Words by Gina Catalano
Black Friday is the single most extravagant shopping day of the season, with this year’s retail stores opening as early as 5PM on Thursday evening. On this Black Friday, four guys originally from the North Suburbs were sitting in a record store. Their band’s name is Fall Out Boy, and they were promoting their latest EP, PAM-AM Days. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
Earlier this year – February 4th, to be exact – the band came back with a bang, ending a four-year hiatus by torching their previous albums at the location where Comiskey Park once stood and announcing their new record, Save Rock and Roll.
On November 29th, after their record signing at Reckless Records, Fall Out Boy played a special show to a sold out crowd for the Grammy Foundation, benefitting music education programs. Fans camped out for hours, despite the venue’s strict policy against it, eventually being let in around 8:45. (Side note: If you’ve never camped out at a show before, you are missing out on everything. It may be cold or wet or unbearably hot, but I can promise that you will always meet some great people and/or some great local bands looking to share their music.) With a fashionably late start, Fall Out Boy took the stage at 9:30 and played PAX AM Days in full. Although I was initially concerned at how the audience would react to these songs, they did not disappoint. For 20 minutes we were all 80s-punk kids, head banging along with the guys on stage sporting flannel and black skinny jeans.
After playing PAX AM Days in its entirety, the band walked off stage to change and reemerged to start off with “The Phoenix”. “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy”, “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race” were to follow, and just before the next song Pete said, “We’re going to play an old song right now.” I knew what was coming, and the crowd became insane as the beginning notes of “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago” played. No matter how many times I’ve seen Fall Out Boy perform this song live, it still gets me every time. Here I am in Chicago, listening to a Chicago band sing about Chicago. It doesn’t get much better than that.
After “Alone Together” and “Thriller”, Pete gets back to the mic and does one of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed. He points to a guy standing at the barricades and calls him out for looking unhappy. “I know there’s a lot of people that want to be in the front row, and if you don’t want to be there then you should just go to the bar and talk shit or whatever.” PREACH, PETE WENTZ. PREACH.
The set list then proceeded with “Grand Theft Autumn”, “Sugar We’re Going Down”, “Young Volcanoes”, “Dance, Dance”, and “I Don’t Care”. The crowd kept momentum, constantly jumping around and endless crowd surfing. After “I Don’t Care”, Patrick took to the mic to share a story about a recent review of PAX AM Days.
“He said, first off, that I don’t believe what I’m singing. Which- say you don’t like it, say the music isn’t good, say whatever you think, but don’t tell me I don’t believe in this. Number two, he said something about ‘the punk-rock scene is very inclusive and unfortunately sometimes it lets in a lot of riff raff’. It’s all riff raff; we are the riff raff!” He then proceeded to dedicate the next song to this reviewer. “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”.
The crowd roared as Fall Out Boy left the stage for a second time that night, waiting for an encore. It came down to the final three songs – “Save Rock and Roll”, “Thnks Fr the Mmrs” and “Saturday”. I was most anxious for this part for two reasons: 1. The tickets for the show said “Guests TBA”, which I was assuming would be any time now that the end of the show was approaching. 2. One of those guests had to be Elton John, since he is an active member of the Grammy Foundation and had a show in Chicago the next night. I’m disappointed to tell you that neither of these moments happened. However, the encore was as energetic as the rest of the performance, ending the show on a relatively high note.
Maybe this is just a review written by a biased girl with a soft spot for her hometown boys, but I have never been disappointed by a Fall Out Boy show. It’s rewarding to see them on stage after their four-year hiatus and see the improvements that they have made not only as a band, but as brothers. Believers never die.