-y guitar riff and footage of the actress, one of our favorites, in films such as Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction.
Given that it was the first date of the tour, the show wasnt without its glitches. Band members didnt seem to quite know what to do with the catwalk. Guitarist Joe Trohman and Wentz randomly ran the length of it as spotters with mic stands awkwardly tried to follow them. The show certainly wouldnt win any awards for its choreography. At one point, Stump even remarked that it was a long walk back to the stage after performing on the satellite stage and attempting to catch his breath. A shorter catwalk might be in order.
Blackbear opened with a 30-minute set of hip-hop inflected tunes that regularly featured jazzy jams. Frontman Matthew Tyler Musto had a mushy-mouthed delivery that too often made it difficult to discern the songs lyrics. But his talented four-piece band still managed to bring the tunes to life. - Jeff Niesel