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Renowned For Sound

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Live Review: Fall Out Boy – 3rd November 2023 – O2 Arena, London, UK

5 min read

There is a strange, child-like nature to Chicago-bred rockers Fall Out Boy that is very admirable. And from the powerful response to their performance at London’s O2 arena on Friday night – the second of two sold out shows for the band as they take their So Much For The (Tour) Dust spectacle around the UK – something that is welcomed by a venue full, mostly, by fans in their mid-twenties wearing oversized merch hoodies and passionately singing back the lyrics to the band songs while punching pointing fingers in the air in unison.

Fresh from releasing their latest studio album earlier in the year, the rock quartet are stomping their way around the country to perform songs from the new record and trapsing backward through their impressive career – one that is dotted in an impressive number of songs exceeding 500m+ streams and sell out tours – not to mentioned their first billion streamed accomplishment with Centuries recently passing the remarkable milestone and putting the band into territory with very few residents.

Throughout the course of 2 hours, the band took us on a very theatrical journey through their repertoire, opening with cracking performances of Love From the Other Side and The Phoenix, complete with exploding pyrotechnics and bursts of flame providing not just some warmth within the venue but an early indicator of things to come as bassist Pete Wentz blasted streams of flame from a device wired up to his instrument, much to the awe of fans that relished in the orange heat.

The venue was overflowing with fans and while the perfect setting for a dysfunctional mosh-pit to break out in the standing section, the crowd seemed to be incredibly well tamed and at times would support each other when a fan would need water or, at one point in the night, where a fan would pass out, the band would stop and call out for security to intervene before proceeding with the set list.

Throughout the show the band were dedicated to putting on not just a rock concert but a rock spectacle. As the band wrapped up a stadium worthy Sugar, We’re Goin Down in front of a giant red curtain, the overhead circular screen flooded with water, the curtain removed and a giant, moving stage centred around a nautical theme complete with clam, tentacles, a rotating starfish, angler fish and other bits and pieces of noteworthy sea nods were revealed as they drove through a memorable performance of Uma Thurman while a simple bubble machine complimented their delivery of A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”.

Further theatrics were lapped up by the crowd with This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race. With the stage stripped back for the song the band introduced an enormous head of a Dobermann dominating the left side of the stage and moved from side to side with an occasional singalong with front man Patrick Stump getting a massive applause from the audience.

Covers of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and a meaty rendition of Song 2 by Blur added both nostalgic and patriotic value to the otherwise very American songbook on stage, as did banter between Stump and Wentz about taking advantage of bingeing on British snacks during their time in the UK. Ahead of his Queen cover and partial offerings of What a Catch, Donnie and Golden, Stump confessed to “being put up to the task” of playing without his bandmates at his side as something he doesn’t usually do but seemed to bask in the momentary solo spotlight with ease and confidence.

Further down the set fans danced along to memorable performances of Dance, Dance and Hold Me Like a Grudge before a magical 8-ball determined the inclusion of What a Time to Be Alive and American Beauty/American Psycho as Wentz playfully interacted with the crowd.

Throughout the show the band seemed to be in two parts – the introverts and the extroverts. Guitarist Joe Trohman and heavily tattooed and bare-chested drummer Andy Hurley were masters at their instrument but seemed surprisingly reserved for the entire show while Stump – despite confessing to not being entirely comfortable taking solo acclaim – seemed totally at home on stage. Wentz seemed to be the member of the band that relished the most in this environment although would probably benefit from taking the mic less as his engagement with the audience did come across stale and prolonged with anecdotes with Stump that ended abruptly and drawn out advice to the crowd about something to do with keeping your child-like mind and interests….or something like that. Even writing this now, I am still a little puzzled at what point he was very awkwardly attempting to make.

Massive career highlights Thnks fr th Mmrs and stadium worthy juggernaut Centuries helped close the night in perfect rockstar style as the entire O2 audience were on their feet chanting back every lyric alongside the band with more passion, vigour and pure adoration than we have seen at a show for quite some time.

This current tour from the Chicago sons of emo-rock was really quick a spectacle to behold and to admire. Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, there was something really for everyone on this tour to be able to enjoy. As more of a pop fan myself, I certainly came away from this performance with a lot more appreciation for not just the band but the genre they have truly conquered and carried forward over these past 20 years.

Setlist:
Love From the Other Side
The Phoenix
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
Uma Thurman
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
Chicago Is So Two Years Ago
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
Calm Before the Storm
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
Heaven, Iowa (after the song the band… more )
Bang the Doldrums
Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet
Fake Out
Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen cover) (Partial, Piano Medley)
What a Catch, Donnie (Partial, Piano Medley)
Golden (Partial, Piano Medley)
Save Rock and Roll
So Much (for) Stardust
Baby Annihilation
Song 2 (Blur cover)
Dance, Dance
Hold Me Like a Grudge
What a Time to Be Alive (Full Band Live Debut, Magic 8 Ball)
American Beauty/American Psycho (Tour Debut, Magic 8 Ball)
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
Thnks fr th Mmrs
Centuries
Saturday