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Live Review and Photo Gallery: Fall Out Boy at Metro’s 40th Anniversary Show • Chicago

| January 26, 2023

Fall Out Boy 2023 (Photo: Pam Littky)

Fall Out Boy

Metro, Chicago

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

By Jaime de’Medici; Photos Elliot Ingham

Before Fall Out Boy performed a sold-out show at the Metro Wednesday night, the band’s crew set up their stage, including a backdrop with a half-smiley, half-frown face resembling a yin and yang symbol. It’s a design that’s been heavily involved in the promotion of the band’s forthcoming eighth studio album, So Much (for) Stardust, dropping March 24 on Fueled by Ramen (the band’s initial label home during their earliest days). Late into their set, bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz explained that the duality of the image is a theme on Stardust, recalling a nihilistic scene from 1994’s Reality Bites and contrasting it with the optimism of 1989’s Field Of Dreams. Both films apparently influenced the concept and creation of the upcoming Stardust album.

This wouldn’t serve as the only contrast on display during Wednesday night’s set. The show, a sold-out homecoming presented by Q101 as part of Metro Chicago’s ongoing 40th anniversary, saw the band alternating between its past and its present. Across an hour and a half, Fall Out Boy executed a setlist featuring both modern hits from the band’s catalog and unexpected deep cuts. It also showcased two sides of the group’s songwriting approach, both the melodic pop-punk tone of the their pre-hiatus work and the more explosive arena-ready anthems of the band’s post-hiatus output.

The last time Fall Out Boy hit the Metro was nearly a decade ago (November 2013) when they performed material from their then-new PAX•AM Days EP,  performing a short-form burst of raw punk cuts that would’ve sounded at home at the Fireside Bowl in the early 2000s. Similar to that night, Wednesday’s set also found the band delivering unexpected deep cuts and fan favorites that don’t often make the setlist at their larger arena shows. Nowhere was that more evident than in the rarely played “Calm Before the Storm” from 2003’s Take This to Your Grave. Wentz dedicated the song to guitarist Joe Trohman, who recently announced a sabbatical from the band in support of his mental health, with the bassist expressing his admiration for the guitarist’s transparency. Filling in for Trohman off to the side of the stage was his guitar tech, Ben Young, who more than held his own during a discography-spanning set.

Other unexpected offerings included “Hum Hallelujah,” which featured frontman Patrick Stump’s pop sensibilities at their best. And “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago” served as both pure fan service and the most hyperlocal anthem played at the Metro since the Pumpkins did “Tonight, Tonight” there last September. The melodic and hardcore-tinged “Thriller,” meanwhile, showcased chugging guitars from Stump and Young and rapid-fire percussion from drummer Andy Hurley.

On the other side of the setlist was the band’s more massive post-hiatus material, with “Centuries” and “The Phoenix” showcasing Fall Out Boy’s arena-ready muscle and Stump’s stadium-ready vocals. The band’s 2013 comeback single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ’Em Up)” especially demonstrated Hurley’s thunderous drumming. Right at home was the recently released “Love From The Other Side,” off the upcoming LP Stardust, with Stump’s vocals booming as the song kicked off the set in high gear. And deep cut “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes,” from 2008’s underrated Folie à Deux, went big with melody, with Wentz screaming, “Detox just to retox!”

Beyond the setlist surprises and arena anthems were the surefire crowd pleasers, with a faster version of “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” both employing Fall Out Boy’s earlier power punk aesthetic but with the added benefit of years of experience. Similarly, the instantly infectious “Dance, Dance” still sounds fresh nearly twenty years later. And Grave’s “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” allowed for reflection on the band’s early days when Wentz and Stump wrote the song in a Roscoe Village apartment.

With the Fall Out Boy’s tours fairly set in arenas these days, a hometown show in a room the size of the Metro is undoubtedly a rarity. Wednesday’s set found the band taking full advantage of both the intimate venue and the loyal hometown crowd to deliver a once-in-a-decade event that reconnects with their earlier days as Chicago music scene staples. And while that early DIY era is long in the band’s rearview mirror, for one more night, there was a light on in Chicago.

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Category: Featured, Live Reviews

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