Since being announced as Reading and Leeds Festival headliners it became apparent that Fall Out Boy have something to prove. With their new album, Mania, now the best selling album of 2018 so far they set their sights on the live title with a UK arena tour, culminating at London’s O2 Arena.
New York’s Against The Current were the night’s main support, adding Fall Out Boy to their impressive list of support slots in the UK (already featuring the likes of All Time Low and Good Charlotte).
Vocalist Chrissy Costanza has a distinctly impressive voice and the bands new material harbours a few interesting sounds but generally it feels like too much of a polished performance.
That being said, Against The Current have an incredibly dedicated fan base already and their sounds progression is evident – with a few imperfections they could be perfect.
The arena’s lights went down, a countdown appeared on the big screen, and my friend screamed in a frenzy that there was indeed a countdown on the screen. This was the high octane start to the gig of the year, a feeling that didn’t subside until long, long, long after we left the venue.
True to form the night started with the perfect opener, 2013’s The Phoenix. Although the night was drenched in purple with llama’s…just everywhere…Fall Out Boy paid due care and attention to the six albums that earnt them their crown as Kings of the scene.
Fall Out Boy’s seventh album, Mania, was released earlier this year and has now become the best selling album of 2018 so far. Critically it hasn’t held up against their previous albums but those were, frankly, clown sized shoes to fill.
Tonight the new tracks magically fit in to the set perfectly. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea was introduced with a typical Pete-Wentz-Speech and sounded just as classic as the rest of their discography – as did The Last of the Real Ones and Wilson (Expensive Mistakes).
As in Brixton in January, Patrick Stump took ownership of the stage with just a piano for a particularly remarkable version of Young and Menace – a creative decision that would have completely escaped every other band in the world.
Tonight not one single corner of the O2 Arena was left out. Utilising the space, and what must have been a hefty budget, Fall Out Boy took to two huge platforms towards the back of the arena.
Whilst waiting for three-quarters of the band to catch him up, drummer Andy Hurley knocked out a jaw dropping drum solo paying homage to the various genres that influence Fall Out Boy’s style.
Those surprised were perhaps wrong to be, do you remember that time when Andy Hurley started a hardcore band? Hurley might have spent a lot of his FOB career being sadly outdone by some of his soul warbling or pop-princess-marrying bandmates but it’s obvious tonight that he has been sorely underrated.
That in itself would have been enough to keep the back stalls ecstatic but in a flash those platforms started to rise up to the ceiling so that even the top tier, noose-bleed, seats were getting up close and personal with Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz.
If you’re thinking that they saved some low-point songs for this part of the set then you are hideously mistaken. Firstly, there was no low-point to this set – it was high energy, high excitement the entire damn time.
Secondly, those platforms saw none other than Dance, Dance, Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) and Thnks fr th Mmrs. It can almost be considered an incredibly generous offering to the back seats.
You would think the floating platforms, complete with Pete-and-Patrick hugging harnesses and four sides worth of digital screens, would have been the most expensive part of this tour but it’s safe to suspect that the royalties forked out for their big screen features somewhat outweighed them.
Footage from Disney’s Big Hero 6 (which featured FOB’s song Immortals), every Quentin Tarantino film that Uma Thurman has ever starred in, every film that has ever featured a middle finger and a cascade of Apple’s Emojis almost certainly racked up a huge bill.
Somehow, all of that material was overshadowed. Twitter has been inundated with one simple question: Why did Fall Out Boy use footage of the life, death and funeral of Princess Diana during their UK arena tour?
It’s a question that has been posed in many different ways, and in a whole array of tones. Some have just been confused, unable to see the logic behind the decision. Others are actively irate, and perhaps understandably so.
The answer certainly isn’t within the song that this footage was played – Champion. It’s a great song and about as powerful as Fall Out Boy get. But the lyrics hardly mirror the story of Princess Diana:
If I can live through this, if I can live through this. If I can live through this, I can do anything.
A very bizarre decision indeed.
But what it did do was heighten the emotions of the night and highlight that Fall Out Boy have reached peak “not giving a fuck” status.
After their intimate set at Brixton Electric at the beginning of the year, it seemed hard to imagine that anything could get better.
This was the gig of 2018.
FALL OUT BOY BRING THE MANIA TOUR TO PARTS OF EUROPE AND ASIA BEFORE RETURNING TO THE UK TO HEADLINE READING AND LEEDS FESTIVAL 2018.