While the golden age of emo is but a distant memory in 2018, there are still many that fly that black-on-black flag. This much was obvious the night that Fall Out Boy were due to play The O2 Arena in London as teenagers with brightly colored hair descended upon North Greenwich station in their thousands. It might be a far more niche sub-culture than it once was, but a lot of these kids aren’t even old enough to remember that time— they’re new recruits; a product of Fall Out Boy’s mass appeal post-hiatus. They’ll never know the pain that older fans suffered on that fateful day in 2009, but who cares? Everyone filing in to the iconic arena were there for the exact same reason.
There was some backlash in response to the release of Fall Out Boy’s latest album, M A N I A, as it strayed from the stereotype that the band had become most associated with. It presents a broad spectrum of genres, something that die-hard emo kids didn’t necessarily know what to do with. There’s no denying that its different, yes, but it’s also good, so it was going to be interesting seeing how the band would incorporate the new material in to their live set along with the standard classics.
Theatrics have always been Fall Out Boy’s forté, so the fact that they had a catwalk stretching out across the room and splitting the standing area in two was hardly a surprise. A large screen was present at the back of the stage, which was used for videos and graphics that accompanied each song as it was played. Pyrotechnics and dramatic lighting were also used, as well as a “B stage” which was capable of rising above the crowd with lead singer/guitarist Patrick Stump and bassist/frontman Pete Wentz standing upon it.
The set list itself had some interesting picks— the old favorites that you’d expect such as ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down‘ and ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs‘, as well as newer picks: not just the latest singles (‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t‘, etc.) but album cuts like ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea‘.
The main part of the set finished on the thought-provoking, inspiring ‘Champion‘, after which the band left for a short while before returning with ‘Thriller‘, the first track on their 2007 album Infinity On High that features guest vocals from Jay-Z and is a dedication to their most faithful fans.
A couple more songs later and the night was coming to an end. The grand finale? ‘Saturday‘, the only song that Fall Out Boy still play from their 2003 debut Take This To Your Grave. With the crowd going wild both in standing and the thousands of seats that faced in on the stage, it would be wrong to accuse Fall Out Boy of not being able to put on one hell of a spectacle. They may not have the same pull that they had in say, 2006, but they still maintain a resolute following that will have them still selling out huge venues for years to come.