Walking into the LC Pavilion and seeing an empty stage was startling. But hearing Hoodie Allen somewhere in the distance rapping, “Face down, a– up, that’s the way we like to…” confirmed that the Boys of Zummer tour, with co-headliners Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy, was indeed happening here.
Walking back into the parking lot where a mega-stage had been constructed confirmed that a lot has changed since the first time I saw Fall Out Boy play eight years ago.
A girl asking me to hold her hair as she puked during “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” further confirmed that sentiment. And made me feel like a mother.
But let’s rewind and talk more about this parking lot. The stage was set in the large parking lot behind LC Pavilion. When I last saw Fall Out Boy two years ago in the same venue, it was on the typical outdoor stage. The benefits of that setup is a smaller, more intimate pit and a grassy hill surrounding the stage, feigning some sort of closeness in an outdoor setting.
A parking lot is a parking lot. It fits a whole sea of people. It also fit a smaller, second stage right in the middle of everyone. The sea swarmed that stage when Wiz Khalifa appeared on it, doing a call and response to “Taylor Gang.”
Another benefit of a larger audience is the assumption that they will be louder. The screams in response to questions like “Columbus, how are you doing tonight?” were noticeably tepid. When Wiz Khalifa’s set ended, there was no call for an encore. Instead, it was just apathetic like “okay, that’s over,” and a continuation of taking selfies and Snapchats.
Did you know that some girls intentionally take candid photos with each other? It’s a paradox I wouldn’t be able to understand if I hadn’t witnessed it myself.
Less about the people though and more about what I came to see: Fall Out Boy.
Fall Out Boy opened with a video that looked like a Hollywood blockbuster. It created a narrative out of their latest album, “American Beauty/American Psycho.” It’s nothing new for Fall Out Boy to create dramatic videos for their songs.
What was new for Fall Out Boy this time is they seemed to try to reinvent their old songs. They opened with “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” a classic off of their album “From Under the Cork Tree” — an album which I think was their peak, but that’s another story. The song had a more uptempo and — besides Pete Wentz’s throwback scream at the bridge — the lyrics seemed to be sung in a more cheery, pop fashion.
The song no longer sounded like one you would angstily listen in your bedroom as a teenager. It sounded like something that could be played during a highly anticipated sporting event.
“A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More ‘Touch Me’” received the same revamp. Lines like “She said, she said, she said, ‘why don’t you just drop dead,’” were sped up so that previous pauses were eliminated. Pauses let a song have emphasis. This version just sounded like every other new song of Fall Out Boy’s.
I have no problem with Fall Out Boy’s new songs. I love when “Centuries” plays during the World Cup or Buckeye football games. They’re energizing songs. I guess I just miss the emo ones too.
I miss when the band didn’t feel like a product.
But their personal, acoustic session on the second stage and Andy Hurley’s intense drum solo following, proved that it is a well-done product. The merch line that wrapped around the parking lot and the fact that it was even taking place in the parking lot proves that it’s a product that sells.
Me sitting here, still writing about a band that I loved when I was 12 years old, proves that nostalgia might keep them going.