Falling in love with Fall Out Boy

Thousands of Fall Out Boy fans light up Schottenstein Center during a soft cover of Queens Dont Stop Me Now for an intimate moment during the otherwise energetic rock concert.
Thousands of Fall Out Boy fans light up Schottenstein Center during a soft cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” for an intimate moment during the otherwise energetic rock concert.
Beau Bilinovich/The Observer

Growing up, I was always a huge fan of rock music; whether classic rock, the grunge rock of the ’90s or the alternative rock of today, rock bands have always had a place in my heart. So when my friends asked if I wanted to go to a Fall Out Boy concert in Columbus, Ohio on March 29, I quickly said yes.

I wouldn’t say I was an avid fan of Fall Out Boy. I’ve heard most of their popular songs—such as ”Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “Centuries” and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”—but I never actually did a deep dive into their discography. However, I wanted to try something new and take a break from the slog that is an education at Case Western Reserve University. To say that I was blown away doesn’t even cover how amazing the concert actually was.

The concert, part of the band’s So Much For (2our) Dust tour, was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. I left campus with my roommate after he finished successfully defending his master’s thesis and picked up my other friend from my hometown in Wadsworth, Ohio—and then we were off. Of course, we all listened to Fall Out Boy the whole car ride. The hard-hitting guitars, drums and vocals were enough to hype us up and fulfill our craving for rock.

We arrived in Columbus at 6 p.m., checked in at our Holiday Inn and then drove to the concert venue. What seemed like thousands of people filled the streets, young and old alike, all gathering for hours of dancing and fun. We parked, checked into the venue and immediately bought some admittedly expensive, yet cool, shirts. Next it was time for the concert.

The venue was huge and it was quickly filling up with fans. My friends and I got seats in a balcony to the side of the stage, close enough to still see the acts and set pieces. The first act was CARR, a rebellious and edgy punk rock artist that was a perfect fit for the night. Her set was short yet intensely fun. She played her new single “Hot Dad” as she threw a blowup sex doll in the audience which everyone proceeded to crowd surf. Already we were getting a preview of what was soon to come.

The second act was Hot Mulligan, a self-described post-emo band from Lansing, Michigan. The band’s music was heavy and chaotic and I found myself nodding along as the meaty sounds of the guitar, bass and screaming vocals filled the stadium. They reminded me of many other heavy metal bands that also give me an unstoppable rush of energy.

Right before the headliner came Jimmy Eat World, another emo band that became famous for their hit album “Bleed American” in 2001. Their music was just as energetic and exciting as the other openers, and everyone in the audience was dancing and shouting along. About halfway through their set, their lead vocalist, Jim Adkins, pulled out an acoustic guitar, which was a surprising yet nice change of mood for the concert. And of course, their set wouldn’t have been complete without the song that everyone knows and loves, “The Middle,” which everyone stood up for and sang along to. In that moment, I felt part of something much bigger than myself. It was a euphoric feeling to be at the concert with my friends and fans of the music that I love and listen to, a feeling that I won’t soon forget.

Finally, it was time for Fall Out Boy. Before they got on stage they played their recorded cover of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”; almost immediately, everyone started screaming and shouting, ushering the band from out of the shadows and onto the stage. And then, bowing to the demands of the crowd, they walked up. After hours of waiting we finally got our chance to hear the band that was the obsession of many of us when we were younger.

Waves of fans rose from their seats as soon as they started their first live song, “Love From the Other Side.” Right after, they played “The Phoenix,” a song I quickly fell in love with on the car ride over. My friends and I danced along wildly until, out of nowhere and to our surprise, a firework was set off in the stadium. At first it sounded like a gunshot had gone off, making me flinch. I will admit: I wasn’t initially fond of the fireworks. The closed venue meant that the sound reverberated off all of the hard surfaces, turning up the volume from 10 to over 100; but they were spread out over the setlist, meaning you could time the fireworks perfectly with every chorus break and brace yourself.

Next, they performed their throwback hit “Sugar, We’re Goin Down”—also with fireworks—and the crowd, again, went wild. The words “loaded God complex, cock it and pull it” echoed throughout the crowd, which at that point had become one united force all in celebration of the dearly beloved band. At one point in their set, a person even ran up on stage dressed in a bunny costume as an early Easter celebration. Amidst the hard strumming of the guitars and the angsty vocals was some lighthearted fun, which was refreshing to see after a semester of many late nights and long work sessions.

The band’s set pieces were also incredible and unlike anything I had ever seen before. In honor of their most recent album, “So Much (For) Stardust,” which features a dog on the cover, a giant inflatable dog head appeared from behind the curtain. At this point the event transformed from a concert into an expertly choreographed and directed theatrical performance, and I loved every moment of it.

Halfway through the show, the rest of the band members left except for their lead vocalist, Patrick Stump, who informed the crowd that he unfortunately had fallen sick. That made no difference, though, as his singing remained superb. He brought out a piano and sang a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” followed by Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.’”

What was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen at a live concert was when thousands of people in the crowd took out their phones and turned on their flashlights, which shined red with a special filter. It was as if thousands of tiny red creatures filled the space, each one an individual person, each one there for the same reason my friends and I were: to enjoy the spirit of rock music. I was awestruck. That’s a memory that I will remember for many years to come.

As their set came to a close, Fall Out Boy surprised the crowd and played “Fourth of July,” a song they apparently had not played in a while—and yes, there were fireworks. They ended with more fan favorites—“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up),” “Dance, Dance” and “Centuries.” All were songs that I grew up with and still cherish to this day. Hearing them live was an otherworldly experience, especially with the whole crowd singing and shouting.

This was only my second concert and third live music experience ever; needless to say, it more than surpassed my expectations. For just a few hours, I was able to let go of all of the worries and stress related to school and life. For just a few hours I could relax and exist in the moment with my friends. If there’s any way to enjoy my final semester as a CWRU student, it’s by making the most of it at events like these. So, to my friends, the thousands of other fans and Fall Out Boy, I have nothing else to say except “Thnks fr th Mmrs.”

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