Photos by David Rubene
I still remember the first time I saw Fall Out Boy. It was a small club in Des Moines, Iowa called House of Bricks. I’m talking the old House of Bricks… the one on Merle Hay. They were playing with my favorite band- Bayside- and I had no clue who they were at the time. I remember hanging out in the parking lot with the band. I was instantly struck by their down-to-earthness. They were just some regular guys living in a van while trying to make their dreams come true. Flash forward to last night. I watched Fall Out Boy put on a performance at a nearly sold out Xcel Center complete with lights, fireworks, and flames. I left the show last night feel inspired. That’s something not many bands can do.
The show opened up with Jaden Smith. Yes, Will Smith’s son. At only 19 years old, I was instantly struck but the way Jaden presented himself. Honestly, I would have guessed he was a seasoned 20- something rapper that had been doing this for years. I was definitely a bit shocked this morning when I was doing some research on the young man and realized he was only 19. He had a sense of power on stage and commanded the quickly growing crowd with east. His brand of rap seemed a bit harsh when considering he is Will Smith’s son but he is so much more than his last night. Jaden’s set was full of something that screamed independence. I couldn’t tell you what that was but I was thoroughly impressed as I watched him kneel down at a pedal board in order to change the effects on his microphone. Yes, that sounds small and minute in the grand scheme of things but he could have easily had his DJ do that for him– but he didn’t. The stage was huge and Jaden looked so small on it but that passion that he conveyed filled the entire arena.
blackbear was up next. Now, maybe I’m just too old for him but I didn’t quite get his music. It was a bad-boy style of hip-hop that I couldn’t quite get into but I seemed to be the only one in the crowd not enamored with this man. The kids sitting around me were all screaming the lyrics along to his quick paced songs. It felt as if blackbear was the headliner with the amount of energy the crowd was handing out to him. That energy was matched only by the power that blackbear gave off during his set. He ran, danced, and stomped his way through his set with a sense of fury and power that, even though I wasn’t completely sold on his music, had me completely in love with his show. As blackbear exited the stage, the crowd was left wanting more. blackbear may not be a household name yet but give it a month or two and he will be headlining shows at places like the Xcel Center and selling it out all on his own.
As the lights went down for Fall Out Boy I could feeling the excitement overcome me and, along with the other girls who were freaking out, I started screaming at the top of my lungs when I saw the four members take the stage. As soon as they took their spots on stage, the band kicked off their set with a song that I didn’t recognize. Fall Out Boy was everything to me when I was a teenager but I fell off the train awhile back. I haven’t listened to any of their new stuff nor do I care to. They were one of those bands that came into my life at the perfect time and made a peaceful exit when I no longer needed them. That being said, they are a band that I will never forget and, although I didn’t recognize the first couple of songs, I made up for it when they played their older hits dating back to 2003.
The first time I saw Fall Out Boy was at a small club where there were barely even flashing lights. Last night there were flashing lights, fireworks, flames and moving platforms. As I stood in front of my seat, I watched in awe as the four piece split into duos and tethered themselves to two platforms that moved up towards the ceiling of the arena. Did the show need it? No. Was a bit over the top? Sure. But it wasn’t completely over the top. They were flashing their power and super star status without being completely obnoxious.
The crowd was going nuts throughout the generous set. The youngsters throughout the crowd were singing along to the newer songs whereas the older crowd (including myself) was screaming along to the songs that got all of our angsty teenage-selves through high school. Regardless of age, the crowd fell silent as Fall Out Boy surprised us with a new song that is due out on their upcoming release. Jaw were on the floor as drummer Andy Hurley gave us a truly impressive drum solo from the moving platform towards the center of the crowd.
Throughout the twenty-two song set, I could be found either screaming my heart out or waiting patiently for a song that I recognized. Regardless of if I was singing along or not, there was a giant smile on my face as I watched these four kids finally accomplishing the dream that I saw in their eyes years ago. To say it was inspiring would be an understatement and, instead of walking out of last night’s show exhausted like I do after so many shows, I left with a sense of purpose and a desire to make all of my dreams come true just like those guys did. Even though they looked like giants on that stage, the four members of Fall Out Boy will always be those dorks that I played Frisbee with in the parking lot of House of Bricks.
Go ahead and judge me but I had the absolute time of my life watching Fall Out Boy last night. Sure, I try to come off as this metal chick with no fear and a love for screaming vocalists but deep down I’m just a pop-punk kid that never really grew up. Last night I reverted back to my 13 year old self and I loved every single moment of it. Thank you Fall Out Boy for reminding me that growing up is overrated and dreams really do come true.