Boys of Zummer concert
From the moment I went to my first concert I was in love with being near someone I had looked up to for many years standing directly in front of me and being surrounded with individuals whom I related to on an emotional level. The excitement, anticipation, and hype of getting to hear my favorite band live is just truly a blessing. Everything about concerts amazes me because of fearless members performing in front of thousands of people of all ages that are interested in their music.
In the summer of 2015, I had the great pleasure to attend a Fall Out Boy concert. Fall Out Boy is a pop-punk band hailing from Chicago Illinois. They’ve been in the music scene for over a decade, since 2001 to be specific and they’ve had the same four members through all these years. Fall Out Boy has grown to be one of the most famous pop-punk bands for today’s generation, but they wouldn’t be where they are now without the members that have stuck together through all these years.
Firstly, Pete Wentz, a phenomenal bassist hailing from Wilmette, Illinois, and the eldest one of the band. He’s had his “big break” in almost every possible way at his young age of 37. Owning a music label, hosting tattoo competitions, owning his own clothing line, running a film production company as well as a bar, and being a well-known philanthropist. He truly has done it all, which astonishes me.
Secondly, the shy, soft-spoken, highly tattooed drummer, Andy Hurly, is from the city of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Growing up in a small family that didn’t support his choice of lifestyle caused him to become suicidal. You wouldn’t be able to tell that he is very shy from the way he smashes his drums, and leads the beats to every song.
Next, we have the lead guitarist and backing vocalist, Joe Trohman. The youngest member, hailing from South Russell, Ohio, is known for his wicked curly hair that bounces as he rocks out on stage. He met bassist Pete Wentz in high school, where they mutually decided to create a rock band that would become a side project, but little did they know that Fall Out Boy would be one of the biggest bands of this generation!
Finally, Patrick Stump an incredible vocalist hailing from Evanston, Illinois, is the heart and soul of the band. He leads the band with his angelic, raspy vocals and his playing on the rhythm guitarist that makes the music comes alive. He is often judged because his appearance doesn’t match the typical lifestyle image of a rock or punk band. He is short, shy, always wears a fedora, and has no tattoos at all.
Fall Out Boy is the type of band that creates songs with deep, meaningful lyrics to adjust to their audience of listeners. If they continue to have major success in this industry, they must be doing something correct because if not they would be on the “One Hit Wonders” list with their debut single “Thanks for The Memories” “Thnks fr th mmrs” back in the great year of 2007. They were together many years before this song was released but to this day this song is the soul of their career.
I walked through the huge, metal gateway impatiently. I instantly noticed that the atmosphere was full of smoke. It was like the whole waterfront arena was full of fog with a mist of beer being thrown around. I pushed my shaky body through the crowd of thousands of fans waiting to buy the merchandise and expensive but delicious concessions. As I walked up the hard, grey concrete steps to the wide open pit, I could vaguely see everyone gathered around waiting for the concert to begin. I rushed over, getting a good spot directly in front of the stage. The stage was about a foot away; it wasn’t much taller than I was. I was near the hanging large, black speakers on the left side of the stage. I could not only smell but literally taste the weed in the air. It reminded me of skunk spray. It was revolting! The taste was vulgar and riveting as you’d expect; it made my taste buds want to jump out of my mouth, screaming for water.
It was 7 p.m. sharp and the music started thumping through the speakers, ricocheting off its surroundings, making the music much louder. At first, a DJ came on. No one paid attention to him because he wasn’t as good at being a DJ as people had anticipated. The second performance was MAX, a singer/songwriter from Manhattan, who got his start on Nickelodeon and making musical covers on YouTube. He is an average-height white male with an athletic, toned body, black/brown shaggy hair, and brown eyes. He is also a phenomenal dancer; In which I am pretty sure that he loves doing splits because he was doing them every five seconds, it seemed, and he gets straight into the beat up that his feet match it, and he sometimes looks like he is having a seizure on stage. I wasn’t familiar with much of his original music which ended up making it feel a little bland, but to say the least he did put on a good performance.
The third performance was Hoodie Allen, an independent rapper from Long Island. Unlike MAX, I was familiar with almost all of Hoodie’s music. Hoodie is an average height white male with an athletic body with dark brown short hair and brown eyes. He is energetic, loud, and genuine. He definitely knew how to get the party started. Hoodie’s voice could be described as guttural by the way he flows with the music but still manages to incorporate the audience in the lyrics. He has a tendency to flux his voice to match his movement. When he’s on stage he’s in his own little world, which includes sometimes not giving a crap about language. Mid-way through his performance, the beat of “All About Us” started to play containing a guest vocalist, Ed Sheeran, a British singer/songwriter that has had a lot of fame over the past few years. I didn’t expect to see Ed randomly appear on the screen in the background when it came his solo, not to mention that he was completely live which made it so much more real and overwhelming. As if Ed appearing wasn’t enough, the previous performer, MAX, leaped over the drummer, landing in a mid-split before hitting a high note to starting a collaboration song between both MAX and Hoodie Allen. Overall, the way he performs is commendable and displays a spark of electricity. His last song, “No Faith in Brooklyn,” is a personal favorite of mine. It is upbeat with incredible lyrics for a rap song. Instead of saying “Brooklyn,” he changed it to “Bangor” to match the city he was in. After that performance, I wasn’t sure how Fall Out Boy could’ve topped it.
A big box of screens slowly fell from the top of the stage to the floor, covering the stage completely. The screens played a video containing a black and white video clip of a girl screaming as a guy ran after her, with pop-ups of the bands members in red. It reminded me of a horror film trailer. The video went along with their recent album at the time, American Beauty/ American Psycho.
The lights dimmed then suddenly a row of gleaming lights shone directly onto the crowd, distracting us from the fact that Fall Out Boy was approaching the stage silently. As quick as the lights shone on us, they went away, and everything was pitch black once again. The beat started playing of their old hit “Sugar, We’re Coming Down” and then blue streaks of light popped up, showing the band playing, followed by a smoke machine. Patrick the lead singer only got the first two words of the song out before the crowd over-powered his voice, singing along. The most amazing part about this song is that Patrick’s voice vibes with the background music.
The waterfront went black, and then, with the beat of the drum, the lights came back on, showing an animated mountain in the background. Patrick swayed back and forth like he was hopped up on caffeine. After the second song ended, Pete, the bassist said a few spoken words about life not being so easy but that it was important to never give up. The third song approached with a fiery bang! It darkened, and then instantly, fire lit up the stage to the beat of Andy’s drums. Towards the end of the song Patrick sang the main part of “The Phoenix” while Joe and Pete yelled into their mics, “We’re the wasted one!” repeatedly, till the bridge of the song ends. The fire followed Patrick’s vibrato as he hit that ridiculous high note.
The fourth was a “way back” song from one of their first albums, “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me,”” which is a depressing love story, which ran into Pete’s next speech about suicide. “This next song is for anyone who said that they couldn’t make it but are here tonight, not just here with us at the concert but here all over the world surviving, even when it’s tough.” Thriller is such a phenomenal song with a deep lyrical meaning behind it. It’s a little slower than their other songs but it is still upbeat enough that you can bang your head to it but still completely understand the meaning behind the song.
All of their songs have a real deep, soothing lyrical connection to fans because they write about life experiences they’ve either been through or watched, whether being friends, family, or fans that have courageously gone through it. That led into the next song, “Alone Together,” which is about being depressed for not fitting in and the screen behind the band showed that vividly. It shows a bunch of fans with crazy hairstyles and different dress styles than anyone else you would see walking down the street. Fall Out Boy is a pop-punk/pop-rock band with a certain type of fans that are labeled as “weird sense of fashion because they feel unique it’s kind of stereotypical, but I think it defines what this genre of music Fall Out Boy focuses on.
After their rockier sounding sound about the battle for record labels, “This ain’t a scene, it’s an armrace,” ended, another black and white video following the same path as the first one played the band putting on the same mask as what is featured on their album cover. A white, plastic mask which half white representing “American Psycho”, half the American flag representing “American Beauty.” The video was a distraction for three fourths of the band to set up a small stage in the middle of the crowd to perform a lovely acoustic version of the hit song “Immortals” from the movie animation film Big Hero 6, along with an acoustic set of “Young Volcanos,” a ballad about the unpredictable younger generation, addressing the difference between males and females.
Before the lights even left the three boys in the middle of the crowd, Andy began a lively, powerful drum solo while they made their way through the fans back to the stage. It was a nice transition from a slow acoustic set to one of their most famous songs “Dance, Dance,” which that led into the song that the album was named after, “American Beauty/American Psycho.”
A song created around a woman in pop culture that was quirky and every single band member had a crush on, “Uma Thurman”, is based on the actress Uma Thurman, with samples from The Munsters TV show, and Quentin Tarantino. One line in the song, “I wanna dance like Uma Thurman,” references the famous movie Pulp Fiction. During this performance of the exploding hit, Pete Wentz wandered into the pit with not so subtle fans. He approached my side slowly but surely to greet fans during Joe’s solo. I touched his sweaty fingertips which made my heart start beating faster and faster. I was overjoyed. I could feel the creases in his fingers from holding his pick for a long amount of time. I was just amazed at how close he was and that I had actually gotten to touch him.
Another older hit, “I Don’t Care,” came on. The crowd screamed passionately. Then came their more recent hit, “Centuries,” which closed out the show, at least we all thought so, but I was a little confused that they hadn’t sung the one song that made them famous and the song that brought that back to life after their four-year hiatus. You could hear people moving around like they were going to leave, but suddenly, the music started back up and the song I said brought them back into the music scene after their hiatus began to play, “I Know What My Songs Did in The Dark (Light Em Up)”, bringing a shakiness to the ground as people cheered and jumped in excitement. The screen showed a black and white eye with a ticking clock as the pupil. I wasn’t positive about the meaning behind it but it gave me a chilling feeling through my body.
Before the last song was about to play Pete Wentz gave an emotional speech.” It’s cool to still come out and play these shows and see people that look like they don’t fit in with the rest of the world, like they’re outsiders. It’s great to be an outsider because any change isn’t going to come from within, any change is not going to come from the outside. Don’t let the rest of the world f**king scare you; each and every one of you are very very f**king powerful people, and don’t forget that” This speech made my heart beat because it felt like he was saying it directly at me. I was moved like a gush of emotional wind had hit me straight in the face.
Just when I thought the concert couldn’t get any better, Fall Out Boy brings out Hoodie Allen and MAX to end the show with the most famous Fall Out Boy tune of all time, “Thanks for the memories.” I could hear the crowd roaring at the top of their lungs, shaking the ground beneath my feet. I jumped, I screamed, I sang along. I was a typical fan, excited and flabbergasted at the sight of being in the front row of what will continue to be my favorite concert till the day I die because there is no way any other artist could pull off a better show than these performers attained that night.
After the show finally ended close to midnight, it started to sprinkle a bit, but I knew I couldn’t leave without a souvenir, so I approached the merchandise table where stood at least 50 others waiting for “merch” as well as myself. I squeezed myself through the crowd because I was in a rush. I got to the table, and it was selective because it was towards the end of the night and the merchandise for sold out for the most part. I grabbed a white t-shirt with the band in black and white on the front, and the concert dates printed on the back, along with some bracelets because at the time I had about 10 to 15 bracelets covering my arms, so what was some more?
I don’t think I slept that night because my mind was still recovering from the flamboyant, astonishing, and satisfying concert that literally made my heart skip a beat. It was magical. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. From getting to touch my favorite artists to being in the front row vibing with the crowd, and being inspired from the way each performer owned the stage and got along great with the crowd, to the inspiring and emotional speeches Pete Wentz spoke. I can’t say how much I loved every single thing about this concert. Nothing can ever top it, and if somehow another concert did, I would be flabbergasted.