"Punk Rock will never leave you alone!"
Pete Wentz - Fall Out Boy's bassist/primary mouthpiece/purveyor of awkward screamed vocals - yelled the emphatic, if a little calculated line as the band launched into 'Alone Together', a track off their fifth and most recent album, Save Rock and Roll.
But leave us alone they did, and it was a cold, lonely four years of darkness indeed. This time, it was different: I wasn't watching in envy on YouTube as the band played for the lucky ones who caught 'em pre-hiatus. This was happening IRL, gurl. Fall Out Boy weren't only making music again, they were playing on our occasionally hazy shores (we remember, Indonesia).
I recall a time a couple years back, when the quartet had been on hiatus long enough for me to miss 'em, particularly given how their solo projects weren't really up my alley. I looked up their Wikipedia page and read the entire thing; the music, controversies, successes, struggles and eventual break-ation.
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I started watching the band's music videos one after another chronologically and I must say, by the time I got to 'What A Catch, Donnie, da feels were so overwhelming they manifested themselves into lil' drops of dew by my eyes. Okay, I teared up but after that I immediately made a manly chilli and ate it with my bare hands and then rubbed some into my eyes, so my "man-quotient" was not affected.
So you can understand my restlessness while waiting for FOB to take the stage. The opening act, Melbourne-based Empra were solid if underwhelming, though not lacking for in enthusiasm. They did their best for a crowd with eyes and ears set only for FOB and managed to warmup the somewhat tepid crowd of 4,000. The song 'Zoe Tay' was a nice touch and a special request from the Live! Empire crew.
The largely dormant crowd turned into a whole other creature once the self-proclaimed "Saviours of Rock and Roll" took to the stage to the screams of many teenaged girls (and myself). Launching right into 'Thriller', it was momentous just seeing the band strut their stuff on stage. From seeing guitarist Joe Trohman's parachute-shaped tresses threaten to give him whiplash as he spun round and round to Pete Wentz's incessant prowling of the stage. Vocalist Patrick Stump was impressive throughout, playing both rhythm guitar while never failing to hit all his notes with his trademark croon.
The whole band were completely in sync with each other and the good vibes translated into an even tighter performance. Drummer Andy Hurley, who played the entire set bare-chested ( I mistook his plethora of tattoos as a tee) was in prime form, playing a groovy drum solo after 'Young Volcanoes' and even shaking things up on 'Sugar, We're Goin Down' with a double bass kick on the final chorus which earned him a look of surprise then a cheeky smile from Stump.
FOB blasted through hits from each era of the band's musical progression, with fan favorites 'This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race', 'What a Catch, Donnie', 'Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy' and 'Dance, Dance' all being performed. Pete Wentz sure knew how to stir up the fans with an impassioned (read: rehearsed) monologue about why the band took a break and why they came back. Apparently, they wanted to know "where the f*ck are the anti-heroes?"
The band left the stage only to come back for a four-song encore, including a cover of Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'. And as the crowd sung along to the last song of the night, 'Saturday', I was left pondering the simple truths. Fall Out Boy, no matter how much Wentz would like us to believe, are no longer Punk Rock. They haven't been for a long time. But that's the thing about bands like these, they evolve, grow and move on… but they haven't forgotten their roots. Which is why, at the end of the day, all I need to say is, FOB, thanks for the memories. I'll be seeing you soon.