Fall Out Boy Manchester AO Arena review – 10/10, no notes

This year marks 20 years since the release of Fall Out Boy’s first album, Take This To Your Grave. And to celebrate, last night’s sell-out show at Manchester’s AO Arena took us right back to the beginning, with a 27-song setlist spanning the emo pop rockers’ entire career. There was Chicago Is So Two Years Ago and Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy, then Sugar We’re Going Down, A Little Less Sixteen Candles and Dance Dance from sophomore release Under The Cork Tree. “It’s insane we’re playing songs off this record 20 years later – and in an arena,” said bassist Pete Wentz, looking around the 21,000 or so strong crowd. And indeed it was a masterclass in giving us what we wanted – the hits. One after the other they came, a veritable wrecking ball of fan favourites.

The staging was good too – and in a welcome break from the space theme we’ve seen A LOT lately there was a rotating starfish, a giant moving doberman head, a part-owl-part-tree contraption, a magic eight ball and fire – lots and lots of fire, including from out of Pete’s guitar. 

There was even a magic trick, as a hoody-clad Pete disappeared from behind a black sheet atop a piano, appearing again at the back of the area on a small stage in the crowd. 

From start to finish there was plenty of interest, and importantly – fun. 

The band – singer and guitarist Patrick Stump, Pete on bass, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley – looked to be having a good time. 

They spoke a lot, which gave us a little slice of them. 

“Guilty pleasures is the stupidest phrase we have – why would you feel bad for liking what you like?” mused Pete. 

“There are a lot of you here,” said Patrick. “I have little kids so I try not to swear, so I’m like ‘jiminee there’s a lot of you’.” 

Poking fun at his long hair, beautifully balayaged, Pete said, “I was on an aeroplane a few months ago and someone said, ‘Is the wig so people won’t recognise you?’”

Patrick’s voice was great throughout, particularly during a pared back piano rendition of What A Catch, Donnie, Golden and Don’t Stop Believin’ a cover of the huge Journey hit, 

And in general, the sound at the AO Arena was clear – the best I’ve heard.

Ending on My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up), Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, Centuries and Saturday it was banger after banger to close the show, with the band forgoing an encore to fit more in. 

A high to end a show without any lows. 

Others should take note – that’s how you do it. 

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