Friday, August 17, 2018
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Review: Fall Out Boy fulfills teenage dreams with M A N I A tour stop at Amalie Arena

The little girl sitting next to me chose Sunday night's Fall Out Boy show for her first concert. She made an excellent choice.

She may have been more than half my age, but she still sang every word to Sugar, We're Goin Down.

Amalie Arena was filled with an impressive array of teens and their parents and more than a few fans who can say they're old enough to have memorized 2003's Take This to Your Grave and 2005's From Under the Cork Tree.

As a generation-defining band that's been cranking out anthemic hits and pop-punk ballads to teenage angst for going on 16 years, Fall Out Boy plowed through dozens of songs off all seven of their studio albums during their Tampa stop.

Befitting an arena-filling pop group, the band splashed down with eye-catching pyrotechnics, touching digital visuals and even a couple illuminated floating stages.  The stage itself was fairly sparse with just the band, but they kept the crowd engaged with laser light shows, t-shirt guns and cameos from the two fluffy llama characters seen in their videos for The Last of the Real Ones and Young and Menace and from this year's VMAs.

Members Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman came out swinging with roof-raising Phoenix from 2013's Save Rock and Roll. Then cue the screaming teenage fans for Irresistible, Alone Together and My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.

Interview: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, talks about new album, influencing young rappers

Some pleasant surprises: Immortals and Hum Hallelujah. The former a superheroic theme song from Disney's Big Hero 6. The latter an upbeat, poetic anthem reportedly about bass guitarist Wentz's attempted suicide.

Also surprising was the set of four new songs from the band's forthcoming M A N I A album, which was recently delayed until January. Young and Menace gives the band a slightly different sound with hints of techno and R&B elements, while The Last of the Real Ones, Expensive Mistakes and Champion sound like fresh twists on the classic, pop-punk Fall Out Boy.

Even with just these four teases of what's to come on M A N I A, the album already seems well-worth the extended wait.

The band also made not-so-subtle tributes to some notable cultural figures. In a final hat tip to M A N I A, the band released Champions' "And I'm back with a madness/I'm a champion of the people who don't believe in champions" while footage of the late Princess Diana was plastered on the jumbo screen.

An even more poignant message played out during 2015's Centuries. While Stump wailed "Some legends are told/some turn to dust or to gold" images of Muhammad Ali and NFL player Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem punctuated the notes.

But let me be frank. This 26-year-old came for pre-2010 Fall Out Boy. I came for songs with full sentence titles and for Stump to croon "Where is your boy tonight?"

The quartet made all my rebellious teenage dreams come true, and then some. The band's defining hit Sugar We're Goin Down came surprisingly early in the set, and brought back memories of falling in love with Fall Out Boy after seeing the song's bonkers music video on MTV.

Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy popped unexpectedly after a short break in between songs, but it didn't take long for the entire arena to synchronize for "You were the last good thing about this part of town."

Dance Dance was a whirlwind, as was Thnks fr th Mmrs. Both songs are at least a decade old, but Stump's sharp, never-wavering vocals make them sound as fresh as the day they debuted on From Under the Cork Tree and 2007's Infinity on High.

The 90-minute packed set ended with Saturday, a traditional ending with Wentz doing the screaming parts in the final chorus while wearing a custom Lightning jersey.

If only there were just two more weeks until M A N I A debuts.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

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