The outdoor thermometer in my car reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit as my dad and I parked in front of the outdoor Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre in Phoenix. Being born and raised in Arizona, and being a seasoned concert-goer, I’ve never shied away from facing the heat to see a show. Luckily, my dad is my favorite concert buddy and he never says no to a little live music.
We’ve both been fans of Fall Out Boy for as long as we can remember. My brother is five years older than me and grew up at the height of emo music. Because of this, I grew up listening to whatever he was playing on his iPod Classic, FOB included. I was too young to be a super devoted fan when they went on their hiatus in 2009, but by the time they reunited in 2013, I was discovering my own emo bands to listen to. Save Rock and Roll was one of the first albums I truly fell in love with as I started exploring this genre of music and figuring out my music taste for myself.
Since then, FOB has never released an album that’s fallen short of expectations. All of their releases have that signature Fall Out Boy sound that fans love. When they released So Much (for) Stardust earlier this year and announced this tour, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve seen them live numerous times throughout the years and they have always put on a phenomenal show.
The concert started a few minutes late, but the wait was well worth it. The Brooklyn-based duo Daisy Grenade came out on stage with Riot, a song from their 2022 EP Cult Classic. Their entire set was a flurry of their signature riot grrl style. They are defined as a “power punk bubble grunge band,” and this could not be a more perfect description of their sound. I'd never heard of this group before, but I loved every moment of their set. Their interactions with the crowd made things even more exciting and kept everyone wanting more. When researching them later, I learned that they're mentored by Pete Wentz, FOB’s bassist and “THE emo prince of our generation.” This only makes their musicianship and stage presence more spectacular and ties them into the tour perfectly.
Daisy Grenade onstage
Next on the lineup was another band I’d never heard of, Royal and the Serpent. Fronted by Ryan Santiago, an LA-based singer-songwriter, Royal and the Serpent is a blend of indie and electro-pop with a classic pop-punk undertone. With Santiago’s dreamy vocals and a thrilling guitar section, they kept the audience captivated with every song. This was only amplified when they broke out into a cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. With only one song left, they closed out their set with a rock version of their 2020 hit Overwhelmed.
Visual display for Royal and the Serpent
I was disappointed to find out that Bring Me The Horizon would not be playing that night. I’ve been a fan of them since 2012, but it’s been at least eight years since I last saw them live and I was so ready to relive the magic of their set. However, due to an unforeseen family emergency, it was announced that they could not play that night and would resume the tour the next night in Chula Vista, California.
Soon, it was time for Fall Out Boy to come on. I had seen them at this same venue back in 2015 when they went on their MonumenTour with Paramore and New Politics. Upon research for this review, I learned that it was also where they recorded their first live album, Live in Phoenix back in 2007. This only added to the magic as they commanded the stage with Love From The Other Side, the lead single from their latest album. The stage lit up with pyrotechnics and an explosion of sound that the audience loved from start to finish. There were cleverly placed set pieces and props that amplified the band’s already dominating stage presence.
Fall Out Boy onstage
They played a blend of new songs, like Fake Out and Hold Me Like A Grudge, and their classic hits, including Dance, Dance, Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, and Centuries. FOB was also celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album Take This to Your Grave and they played the lesser-known Homesick at Space Camp from that album for the first time since 2013. At one point, frontman Patrick Stump took to the piano to sing Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia) live for the first time ever. The band then played a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, electrifying the summer air even more.
Patrick Stump on stage
From there, they played Save Rock and Roll, after which Wentz stood atop the piano, pulling a cloth over himself and magically disappearing. The lights went out, and seconds later, Wentz was across the venue in front of the sound tech board. The audience was amazed, and no one knew exactly how he did it. This was truly a testament to how they are constantly upping the ante of their live shows.
By the end, fans were left with the satisfying feeling of nostalgia and adrenaline. As we exited the venue, the red curtains closed and a cursive “The End” spotlight appeared while an orchestral version of So Much (for) Stardust played us out. My dad and I had the best time, and we’re both counting down the days for them to return. I love writing about them almost as much as I love hearing them play, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to do both again.
Written By Tessa Brainard
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