This week I attended what I’ve decided was the best concert I’ve ever gone to–Fall Out Boy. An Illinois based band fronted by Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy has released six albums of mostly all awesome music. I started falling in love with Fall Out Boy in between Save Rock and Roll and American Beauty/American Psycho, their two most recent albums, so around 2014. I peaked in my obsession in early 2015, when American Beauty/American Psycho came out. This album featured singles like “Centuries” and “Immortals”–those songs the radio overplayed all summer. As summer ended and I went back to school, Fall Out Boy got pushed to the back burner. It’s not that I didn’t like them, I was just listening to more chill music or discovering more bands. My obsession had moved on.
And then, my parents got me tickets to their concert for Christmas. I’ll admit, I was not as excited as I would’ve been six months before. It’s not that I wasn’t excited–I just knew that there were other bands that were coming to my city that I wanted to see more. But they seemed like good seats, and I did still consider myself a fan, so I summoned two of my best friends and on Tuesday, March 8th, we meandered down to Van Andel Arena.
I definitely got more excited once we were there. When you’re wearing band merch and all the people around you are wearing the same band merch and you’re about twelve rows away from part of the stage, the hype intensifies.
Now, this next part has nothing to do with music, but it was one of the best parts of the concert. After the two opening acts, Awolnation and Pvris, there was a good fifteen minutes of just chilling as the thousands of us collectively waited for the stage to be set. My friends and I both noticed that almost directly behind us were two large metal towers that guys were climbing. We didn’t pay much attention. A few minutes later, I pointed out that a curtain had fallen around the stage, glowing blue. Soon, white spotlights began forming shapes on the curtain. Along with conversing with my friends, I was studying these seemingly random lights. Seriously, I was staring at them for a while. I don’t know how it happened, but it seemed like the whole stadium realized what was going on at the same time. The people manning the spotlights were playing Atari! It was the one game with the balls, and the two paddles (?) that bounce the balls from either side of the “screen”. Simultaneously everyone understood, and screams and laughter filled the room.
Then, Fall Out Boy came on. And in the two to three hours that transpired then, I remembered why I fell in love with their music, and with the band. Every lyric is so meaningful, every band member so commanding of the stage, every stage so important to them. There’s something about being surrounded by people with flashlights in the air, it’s a bit like you’re in a jar full of fireflies. You know it won’t last but it’s so beautiful in those moments.
So many cool things happened during this concert, but I think one of the highlights was when they were performing “Save Rock And Roll”, an epic rock ballad and the title song of their fifth album, and also a dear favorite of one of my friends and I. On the album, the band sings with Elton John, which is sort of an ode to the classic, iconic rockers that influenced them, I think. But live, everyone seemed to know that just Fall Out Boy would be singing today. Which is what happened. But, throughout the whole song, the visual on the screen was a lightning bolt, and going into the last chorus, David Bowie’s face suddenly appeared, with the lightning bolt perfectly fitting his eye. It was such a cool moment, to see one of the biggest artists of today showing homage to one of the biggest artists of yesterday.
Pete Wentz also took a moment to say some pretty inspiring things to his rapt, relatively young audience. He spoke about following your dreams, about how people tell kids that things are impossible, when in reality, nothing is impossible. Everything was considered impossible until someone did it. And he also spoke a lot about working to achieve goals and how you might not accomplish them in the way you think you would. What an important message to tell today’s youth. I love this band, I love their music, I love their message, and their concert was a rockin’ time. Until next time, boys.
“Every day I can jump one inch higher, one inch higher, one inch higher, until I can dunk the basketball. Of course, some might say I’ll never dunk a basketball because I’m f***ing short. But then, I’d just tell them, that I’m dunking the basketball right now in Grand Rapids tonight.” -Pete Wentz