Fall Out Boy are, of course, the American emo-rock-pop-punk band composed of Patrick Stump (vocals, guitars), Pete Wentz (bass, vocals), Joe Trohman (guitars) and Andy Hurley (drums). They’ve been to Manila twice before, the most recent back in 2009. On both occasions, the Araneta Coliseum was filled almost to capacity, mostly with a combination of prim and proper young ladies who reveal a hidden, angsty persona just for a night, and a smattering of neo-punk types, high school and college-aged students, young professionals who fancy themselves “edgy” and the occasional casual fans who don’t fit into the above archetypes. This time, the cast was pretty much the same. It was clear that while the band attracted a generally young crowd, the appeal cuts across gender and social class.
Concert organizers chose to do away with the chairs on the floor of the Big Dome. Bouncers have been pretty hardcore at the venue, restricting movement and, according to a friend, even forbidding people to stand up during a recent show. Concerts, by nature, should be an interactive experience, but a rock show like this one necessitated an even more freewheeling dynamic between performer and audience. Somehow, people sitting down just wouldn’t do. The downside, however, was that crowds who wanted to get as close as possible to the band jammed themselves as much as they could front and center. This led to the bouncers constantly fishing people, mostly women, out of the tight crowd. By my count no fewer than 20 ladies were “rescued” from the pit that evening.
Despite the unfortunate scenario, the show went on and the band delivered. Fall Out Boy have now released four studio albums, all well-received by their adoring fans. The show covered most of their hits, including kilometric-long titles like “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me,” “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me,” and “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” They also played songs from the new album called Save Rock and Roll, including “The Phoenix,” “Death Valley,” and “Young Volcanoes.” At the start of every song, it seemed the crowd expended almost the same level of intensity and enthusiasm, not really caring whether it was old or new. Stump was in good form, both vocally and relating to his new lean frame, while Wentz, the unmistakable hellraiser in the group, fired people up even more by running around the stage and sticking his tongue out every chance he got.
The regular set ended with “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up).” The band did the “encore dance,” but it wasn’t long before they came running back out to the deafening appreciation of the crowd. During “Save Rock and Roll,” the title track from the new album, the video wall flashed images of history’s greatest music stars—people like Lennon and McCartney, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Slash, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Axl Rose, Madonna and many more. While the album and song title may elicit a few raised eyebrows for its seemingly arrogant message, the tribute showed that it was quite the opposite. Stump and co. were actually tipping a hat off to the people who paved the way so bands like them could continue making music, entertaining and inspiring people the world over.
The band did three more songs, their cover of the Michael Jackson classic “Beat It,” the huge hit and rather jejemon-titled “Thnks fr the Mmrs” and the grand finale, “Saturday.” Perhaps it’s the snarky, relevant lyrics that hit a nerve in many young people’s hearts in songs like “Young Volcanoes” (“Come on, make it easy/Say I never mattered/Run it up the flagpole”) and “Save Rock and Roll” (“I cried tears you’ll never see/So f***k you/You can go cry an ocean and leave me be”); or maybe it’s simply the loud, throbbing rock beats that resonate with emotionally charged youths; maybe it’s even the band members’ good looks, particularly Wentz and the now-slimmed down Stump; whatever it is, it’s clear the songs of Fall Out Boy speak to a lot of people, including the thousands in the crowd that evening, in a deeper, more visceral level. And I’m very happy they got this opportunity to experience the artistry of their musical idols up close.
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