If Fall Out Boy’s reunion and new album announcement was the best pop-emo-rock news of the year, the revelation that they were going on an arena tour with Panic! at the Disco was a very close second. The two bands toured together in 2005 and 2006, but with Fall Out Boy’s extended hiatus in 2010, it was a concert combination I never expected to see. The concert totally lived up to my expectations.
Unfortunately, I can’t say much about Twenty One Pilots—some parking issues and a long, confusing line resulted in my missing the first few songs of their set. From what I saw, the duo’s performance was interesting and drum-heavy. I was too distracted at that point to pay attention to them, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to checking them out.
Panic! at the Disco was up next, rocking their new 1950’s show biz-inspired aesthetic. The band is currently down drummer Spencer Smith, so Brendon Urie and Dallon Weekes are performing with touring members on guitar and drums. Opening with “Time to Dance” and closing with the ever popular “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” Panic! at the Disco played a good mix of songs from their debut A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and their most recent, Vices & Virtues. They also threw in Pretty. Odd.’s “Nine in the Afternoon” and new singles “Miss Jackson” and “This is Gospel” from their forthcoming Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! The new songs were the most energetic, the band’s excitement during them almost palpable in the stadium.
I would say that lead singer Brendon Urie was more theatrical than he’s ever been, but since the band used to put on fairly elaborate, circus-themed shows during the A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out years, I would probably be lying. He did seem distant from the audience, but I couldn’t figure out if it was due to Spencer’s absence or because they were opening rather than headlining. Their performance was great, though there was a bit more screaming in their songs than I expected.
Fall Out Boy’s set opened with a curtain drop that revealed the band in (Fall Out Boy-branded) ski masks and recent single “The Phoenix.” While the connection to the music video was appreciated, those ski masks caused some muffling. They continued with a healthy mix of songs from their repertoire, going a bit lighter on tracks from Take This To Your Grave and Folie a Deux. Pete Wentz added in bits and pieces about being an individual, ranging from more personal statements about it taking 32 years for him to be okay with himself, to things like “You guys are freaky on the inside and I fucking like it.” His messaging was a nice addition and never heavy-handed.
The first half of their set was up tempo with multiple selections from their newest album, Save Rock & Roll. Lead singer Patrick Stump slowed it down a bit on the piano for a solo rendition of “What a Catch Donnie.” He then transitioned into “20 Dollar Nose Bleed” and was quickly joined by Brendon Urie for the best part of the concert. After a fabulous collaboration and impressive stage flip from Brendon, the song ended with “Have you ever wanted to disappear?” and a cut to the lights. A video transition set the stage for an acoustic set of “I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)” and the ever popular “Grand Theft Autumn.” The band closed their set with the rock-heavy “I Don’t Care” and their comeback single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.”
The encore opened with the title track from Save Rock & Roll and featured a slide show that paid tribute to rock icons through the ages. The slide show included pictures of artists such as The Beatles, Nirvana, and David Bowie, and served as a moving tribute to the genre. They followed up with the angsty favorite “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” and a classic from Take This To Your Grave, “Saturday.”
All and all, it was a thoroughly awesome concert. I wish I could have seen Twenty One Pilots’s full set, but both Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy were thoroughly entertaining. Both bands have aged up their sound with their audiences and put on worthy performances. I’d go again in an instant.