Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco concert review: Anaheim, Calif.

My review originally appeared at

On the title track to Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy’s first studio effort in more than four years, there’s a repeated gang chant: “Oh, no, we won’t go / 'Cause we don’t know when to quit.” That easily could be an answer to detractors who wish the Chicago alt-rock band would have stayed quiet.

Among the most prominent emo practitioners of the mid-2000s, the quartet racked up several hit singles and gold or platinum albums, but was often taken to task for pretentious songs and verbose titles.

Yet, as bassist, backing singer and main lyricist Pete Wentz noted in a recent interview, the guys have always been irreverent about things. What’s more, the hiatus has definitely tightened their musicianship.

Produced by Butch Walker and containing cameos from, among others, Elton John (on that title cut) and Courtney Love (on “Rat a Tat”), Save Rock and Roll is actually FOB's strongest effort to date.

Friday night’s Honda Center stop supporting that disc – the group’s first large-scale show in Southern California (repeating Sunday in San Diego) after club and theater appearances in L.A. earlier this year – was fairly full, despite half the upper level being closed off.

FOB launched its 90-minute, 19-song set in dynamic fashion with a stomping run through “The Phoenix”; keying into its lyrics, they arrived wearing dark ski masks and waved white flags. “I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me,” from 2005 breakthrough Under the Cork Tree, packed quite a wallop as Wentz and lead guitarist Joe Trohman spun around – and female enthusiasts shrieked at deafening levels.

Some crowd-surfing erupted on the general-admission floor, fans raised their arms in unison and sang along loudly to “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and Wentz saluted the “freakiness” of such devotion. Then the band locked into a mighty stretch that saw Patrick Stump (above) deliver soulful vocals during the dance pop/rock strains of “Death Valley,” the infectious hit “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” and the soaring “Young Volcanoes,” during which large black inflated balls were thrown into the crowd.

The gregarious Wentz said “good girls don’t get enough shout-outs” before Stump sat down at the keyboards, located atop a ramp behind the drums. They did a tempered medley of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” with their own “What a Catch, Donnie” (boasting more stirring Stump vocals) and the vaudevillian “20 Dollar Nose Bleed,” a brief duet with Brendon Urie of opener Panic! at the Disco, who added a back-flip.

As a ‘70s clip of Iggy Pop rambling on The Dick Cavett Show about the meaning of punk rock was projected on screen, the group ran to a second stage located on the arena floor. The welcome stripped-down segment comprised two tunes, “I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me + You)” and “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy.”

Wentz next waxed nostalgic about antihero influences like the Ramones and Misfits before the powerful, metal-tinged “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up),” a recent Top 10 single that came complete with fire plumes. And first encore “Save Rock and Roll” was truly inspiring, perfect for the wide expanse of an arena.

Panic! at the Disco’s career has been intertwined with Fall Out Boy’s from day one: Wentz signed them to his label, both acts have toured together in the past. Urie (pictured, left) has provided backing vocals for FOB. So it made perfect sense for them to join forces again on this jaunt.

In Anaheim, the elaborate Panic stage was adorned with silver female mannequins plus some dazzling screens. Urie was a total ball of energy during his band’s exciting 35-minute set.

The spastic singer – whose parents were in attendance – strutted and pogoed around, indulged still more back-flips and burst into shrieks. Highlights included the frenetic “Time to Dance,” the orchestrated rock drama of “Ballad of Mona Lisa,” “Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)” and baroque-pop-leaning “Nine in the Afternoon.”

Panic, preceded by brief set from new act Twenty One Pilots, also previewed two impressive upbeat tunes from its coming electronic rock effort, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, due Oct. 8. Both “This Is Gospel” and the latest Top 20 alternative single “Miss Jackson” (a subtle nod to Janet) proved solid additions to the group’s repertoire.

photos by Samantha Saturday

No comments: