Photos By Alexa Chihos
Growing up, my grandfather would always read a portion of the Talmud at every family gathering. They are words that I live by even to this date. I even have a line from it tattooed on me with plans on getting other lines tattooed in the future. One of the lines in this Jewish text is, “When you are faced with a decision, make the decision as wisely as possible – then forget it. The moment of absolute certainty never arrives.” I was faced with a decision on Wednesday night and used my best judgment as to what to do. In retrospect, I made the wrong call but, as the text says, “make the decision as wisely as possible – then forget it” so, when I’m done giving you the overview of Thursday night, I will do my best to just move on.
Before I get into this review, let me start by saying if you plan on going to any show at Somerset Amphitheater, get there early. The parking situation, although super organized, takes forever. In the venue’s defense, there were warnings all over the place but, being the workaholic I am, I had to wait until I was done with work before making the forty-minute trek out to Somerset, Wisconsin which meant.. I was late.
Unfortunately, I was so late that the only portion of the opening act CARR’s set I caught was when walking onto the beautiful grounds of this outdoor amphitheater. I could hear the pop-punk leaning pop band perfectly though and although I wasn’t super into what I was hearing, I appreciated it for the fun it was. CARR’s sound, as mentioned, leans a bit more pop than I typically go for but it was fun. Think early Avril Lavigne nostalgia meets the new school approach of LOLO. It was a cute way to start off the set and I was definitely a bit bummed that I wasn’t in the crowd to get the full effect of the set.
With only a single full-length album that just came out last month and just a smattering of EPs and singles before that, RATS was definitely a bold choice for such an epic tour but, as soon as they took the stage, I understood why they were given the coveted spot. To say that these guys brought the energy to the stage would be an understatement. Although only fairly familiar with this band, they had me caught within the first song. There was a quirkiness to RATS’ set that I don’t think I was expecting knowing the little I know about this band. From the flawless Nirvana cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to the way the band connected with the audience without much time for banter, I was left completely impressed.
Out of all of the bands on this epic bill, BMTH was undoubtedly the heaviest and a bit of an outlier on the tour but they performed so flawlessly that this whole idea of them being out of place was out of my head almost instantly. I’ve been catching this band live for well over a decade and they are one that will keep me coming back time and time again solely due to the power that comes with their performances.
As the stage was turned over for the headlining act Fall Out Boy, the darkening skies darkened even more and started to be illuminated by lightning. Having done this for so long, I knew what this meant but held out hope until I heard the inevitable, “Please evacuate the venue… Shelter in place in your cars… Updates will be posted on social media.” I mean, I wasn’t surprised. The sky was ominous to say the least and there were giant cracks of lightning getting closer and closer to the grounds so I slowly made my way to my car to wait out the storm.
I sat there in my car waiting, and waiting, and waiting. The storm came and went for the next hour as I sat there trying desperately to refresh my social media feeds looking for an update from the venue. Honestly, I thought that they would switch the rain delay to a cancellation pretty soon but part of me just wanted to see it in writing before calling it and leaving. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh– one issue here– the service out there is terrible so my refreshing only did something about half the time. The only post that did load just said to stay tuned for updates but, after an hour of just sitting in my muggy car without the air running because I was an idiot and was running low on gas, I made a decision. I didn’t make the decision lightly but, with the lightning still illuminating the skies around me and knowing that there was [supposed to be] an 11 PM curfew, I made my decision as wisely as possible and headed home.
About five minutes from me landing safely in my garage and my phone goes off. It was a friend who was at the show, “Gates just opened back up!” I honestly thought about turning around and, upon learning that the curfew was extended, kind of hated myself for not turning around but I was home and ready to get more than just four hours of sleep.
I will not be one of those that blame the staff or the promoter of this show for me missing Fall Out Boy perform what was surely an epic set. Although I do think it could have been handled differently and they could have had a better system in place for (more frequent) updates given the sketchy service in the area, it was ultimately my decision to leave and that’s something I will have to live with. Sorry, Fall Out Boy. I love you but Thursday night was clearly just not in the cards for me.
Although I made the wrong decision, Alexa (one of our amazing and talented photographers) decided to stick it out. I will never not be jealous of her for this but here’s what happened when I left and the real fun began…
“With thousands of people asked to shelter in place in their cars (or in the event you took a ride share option to the venue or parked outside of the venues grounds, wherever you could find shelter), the venue’s few social media posts kept a glimmer of hope with the fans that the show would go on. Fans in the south parking area were heard having sing along parties in their cars, anxiously awaiting the next update. I’ll admit as 9:30 turned to 10pm, my pessimism was starting to turn very real, but hope remained. After several attempts to refresh socials, suddenly cheers were heard throughout the lot as the venue posted the show would go on and to head back to the entrances to the venue. I barely made it back to the pit in time to head in to photograph, but right from the start Fall Out Boy made it clear they had every intention of playing and would try to get to as many songs as they possibly could with the time they were allotted. With the lighting in the distance to the south and the rain starting to taper, the band started off with a bang, playing the lead single off their new album, “Love From the Other Side.” While the weather hindered the duration of their set, there is something a magical about seeing a band with as big of an impact as Fall Out Boy in the aftermath of a powerful storm. Even with a shortened set (about 60% of the songs they would have played in good weather), Fall Out Boy gave the crowd everything in their performance: from incredible stage production, to their nostalgic, sing along classics and new songs, to brief crowd interactions, the band pulled through with a night that I, and the thousands of others who waited, won’t forget.”
-Alexa Chihos– The smart one of the duo that is Langen and Alexa.