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Fall Out Boy Falls Flat

Bank Arts Center - Holmdel, NJ, United States - June 6, 2007

by Kristin Biskup

Fall Out BoyFall Out Boy has become a common household name over the last few months almost to the magnitude of punk rock predecessor, Green Day. I can't believe that the little emo band that I had in my CD player years ago blew up the airways so fast and with such a force. Who knew a struggling indie band from Chicago could become a band that is headlining arenas.

Not all the news about the four musicians has been positive. One blatant reason for the band's success and introduction to the mass public stemmed from the infamous photos taken of bassist, Pete Wentz, that were leaked onto the internet. Pubescent girls became infatuated with Pete and the rest of the band along with the story hungry media. I was curious whether the newly mainstream band could put their broadened egos aside and play a good show.

Even before playing the first show on their Honda Civic tour, FOB knew how to draw the crowds with a jaw dropping lineup. The first opening act, Cobra Starship, claim to fame was providing their talents for the theme song to the cult movie "Snakes on a Plane." What surprised me was the next performer on the tour roster. Paul Wall is a rapper who, in the mist of teenagers with eyes drenched in black eyeliner, looked out of place. He gave a good performance on stage and tried to get the audience involved by smartly giving out t-shirts from his clothing promoter. However, the crowd reaction still stood flat. Next up was the band The Academy Is..., who unexpectedly had more energy and charisma than both Cobra Starship and Paul Wall combined. The skinny emo singer, William Beckett, made sure that his band's presence was known to the venue by covering every part of the stage. He bravely climbed and danced over the drum set and riser. He pulled in fans with a magnetic force by sitting on the front stage speakers and singing his heart out to concert goers. There was no wonder as to why the band had a three hour signing line after their set. To top off the opening acts was the band that already had the spotlight since two members of the band were from the late epic band known as Blink-182. The +44 members included Mark Hoppus (bass and vocals) and Travis Barker (drums and keyboard) who commanded the stage with the experience and showmanship they had acquired over the years with Blink. The opening lineup was like a buffet to the pickiest of eaters. There was a variety and diversity of music where everyone was satisfied.

This tour had an endless list of guest appearances. Paul Wall and William Beckett (The Academy Is...) guest sang for Cobra Starship, Pete Wentz (FOB) guest sang for The Academy Is..., and some random sound guy sang for Fall Out Boy. The bands weren't shy to help out their fellow emo rockers with their live sets.

The Academy IsWhen Fall Out Boy exploded onto the stage, they did so literally. The four members were launched out of trap doors in the floor. It looked similar to the way the pop sensation Destiny's Child started their performances. FOB's set was full of bright lights, fast paced movies reels, burning hot fire, and dazzling confetti. The bassist and guitarist even transported themselves to a platform in the middle of the crowd to play a song.

The musical performance by FOB was superb with every note strung and every word sung. It was a close clone to listening to their very well produced album. Video clips were shown of Wentz's movement called Displace Me to help displaced people in Uganda . I was proud to see that their fame was being used in a worthwhile way.

However, the musicians lacked one special element that The Academy Is... had in their set- fan interaction. The attitude on stage was that of a circus clown dressed up to perform, yet put no heart into his work. Many longtime fans even commented that the four piece seemed to lack passion and honesty in their performance. FOB is forgetting who brought them to their current superstar status. But then again it is hard to have a heartfelt connection with your fans when there is more screaming in the crowd than singing. At times the noise could be compared to the reaction thought to be brought by a pop boy band.

All in all, it was a very diverse tour even though Fall Out Boy's performance stood a little flat. Only time will tell if the four boys from Chicago can keep on the path to continuous superstardom or if they let the taste of success ruin their music careers.