I’ve read a few reviews of Fall Out Boy’s gig at the Glasgow Hydro, the last date of their European tour. While all the reviews are reasonably fair, I have come to one conclusion: they just don’t get it. This misunderstanding isn’t just limited to the various reviewers floating within the dubiously literate space that is the blogosphere, even national newspapers are coming out with gloriously unrelated and unsubstantiated claims. These range from calling ‘This Ain’t a Scene’ the band’s signature tune, to bringing up an issue with the way the set was arranged, with some flat out saying the band chose the wrong songs.
To these people I must ask, were you even there?
Having relentlessly refreshed three different ticket websites on the morning of the ticket release, until the nine o’clock alarm bell went off and I hyperventilated my way to securing standing tickets for me and two friends, having queued for five hours in the rain and cold with the flu and a fever, and then somehow worming my way to three rows from the front, I’d hazard a guess that other reviewers weren’t quite as committed as I was.
Opening with the deep rumbles of the ‘The Phoenix’, the set was electric from the beginning. I lost my handmade sign within minutes, but didn’t notice until the third song as the moshing was so intense. I say moshing, but it was more of a weighted shove, by the entire crowd, as every pre-pubescent female surged for the stage, to the extent that bassist Pete Wentz ordered everyone to take a step back, and implied we should all take a deep breath and calm down. It was heartening to hear two songs back to back from ‘Under the Cork Tree’, one of the band’s golden oldie records from their adolescent days, mixed in with crackers from the new album, and everything in between. The band made full use of their creative environment – the screens either side of the stage were made full use of the whole time, and the boys creatively used the lights on the camera phones of the fans to light up the whole stadium at one point. Their cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, notably featured on their most slated album ‘Folie a Deux’, highlighted the extent of their progress – whilst guitarist Joe Trohman was, according to my inside sources, formerly unable to play the solo to ‘Beat It’ live, he hit all the right notes this time round.
Lead vocalist Patrick Stump (swoon) had also notably upped his live performance game, as the cringeworthy 2008 live DVD ‘Live In Phoenix’ can prove when compared to his vocals during the sneaky acoustic set Fall Out Boy managed to pull off at the Hydro. While an old Iggy Pop interview played on the main screens, the band rushed back to the standing area to play three of their oldest songs, including the glorious ‘Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy’, creating a lapse in time, whereby the audience was led to believe they were privy to the early, intimate gigs of the days of Fall Out Boy yore. This was loudly, yet pleasantly, interrupted by Andy Hurley’s drum solo. This was crucial to securing both the old and new fans, where both sides of Fall Out Boy were showcased – their harder, rockier image side by side with their 18-year-old selves’ love songs.
The rest of the set held the crowd as fascinated and entertained as the beginning of the gig had. The fans were mesmerised by the band until the very end. Had the kinetic energy been harnessed from the forward movement when Pete Wentz appeared in reaching distance, it would have been enough to power the homes of hundreds of whiny WordPress reviewers. I think this unfailing passion for the band – no matter if the songs were old or new, if they were fast, slow, acoustic, or like the final song of the evening, ‘Saturday’, written to mosh to – says much more about Fall Out Boy than any of their reviewers can. With fans this dedicated, they must be doing something right. More than just being gorgeous, that is.