TAMPA — Fall Out Boy’s headlining set at MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre on Tuesday kicked off with a bang. Many earsplitting bangs, in fact.
After the red velvet curtain peeled open to reveal the four-piece band, the first handful of songs set the tone with a POP!-POP!-POP! of fireworks, plumes of fog and showers of sparks. Ribbons of flame flared across the stage and burst from the end of Pete Wentz’s bass, so hot you could feel it on your face in the seats.
In a dazzling concert packed with Fall Out Boy songs new and old, the band proved why they still have the hearts of pop-punk lovers of all ages. Their followers came to scream along to nearly 30 songs, wearing their Warped Tour-inspired best: freshly-dyed hair, “Make America Emo Again” T-shirts and a plethora of black Chuck Taylors.
The show fit in well during a summer of emo revival in Tampa Bay that has already featured many nostalgia-inducing concerts from the MySpace era, including Yellowcard, Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday.
Fall Out Boy’s marathon set included songs from each of their eight studio albums. They touched on soaring anthem rock (”Centuries” and “Save Rock and Roll”) as well as throwbacks to their catchiest singalong hits (”This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” and “Sugar, We’re Goin Down”).
The quartet paid special attention to their latest and first projects: 2023′s “So Much (for) Stardust,” which fans have praised for evoking Fall Out Boy’s older sound that has been missing from the post-hiatus mainstream pop years, and “Take This To Your Grave,” their debut record which just turned 20.
As Fall Out Boy launched into songs from the latter, the more extreme pyrotechnical elements were traded for simple blue lighting: a nod to the “Take This To Your Grave” album cover. Singer Patrick Stump reminded fans that their journey kicked off, in some ways, in the Sunshine State.
“We wrote [“Dead on Arrival”] like 20 years ago, and we sent it into a label in Florida called Fueled By Ramen,” Stump said.
Stump remains a stunning vocalist, shining through the night as he howled his signature soulful belt. He’s a treat to watch prancing across the stage, but is best appreciated during the stripped-down moments. A highlight came during “What a Catch, Donnie,” watching Stump plunk away on the piano, face glistening with beads of sweat as he squeezed his eyes shut and showed off his falsetto.
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This is not to say the rest of the band didn’t bring it, too. Drummer Andy Hurley anchored the intensity throughout the set, rivaling the firecrackers behind him with a thunder of breakneck ferocity. Lead guitarist Joe Trohman was a delight whether he was strumming catchy, hip-shaking surf-rock for “Uma Thurman” or showing off his Chicago hardcore punk roots during the “Take This to Your Grave” deep cuts. Wentz brought the same vibe when he dove into the crowd during the end of “Saturday.” He ended the show with a throaty scream as black and white confetti fluttered around him.
We must take a moment to talk about the openers, who all succeeded in ratcheting up the energy before Fall Out Boy’s big bang. The night kicked off with raunchy alt-pop singer songwriter Carr (aka Carly McClellan), who skipped around stage in a black tutu and brought along a crowdsurfing blow-up doll named Ginger.
Next, Royal and the Serpent showed support for the LGBTQ+ community. Fans screamed as singer Ryan Santiago ripped off her Tampa Bay Lightning jersey to reveal a tank top with the message, “Protect Trans Kids.” She offered an updated version of the pledge:
“I pledge allegiance to the drag and the united gays of America,” Santiago said. “To safety in public, from queer to trans. One nation, underdogs.”
British band Bring Me the Horizon, whose set spanned metalcore to trippy electro-rock, continued the political motif in between mosh pits.
“I get it. This is a country divided,” frontman Oliver Sykes said. “So what I need you to do, America, is open your minds. Open your hearts. And most importantly, open the f--king pit.”
Wearing a tight tank top labeled “CULT LEADER,” Sykes snaked up and around the amphitheater as he sang “Drown,” a tattoo-covered Pied Piper mobbed by adoring fans trying to touch him at every turn.
Bring Me the Horizon’s aggressive metal guitars and guttural screams may have been too heavy for others (read: the parents who took that time to scroll Facebook), but the electricity of their set foreshadowed what was to come.
By the time Fall Out Boy took the stage a little after 9 p.m., the crowd was buzzing. Though not even earplugs could prepare fans for the deafening fireworks punctuating the first few songs and the encore. Some of the bangs were downright jarring.
Wentz led much of the pageantry during the show, interrogating a Magic 8 ball to determine the night’s surprise song (”Miss Missing You,” off the band’s first post-hiatus album, “Save Rock and Roll”). After the song, the bassist delivered a moody spoken word track, “Baby Annihilation.”
“The first time I took the mask off, just had another one on underneath,” he recited into the microphone. “I’m just melted wax on a birthday cake, another year fades away/ Charcoal crushed, pixie fever, angel dust.”
At the end, Wentz held a silky black cloth over his head. When he dropped it, the fabric collapsed into a heap. Wentz reappeared several stories up, holding his bass at the top of a gnarled tree at the back of the stage. He started to strum. Not a Fall Out Boy song, but Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.”
The riff bled into “Dance, Dance.” Wentz evaporated again. Then there he was halfway across the amphitheater, shredding from behind the soundboard.
The members of the band weren’t the only ones with surprises up their sleeves. During “Fake Out,” the crowd turned the venue into a sea of swaying rosy lights. These weren’t the high-tech, light-up bracelets that Taylor Swift used on her Eras Tour. Instead, fans in cities across the tour have been using the internet to coordinate “The Stardust Project,” passing out pink slips of paper for others to hold up to their cell phone flashlights.
“That looks pretty [expletive] awesome,” Wentz said.
It was a long night, and a hot one. First responders retrieved a number of overheated fans. Wentz, wearing a combo of leather pants and a hoodie despite the heat index of 96, paused several times to address the heat: Once to ask for water for the folks in the pit, and another praise security for keeping an eye on fans.
The surreal set pieces onstage nodded to Fall Out Boy’s weirder lyrics and motifs from over the years. A giant Doberman puppet mouthed along at one point. There were ticking clock faces and cartoon moons and pink seashells galore.
All of the fanfare made for a fun and unforgettable show. But the way the crowd was thrashing along and hollering every lyric, you could tell they didn’t need any extra spectacle to find the night special. Just hearing these songs — especially the throwbacks — was explosive enough.
Fall Out Boy’s Tampa setlist
A recording of Fall Out Boy’s recent single, a topical twist on Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” blasted over the speakers right before the band came onstage. Then “The Pink Seashell,” a spoken word piece narrated by Ethan Hawke, played right before the curtain opened and the group emerged.
- Love From the Other Side
- The Phoenix
- Sugar, We’re Goin Down
- Uma Thurman
- A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
- Dead on Arrival
- 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
- Hum Hallelujah
- Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet
- Fake Out
- What a Catch, Donnie (a partial snippet of this song was played on piano)
- Golden (another partial song, also on piano)
- Don’t Stop Believin’ (a Journey cover on piano)
- The Last of the Real Ones
- Save Rock and Roll
- Baby Annihilation (spoken word performance by Pete Wentz)
- Crazy Train (a partial Ozzy Osbourne cover)
- Dance, Dance
- Hold Me Like a Grudge
- Miss Missing You
At this point, the band went straight into a four-song encore, saving time by having Wentz simply announce it instead of going offstage and coming back on.
25. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
26. Thnks fr th Mmrs