Venue: Fort Canning Park, Singapore
Date: 6th August 2013
Promoter: Live! Empire
Review by: Fadhil R.
Special Thanks: Live! Empire, Phish Communications
Thirteen years or less into their career, Fall Out Boy stand head and shoulders above the efforts of many pop rock contemporaries, and the borders of Fort Canning Park, Singapore have been awash with many epic bands, including FOB themselves performing with their remarkable atmospheric sounds. Pretty much what you expect from them as they shot themselves back into the rock industry frame after a four-year hiatus.
The venue did little to discourage the opening band that came all the way from Melbourne, as EMPRA launched their set with a sense of urgency to offer some positively good mood to those in attendance. It’s not often you rub the feel good factor and rock music together beautifully, but that night EMPRA did know how to work the crowd. Their performance is polished and their engaging stage presence was enough to throw up fists in the air on tempo, with songs like “Only Love” and “Doesn’t Make Much Sense” in particular. “You know Fall Out Boy is back there.” The frontman of EMPRA teased the sizeable crowd that their enthusiasm and appreciation are as catchy as their own riffs. Twenty minutes of crushing rock from the band received a loud applause by the audience as EMPRA bowed out with the longest “forever” ever sung by their loyal fans to actually make this band more likeable.
Playing as good as Fall Out Boy isn’t easy at the best of times, but in that kind of heat the boys are going to soak in on stage, it’s hard to know whether Andy Hurley (drummer) is shirtless because of the weather or if it is part of his usual routine. The boys-to-men are no strangers in getting the crowd pumped up at the start as they stormed onto the stage with Thriller. The crowd however was eager to start up the circlepit and shouting along to classics as “I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Write About Me” and “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”” were echoed right back at the band along with the upbeat of vibes that poured from the stage. “Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes” got the rock party started as the band readied the stage with Patrick Stump, the lead vocalist smiling expansively, telling the crowd “Oh yeah, Singapore, we really do miss you.”
Their sound is monstrous and they played a very appealing set so far with lots of material from their new album, Save Rock and Roll. Age is nothing but a number as Patrick can still sing to equate their recent record and has no problem making use of the stage as the band powered through their set with “The Phoenix” and “Alone Together”. Pete Wentz’s random growling in between songs was like an undercover, or perhaps I’m the only one who noticed that. Either way, witnessing “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” is like watching a tsunami hit crowd in slow motion as they jump in unison causing a virus where everyone became ape-shit crazy. This obviously doesn’t bother guitarist Joe Trohman as he thrashes around, spitting short guitar solos at a handful of people who chose to adore him only. He does have an engaging stage presence with his prominent afro hair even when the lights went out. By then, FOB had hit their stride as the unmistakable tune of “Death Valley” was heard, resulting in a circle pit, jumping bodies, and smashing heads from left to right. It seems almost like “What a Catch, Donnie” was going to break the spell of cheering throughout but the slower rhythm only threw off the chaotic scene temporarily.
And so the cycle resumes. Disappointing is not the word when it comes to FOB as “Hum Hallelujah” from the Infinity On High album embraced the crowd with awe. I repeat, the word disappointing certainly can’t be used to describe the band’s display that night. “Young Volcanoes” featured Patrick Stump on his acoustic guitar, in which he showcased himself a mesmerizing musician. Stunning visuals came from the ray of lights going wild. Backed by more lights, Patrick and the gang hit the ground running that shook the speaker stacks. Big grins on their faces.
As soon the quartet brought the same level of intensity from the start, I myself knew any true FOB fan will know a measure of brilliance is all part of what makes the FOB sound what it is. Nostalgic hits like “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy”, “Sugar We’re Going Down”, “Dance Dance”, and “I Don’t Care”, was a heck of a combination being played live back to back. Their energy is certainly infectious and the band had enough tricks up their sleeves to produce a pounding performance nearing the end of their set. Fingers crossed their promised other new materials will surface soon; the fact that ‘this is the end’ kind of feeling hangs over the crowd just made my first time experiencing Fall Out Boy very real. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” ended the set in glorious fashion – it was significantly better live rather than it was on the radio. The crowd seemed trippy and clueless, as supposedly FOB didn’t offer much of a memorable goodbye as they left the stage quietly.
Before the band returned for an encore, everyone was singing themselves silly to a shitload of great songs. Those pesky gremlins sure know how to get everyone delighted as the band went right back up on stage to finish what they started with last few killer tracks. The crowd seemed completely comfortable at first as Patrick this time took his role on the piano. “Save Rock and Roll” got the pulse pumping hard once again with a slideshow of iconic rock musicians as the backdrop; soon enough “Beat It” ensued. If Michael Jackson was still alive, he could have left a part of his songwriting skills for FOB to admire and continue his legacy from there. The band’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, especially the chorus, made me grin, sing, and raise my two fists in the air. The majority of the crowd gave out rather youthful energy on “Thnks fr th Mmrs” as huge choruses rolling off the stage as the troupe belted out superb song after superb song, with “Saturday” to officially end the night. The masses were not anxious to leave, but instead stirred things up by staying around looking for loopholes in the security to go backstage.
Fall Out Boy simply oozes rock power with their recent album; a prime example that the band has got every chance to realize their full potential as a result. Thank god they are back to make this a truly convincing effort on their Save Rock And Roll Tour. All hail Fall Out Boy and Live Empire for bringing them in!