Although their tour is called “Mania,” veteran rock group Fall Out Boy was able to organize a packed Nationwide Arena and turn it into one of the most intimate concerts I’ve ever been to.
Lead singer Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman, drummer Andy Hurley and bassist Pete Wentz returned to Columbus on Sunday night for the first time since 2015, and they did not disappoint.
Even though they’re currently on an arena tour, there were no elaborate costumes, dancers or stage designs. It felt like I was just watching four old friends playing their favorite songs for thousands of people.
Going into this show, my expectations were mixed. I’ve seen the band perform one other time, five years ago at the New York State Fair. It started pouring rain halfway through their set, but the band continued performing for one of the best concert memories I’ve ever had.
I wasn’t sure how that would translate to an indoor venue, but seeing them at Nationwide Arena proved to me they haven’t missed a step
Even though the band is currently on tour supporting their latest album “Mania,” their setlist effortlessly weaved through songs from just about every album in their catalog, something old and new fans could appreciate.
Some personal highlights for me were “The Phoenix,” which featured a cameo from Wentz’s flame-throwing guitar, “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” and “Young and Menace.”
The band also sprinkled visual treats in its set as it flashed clips of animated film “Big Hero 6” when it performed “Immortals,” a song from the film’s soundtrack. They also displayed scenes of classic films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill” when they performed “Uma Thurman,” an homage to the renowned actress.
Even though Stump is the lead singer of the band and all four members have substantial individual fanbases, Wentz did all of the talking and crowd interaction between songs, from throwing on a Columbus Blue Jackets jersey to acknowledging fan-made signs.
However, throughout the 90-minute set, each member had their time to shine.
Stump brought out a grand piano and put on his best Elton John impression for “Save Rock & Roll” and also performed a stripped-down piano solo of “Young and Menace.” Prior to “Save Rock & Roll,” Wentz took some time to invite members from the crowd to the side of the stage to get a closer look, including a fan who apparently has been to 100 Fall Out Boy concerts. The biggest solo highlight for me was Hurley’s drum solo, which had him suspended above the crowd playing along to popular hip-hop songs like “Humble” and “XO Tour Life.”
Before the band hit the stage, rapper Machine Gun Kelly kept the crowd on their feet for an electric performance, during which he performed songs like “Bad Things,” “Let You Go” and “Rehab.” He also dedicated his performance of “Home” to musicians Mac Miller and Chester Bennington, who both passed away this year.
The highlight of his set that received the biggest crowd reaction was his performance of his viral Eminem diss track, “Rap Devil.” When the track ended he jumped off the stage and literally took a lap around the entire floor of Nationwide Arena, interacting with every fan he passed.
Even as an opening act, Kelly commanded everyone’s attention and had such high energy that I wouldn’t be surprised if he began headlining his own arena shows soon. As a Cleveland native, Kelly made sure to let the crowd know how much he loved Ohio during his performance of “Till I Die.”
Ending their set with “Centuries,” “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” and “Saturday,” Fall Out Boy made sure everyone in Nationwide Arena had a night they’d never forget.