Fall Out Boy brings MANIA to Pittsburgh
I had bought my tickets for Wednesday’s Fall Out Boy concert in PPG Paints Arena on Jan. 22 at around 10:15 a.m. My best friend and I sat at a table in Au Bon Pain with both our laptops open to Ticketmaster so we could buy the best tickets possible. For context, tickets for this show had gone on sale on Jan. 22 at 10 a.m.
The Chicago, IL-based emo pop punk band had made a huge impact on both of our lives. It’s a band that’s always been there at small, seemingly insignificant points in my life before building up to become a band that has helped me to define myself and my own identity during my junior year of high school. It’s a band whose lyrics spoke to some of the deepest parts of myself and whose music provided me happiness and guidance when I’d needed it the most.
On their MANIA Tour, Fall Out Boy brought two openers with them: metalcore band Every Time I Die and Machine Gun Kelly. I had known Every Time I Die from the time I tried listening to more punk pop punk music, but I had not expected the level of energy they had brought to the stage. Their music was a bit jarring from what I was used to, but they still made for a fun set and at times their songs were surprisingly heartfelt. The biggest problem, however, was after the set. My friend and I had floor seats, right next to a runway portion of the stage and right next to speakers. Our ears felt blown out, and I was doubting if I would be able to even hear Fall Out Boy perform after Machine Gun Kelly.
Hot off the heels of a feud with Eminem, Machine Gun Kelly did not disappoint at all. The Cleveland, OH-based rapper’s set brought the energy up to new heights after Every Time I Die’s performance, performing crowdpleasers and hits like “Bad Things” and “Rehab.” Machine Gun Kelly threw in a diss at said opponent and walked into the crowd interacting with fans who were holding up “Rap Devil” signs, while performing the diss track of the same name. Putting that fight aside, Machine Gun Kelly was a surprisingly great fit to the tour, and charmed the crowd with his fire, energy, and unwavering confidence and fearlessness.
This was my third Fall Out Boy concert, but from Fall Out Boy’s opener “Disloyal Order of the Water Buffaloes” I remained hooked, pumped, and possibly more excited than I’d been the last two times I had seen them. After seventeen years of performing, the band knows their hits and what really gets the crowd going: nearly everyone in the crowd screamed out the first lyrics to “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” clapped along to “Uma Thurman,” and swayed along to one of the band’s only ballads “Save Rock & Roll.” However, they weren’t afraid to play newer songs as well from their latest album MANIA such as “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea,” a stripped-down version of “Young & Menace,” a song that flirts with dubstep; and “Lake Effect Kid,” a song they had written in 2008 and then re-released in a special EP late August.
A lot of the elements of the concert still felt the same. “I Don’t Care” was still the action-packed, unabashed, refreshing banger that kicks off the band’s third phase of songs, complete with middle fingers all over the screen behind them. While no one stood for the band’s national anthem, or “Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy,” fans who knew the song stood in spirit and sung along to the song’s opening lyrics. Drummer Andy Hurley exercised his superior talent in a drum solo over songs like Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” And of course, the band closed off with “Saturday,” one of the band’s first hits that still encapsulates the band’s spirit 17 years later.
Throughout the band’s seven albums, their sound has changed drastically. And it’s pushed some people away, but for a lot of people, Fall Out Boy dominates a realm of nostalgia that’s absolutely infectious and keeps fans, both new and old, coming back for more. When my friend and I arrived and gotten off the 67 bus, we immediately saw two of our friends from orientation who also had floor seats. I had seen a girl who had lived in my freshman dorm with her boyfriend ten minutes later. During the entire night, I’d seen at least ten Snapchat or Instagram stories of Fall Out Boy performing at the concert and gotten a few texts from friends I hadn’t talked to in months trying to find out where I was in PPG Paints Arena. My friend and I ended up taking the bus ride home with a girl who lived two doors down from me my freshman year, and the little sister of one of my first friends at Carnegie Mellon.
And because of that nostalgia, Fall Out Boy brings people together across time and space. Yes, often they get called “Sellout Boy” more times than not. But that nostalgia kicks up some youthful, rebellious joy and energy that unleashes itself anywhere. And that joy and energy was in full force tonight. No matter what, at its core Fall Out Boy remains a band that refuses to be put in a box and constantly breaks the conventions and images that society has created for them.