Was it “remember me for centuries” or “thanks for the memories even though they weren’t so great” for the seasoned Chicago rock band last night at London’s SSE Wembley Arena?
The atmosphere was buzzing even in the queue as fans eagerly awaited one of their favourite bands. People surged into the venue as soon as the doors opened; running and jostling for positions in order to get as close to the stage as possible. Finally, the lights dim and the opening support act Charley Marley comes out to try and warm up the crowd. Marley, a London born rapper, is a new signing for Bassist Pete Wentz’s label “DCD2 Records” and seemed ecstatic to be playing to the sold out audience. The high point of Marley’s performance was a brief appearance by Wentz himself doing backing vocals which drove the crowd wild, creating an electric atmosphere. Whilst his set was short, around twenty minutes, he showed his ability to work the crowd and get them fired up with his impressive stage presence.
After a short break, Matt and Kim hit the stage. The “partners in crime” from Brooklyn had an unusual set up with Kim on drums whilst Matt was on the keyboard and vocals. The combination of their infectious enthusiasm and catchy, cheerful songs made it impossible to dislike them. They soon had the crowd bouncing and singing along. Midway through their set they threw balloons into the audience; asking them to blow them up and then get them to the back of the arena in any way possible at the drop in their next song. This whipped the crowd into a frenzy as people jumped and bounded around trying to hit the balloons back in a tsunami of colour. The dynamic duo thanked the audience for being supportive even though we were probably wondering “who these grinning idiots” were, which only served to make them even more endearing. By the end of their set the feeling in the crowd was electric and adrenaline was high.
Unfortunately any excitement Matt and Kim had created was swiftly obliterated by Professor Green who came out performing a couple of well known songs such as Be Good to Green and Read All About it. His downfall however was a poorly balanced set, with the bass so loud that his lyrics were lost. If the bass was uncomfortable to begin with it became unbearable during the breakdown of one song late in the performance, making most of the standing audience cover their ears, which only made it marginally less painful to listen too. One couldn’t help feeling that Green was more than a little bit out of place at a Fall Out Boy gig, despite the band’s transition to a more “pop” sound; and upon its completion his set was promptly forgotten.
Finally, it was time for what the crowd was there for… Fall Out Boy. The lights dimmed and an intro video played behind which the band and crowd silently prepared themselves. Once this was over the band launched themselves into an energetic Sugar We’re Going Down. If the organisers had overlooked the band’s past Fall Out Boy sure as hell didn’t, playing many crowd favourites from their six studio albums such as: The Phoenix; Jet Pack Blues; I Don’t Care; and Thnks Fr Th Mmrs. At the midway point the band disappeared momentarily only to play a couple of intimate acoustic songs on the small stage on the arena floor. The latter half of the set was even more hectic with the band playing their cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat it, which received praise from the King of Pop himself at its release. The half was punctuated nicely by an anecdote from Pete about a Native American proverb pertaining to mental health and getting through dark points in life. After the final song (Centuries) the lights faded to black – but the crowd clearly had other ideas and began to sing the first song of the encore My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark before the band had even returned to the stage. The Foursome ended their encore and the show in the traditional way: an energetic performance of Saturday and a large thrashing mosh pit.
Fall Out Boy did everything right: they had great chemistry together and their stage presence had improved from their last London show just over two years ago, not long after the release of their comeback album. They had a superb set list which served to please fans both new and old. The atmosphere in the crowd was as energetic and fun as ever and the mosh pits in many of the faster paced songs kept things moving. It was a shame that Professor Green didn’t manage to build on Matt and Kim’s momentum but by no means did that spoil what was otherwise a great evening of fantastic music.