MANHATTAN, NY—Of Fall Out Boy’s 15-year-long journey as an established band from Chicago, including their four-year hiatus, they have finally been able to bring their shows to venues of Madison Square Garden’s caliber. With them, AWOLNATION and Pvris got to show off their talent as the support for this U.S. tour, and I couldn’t have imagined better openers to get the crowd going for Fall Out Boy.
My night began on a train from New Jersey to New York Penn Station, which I could tell was filled with Fall Out Boy and Coheed And Cambria fans based on everyone’s choice of clothing—merch. Coheed was playing that night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The vibe from this train ride psyched me and everyone else up for the sold-out show I was about witness.
After getting to Madison Square Garden at around 7:10 p.m., there was not much waiting before the first band, Pvris, took the stage. The show was right on time, with the lights shutting off at exactly 7:30 p.m. and Pvris coming out and playing a short instrumental before beginning their set with “White Noise.” The second song was “St. Patrick,” which was originally just a single that released in 2014, but was then included on their debut album White Noise in 2015. The group continued with two more numbers and vocalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen showing off her fierce voice before performing their latest single, “You And I.” With this track only being a few weeks old, I thought it was incredible how many fans knew the lyrics and sang along. Their set ended after exactly 30 minutes with “My House.”
AWOLNATION’s set started at 8:20 with “Run.” Frontman Aaron Bruno was wearing an all-white jumpsuit and white shoes, and you could tell his energy was at its highest, along with the rest of the band’s. When the song reached its midpoint where the beat drops, the insane light production had the entire crowd, including me, in awe as we rocked out to these instrumentals. The group’s best choice was beginning their set with “Run.” After “Hollow Moon” and “Kill Your Heroes,” Bruno asked everyone to get out of their seats and a majority of the crowd listened and remained standing for the rest of their performance.
I always love those songs where everyone puts on the flashlight on their cell phones and lights up the whole venue, which happened during “I Am.” This slower number was followed by an intense drum solo by Isaac Carpenter, with the lights flickering along with the bass drum beat. As the guitar came in to join the drums, Bruno jumped around the stage so vigorously that I realized I was wrong when I said his energy was at its highest during the first song. Bruno signaled for the crowd to get low and said, “The cops are coming,” and followed with a countdown into the next beat drop where everyone went crazy. The 45-minute set ended with none other than AWOLNATION’s huge hit “Sail,” and then with Bruno chanting, “This is the AWOLNATION!” and the crowd echoing him. Fall Out Boy had a lot to live up to with this lively and impressive performance.
When the lights turned off for Fall Out Boy to finally come out, the large screens on stage lit up with a video that made you feel like you were riding through a snowstorm. Instead of the usual confetti explosions, this set began with a snow explosion to make the fans feel like we were right there in the screen. Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman, and Andy Hurley made their way to the stage playing “Irresistible” off their latest album, American Beauty/American Psycho. The energy was immense as they continued into some of their oldies like “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” and “Hum Hallelujah.” After their first six songs, the band stopped to take a group picture with the entire crowd.
FOB continued with a mix of old and new tracks like “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” “Novocaine,” “Dance, Dance,” and “Fourth Of July.” During “Save Rock & Roll,” a tribute was paid to David Bowie with a large, beautiful photo of him on the screen during the entirety of the song. The set ended with “Centuries,” before FOB came back out with an encore of “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” and their classic finale, “Saturday.” The encore was filled with pyrotechnics and fireworks, which always scares me when we’re in an indoor venue, but all went well.
My only complaint of FOB’s setlist isn’t that they played too much of their new material, but the classics that they cut to replace the new songs with from their previous setlists were ones I really wanted to hear, like “20 Dollar Nose Bleed” and “A Little Less Sixteen Candles.” Other than that, I think they did a great job with mixing their old and new material to accommodate for the wide range of fans. The crowd was filled with young adults who grew up loving FOB from the band’s beginning, as well as parents bringing their young children who weren’t even born yet when FOB formed.
Fall Out Boy, AWOLNATION, and Pvris all did a phenomenal job at entertaining myself and the 18,200 other people who made their way to Madison Square Garden that night. If you haven’t seen any of these bands live yet, you should get on that pronto!
Show date: March 4, 2016