Fall Out Boy Roars Through 20 Years of Hits at Triumphant Hometown Chicago Show: Concert Review

Fall Out Boy

There are concerts, and there are events, and a hometown show in Chicago from a regrouped Fall Out Boy is definitely in the latter category, as evidenced by the line of people waiting outside in a light snow all day Wednesday to try to get inside the group’s sold-out show at the city’s long-running Metro nightclub.

“Each album is so different, no matter where I am in my life, there’s an album I can listen to and get what I need,” said Maddie Ozo, 23, of Chicago, who stood in the cold for six hours to try to get on a waiting list. She even has a leg tattoo that references one of the band’s song lyrics. “They’re just my favorite,” she explained.

The band is about to release its first album in five years and marked the occasion by returning to the famed club, down the street from Wrigley Field, which has served as an early homebase for every significant Chicago rock band on its way up since opening its doors in 1982. Walking up the club’s steps, said bassist Pete Wentz, remained a kind of a spiritual experience: “the closest our band has to church.”

Fall Out Boy first played Metro in September 2002, when it was emerging from the city’s punk scene. Lead singer and guitarist Patrick Stump gave those days a nod, saying he dropped out of college when the band achieved its goal of headlining Metro. He recalled how one early song, “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy,” was written on the streets of Roscoe Village, a neighborhood just a short walk away where he and Wentz once lived.

(Photo: Elliot Ingham)

The band’s 80-minute, 18-song set surveyed the band’s two decades and showed just how far it has come musically from early songs that featured crunchy guitars and call-and-response choruses with the crowd to more sophisticated arrangements and luminous pop hooks. That included “Heartbreak Feels So Good,” a song from the new album. While some programming augmented the sound, the song sailed upward due to Stump’s vocals which remain bright and soulful.

(Photo: Elliot Ingham)

In the band’s earliest days, Wentz tended to take up much of the spotlight, mostly due to his tabloid exploits offstage. Maybe it was the smaller stage, but Fall Out Boy felt more like a close-knit band with each member in balance to the other. The band, which includes drummer Andy Hurley, was without founding guitarist Joe Trohman, who announced last week he was sitting this year out due to his mental health, which “has rapidly deteriorated,” he said in social media posts; the band’s guitar tech substituted on Wednesday. Wentz told the audience he was proud of Trohman’s honesty and how he was removing the “stigma about it” — the group insists he will be returning.

Fall Out Boy proved they still could make a small club churn. Body surfers kept the club’s security busy all night, and that included Wentz who fell backward atop the audience during the first song and stood on the security barriers near the end. “One night and one more time/Thanks for the memories,” Stump sang while making more.

Setlist (via setlist.fm) :

(Photo: Elliot Ingham)

      .     Love From the Other Side(Public Live Debut)

      .     The Phoenix


      .     Sugar, We’re Goin Down


      .     Uma Thurman


      .     Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes


      .     Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy


      .     American Beauty/American Psycho


      .     Dance, Dance


      .     Hum Hallelujah


      .     A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”


      .     This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race


      .     Calm Before the Storm
(First Performance since 2007)

      .     My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)


      .     Heartbreak Feels So Good
(Live Debut)

      .     Chicago Is So Two Years Ago


      .     Thriller


      .     Thnks fr th Mmrs


      .     Centuries


      .     Saturday