Sunday, April 10, 2016

Concert Review: Fall Out Boy @ BJCC Legacy Arena - Birmingham, Alabama, 03/17/16

If you look at my charts, the band Fall Out Boy lands at my number 10 spot of all time most listened to artists.  Save Rock and Roll is listed as my most listened to FOB album but that's mostly due to my kid's love for it.  They requested it incessantly the summer after it was released.  The second most listened to FOB album on my charts is Infinity On High, which is all me.

Infinity On High was FOB's third album.  I had liked a couple of their songs off their second album From Under The Cork Tree but Infinity On High was my lyrical crack back then.  It still is.  Pete Wentz's incredibly smart, witty, biting, sometimes touching and even vulnerable lyrics never fail to give me what I need as a lyric whore.  From start to finish, whether it's hashing over budding love, the disbelief that true love exists even while in the midst of it, all the way to the bitterness of the whole sham when it's over, it's all a mine for word junkies like myself.

Fall Out Boy consists of vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist and songwriter Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley.  They hail from Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

When I saw that the Fall Out Boy "Wintour Is Coming" tour planned a stop in Birmingham, I purchased tickets right away.  My husband (you can call him "E") and my 14 year old daughter, Grace, went with me.  We were all very excited to finally see one of our favorite bands in concert.  Although we had good floor seats, they aren't press passes, y'all, so I was only able to capture a few decent pictures.

The band opened very energetically to the newer "Irresistible", followed by the older "Sugar, We're Goin' Down".  And so the concert went, ping ponging between the old and the new, something for every age of fan, no matter how long they'd been FOB addicts.

My favorite part of the entire concert, however, was when they sang "Save Rock And Roll", a song I've never really liked much, even if Elton John guests on it - maybe BECAUSE Elton guests on it.  The band made this song dearer to my heart, though, when they did a David Bowie tribute on the huge screen behind them during this song.  It fit so well and seamlessly into the performance.  It was touching yet not gratuitous or opportunistic.  It drew a lot of applause and cheers, as it well should have.

As far as sound, the band sounded great, no complaints there.  They were energetic and interactive with the crowd.  Pete even shared that although he never got to live his dream of playing basketball in packed arenas, he was playing and singing to packed arenas.  He encouraged the crowd, especially the great number of youth in attendance, not to give up on their dreams.  He emphasized that dreams still come true, just in different ways than what we imagined or wanted sometimes.

Band members would sometimes run up and down the runways on each side and middle of the stage to give fans from every angle a closer look.  As mentioned before, FOB played a great mix of early and later songs, a total of 22 songs.  They certainly did not skimp on the amount of entertainment they brought to their fans that night.

All in all, it was a good, solid concert put on by a band who clearly still enjoys what they do, clearly still have the talent, and certainly belong where they are.  But I left feeling underwhelmed, as did E.  Gracie was over the moon, and gladly spent my 30 bucks to buy a tee shirt, but she is 14 years old and still easily wowed.  In other words, maybe not as jaded as her old Mom.

This "meh" feeling left me upset and worried because I couldn't pinpoint it.  FOB did their job.  What I finally nailed down is this:  I'm used to seeing acts in a much smaller venue, namely Iron City Birmingham, which holds 1300 people.  A huge arena like that,  it's a drain on the energy, no matter how good the band is.  I think you have to be bigger than life, like Foo Fighters big, to electrify an arena that size and sustain it all performance long.

I've seen Kid Rock and Maroon 5 at this same arena and although Kid Rock was marginally more electric just because, umm, he's Kid Rock and kicked ass in concert, I was still left with "meh" to some extent.  Adam Levine and his super hot body in a leather jacket, although the stuff of dreams, just can't make the jump into my Top Concerts of All Time because I can't feel a connection with an artist in that big of a venue.

I have come to the conclusion that I'm just a small venue kind of chick.

Would I buy tickets to see FOB again in the future?  No, not unless they were playing in a smaller venue.  If for some crazy reason, they were playing Iron City Birmingham?  I would get tickets somehow, someway, because they would rock that place to the ground.  Do I regret seeing them?  Absolutely not.  One of my favorite bands of all time?  I'm happy I can cross them off my list of concerts and I even found a couple new favorites that I had crossed off long ago as not liking at the time.  

I remember when I lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, right after Infinity On High had dropped and FOB were getting crazy famous, rocketing to the top but still playing smaller venues.  The band had been in town the night before and I was driving home.  In driveways along the way, youth had shoe polished their car windows with "FOB" the band member's names, and "FOB or BUST" all over.  This was on multiple cars, in multiple driveways along the way.  I wish I had seen THAT FOB, at THAT point in time, with THOSE fans, in THAT venue.

Are there any concerts you were incredibly looking forward to and just walked away with that "meh" feeling through no fault of the band?  Which band was it?  Would you see them again?  Let me know in the comments!

'Till next time, y'all!


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