I wouldn't say I had doubts about Fall Out Boy's return from hiatus. Everything the band has done leading up to and past this past Monday had been thoroughly planned and executed perfectly. The new song shot up the iTunes' charts. AbsolutePunk.net cannot stop talking about it. It was all my friends over in the Buzznet office could talk about all week. Yet, I couldn't help but feel a little nervousness minutes away from Fall Out Boy hitting the stage at the Roxy in Los Angeles for their third show this week since the announcement. A lot has changed since 2009 - my taste and interests have dramatically changed since Folie a Deux released in late 2008. So I anxiously held my breath as the lights dimmed and the Jay-Z spoken word intro began playing over the speakers. How would I react? Would nostalgia run through my veins? Or would I be that cynical dude now? Have I moved on? Welcome.....it's here...
And then the band paused, as if to look at me and say "c'mon dude, you know you're gonna love this." And during that pregnant pause my nervousness turned into anticipation as I watched Fall Out Boy ripped into "Thriller" and Pete Wentz jumped into the pit to begin one of the best sets of their career.
They kept the rowdiness up with two fan favorites from From Under The Cork Tree: the raucous "I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" and "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More 'Touch Me.'" I haven't seen the band play live since the Nintendo Fusion Tour in 2005, so finally seeing songs like "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" and "Hum Hallelujah" performed was really cool; crowd participation was a must during the former, as Stump moved back and forth like a feverish preacher. I felt 17 again as I jumped and climbed my way up the backs of the audience members in front of me during "'Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today '" and "Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy)" - something my 27-year old body might regret tomorrow once it has to get out of bed. Regardless, I had to trick my body into thinking it was 2003 one more time during the colossal triple-knockout encore that included "Homesick at Space Camp," "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs," and the undisputed champion of FOB show closers - "Saturday."
But the thing I kept noticing throughout the night was how much better Fall Out Boy had become as performers. Now, this was my first time seeing the band in almost 8 years but other fans who saw the band live right before the hiatus were telling me after the show about how much the band has improved. It was obvious throughout, especially during the cathartic "What a Catch, Donnie" and the frantic medley that transitioned to and from songs from different eras of the band seamlessly. A fun moment occurred during "Sugar, We're Goin Down," as the group of people I was with catapulted a girl wearing a red shirt up onto the crowd to surf her way up the stage. Turns out that was Cassadee Pope, who joined the band on stage to sing the final hook of the song.
The moment I realized that this is all bigger than a comeback was a moment that once again reaffirmed my my admiration and respect for the band. Patrick Stump told the audience that they didn't want to come back for the wrong reasons; that it had to be the right time and place for the four members of the band. He acknowledged that fans have been clamoring for a Take This To Your Grave 10th anniversary tour but that the band decided against that because they didn't want to take those songs and those memories and turn them into a commodity; it'd cheapen everything that you and I feel about that album. They could have easily taken the easiest route to huge paychecks but decided to once again challenge themselves as musicians. And with that the band launched into their latest single "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)" and within the first 10 seconds it was clear that the band made the right choice. They looked like a new band with something to prove up on that stage; reinvigorated and ready to take over our stereos once again - to save rock and roll. This is a band that isn't going through the motions, rather this is a band with its best material still ahead of them. This song is an absolute monster when played live - you can't truly appreciate its massiveness until you see it like this. This upcoming new album is something that Fall Out Boy 100% believes in; something that's gonna knock us all on our asses. Throughout the night this didn't seem like a band that had just played its first shows in over 3 years, which is a testament to the hard work and preparation Camp FOB put into all this.
So yeah, that nagging nervousness I had minutes before the show was dashed quicker than you can say "Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows)." There is no doubt in my mind that this is just the very beginning of Fall Out Boy's domination in 2013. We found a few more seats on the bandwagon, hop on before it's too late. Again.