Fresh off a three-year hiatus, Fall Out Boy took the stage at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York on Tuesday night, playing for a crowd of 300 to 400 near-rabid fans. The concert came as a total surprise after the band announced on Monday they would be touring to support a new album in May, released a new single and would kick it all off with three intimate shows in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles this week.
After three long years, the band actually seems to be having fun again. During a mostly tight 90-minute set, FOB plowed through a 25-song set list nearly identical to the one they played in Chicago on Monday, with frontman Patrick Stump again admitting he was struggling to remember all the lyrics to their songs.
It's a relief to see the boys back in good spirits, since the band's last album "Folie a Deux" touched so heavily on the theme of the perils of fame -- something the band's bassist and mouthpiece, Pete Wentz, is well-versed in. When FOB announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus in Novemeber 2009, Wentz told Kerrang! that he felt his high-profile relationship with Ashlee Simpson and his personal life had become a "hindrance for the band."
"I think the world needs a little less Pete Wentz. A lot of people think Fall Out Boy is me. But it's the four of us. I want to f--king vomit when I read intros that say, 'Pete Wentz: accidental internet poster boy.' It makes me feel ugly," he explained at the time.
Wentz has since divorced Simpson and managed to stay out of the headlines. Though certain circumstances have changed, fans can rest assured that Fall Out Boy has not forgotten how to play.
If anything, time has made them stronger. Stump seems to have only benefitted from his stint as a solo artist and now has more confidence than ever -- or he at least appears less likely to let Wentz do all the talking this time around.
More changes come in the form of the band's new obsession with rock and roll, which is fitting since their forthcoming album is titled "Save Rock and Roll." There is no denying their sound has changed over the years, but despite however many rappers FOB collaborates with, they're going to be hard pressed to lose their reputation as a solid pop punk band -- but they are dead set on trying (just don't tell that to the fans screaming "punk as f--k" over and over again.)
The years off also seem to have boosted the band's appreciation for their fans. When they weren't repeatedly asking the crowd to take a step back to keep from squishing those at the front, their entire stage banter consisted of Stump and Wentz showering the crowd with compliments and repeating how damn happy they were to be performing once again. The mood turned saccharine when Wentz implored the crowd to just remember "how perfect this moment is and how perfect you are right now," before launching into their biggest hit, "Sugar, We're Going Down."
After years of tabloid stories about the band's struggle with success and subsequent disappointments with side and solo projects, post-hiatus Fall Out Boy seems to have realized that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.