Fall Out Boy Brings Fast-Moving Reunion To New York: Live Review

The security guards at the Studio at Webster Hall hated Fall Out Boy's show on Tuesday night (Feb. 5).

Throughout the 90-minute performance, two huge men acted as offensive linemen while flanking lead singer Patrick Stump, trying to steer the onslaught of crowd-surfers away from the minuscule stage. A 400-capacity venue is no place for a Fall Out Boy show -- especially one that goes down one night after the previously defunct pop-punk group announces a reunion, a new album and a sprawling tour -- to go down. Understandably, fans were gliding upon the hands of their emo brethren by the first verse of the first song, "Thriller," and the taller crowd-surfers were knocking their sneakers against the multicolored stage lights attached to the too-low ceiling. The venue's security team continuously motioned for the audience to back away from the stage, even prompting the band to make multiple pleas for some breathing room. When someone would surf his or her way onstage, the guards corralled the unexpected guest with very little patience. Basically, it was a miserable hour and a half for the gentlemen expected to keep peace in the Studio while everyone surrounding them was partying like it was 2005.

The members of Fall Out Boy, on the other hand, couldn't have looked happier. In their second show together since 2009, Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman were all beaming, as the band's co-leaders Stump and Wentz engaged in jokey conversations in between bleeding-heart speeches to the rapturous crowd. In one moment, Wentz would command his admirers to pull their cell phones out and take a photo of the quartet, "if you need some sort of proof" that, yes, Fall Out Boy really is back together; in the next, the bassist would tell his onlookers, "Take little snapshots in your head so you remember how perfect this moment is." During the show, Billboard.com social media editor Sarah Maloy mentioned that, when she saw the group in the fall of 2009 right before the breakup was announced, it looked like the four members couldn't bear standing next to each other. On Tuesday night, the four guys were all smiles, and often gazed out into the masses with recharged confidence.

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Although Fall Out Boy's reunion was dropped onto fans swiftly and suddenly on Monday, it's obvious that the group has been figuring out how to play together again for a while. Songs like "This Ain't a Scene, It's An Arms Race," "Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy" and "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me" featured finely sanded edges, and although Fall Out Boy performed the same hits-packed setlist as their show at Chicago's Subterranean club on Monday night, no one seemed to particularly mind. If anything, the deeper cuts like "Honorable Mention" and "Calm Before The Storm" seemed to register more of an impact than the group's radio fare, since much of the crowd was composed of diehards lucky enough to score tickets to the intimate event. Everyone knew that "Sugar, We're Going Down" was coming; "Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today" was a treat that people had been waiting literally years to hear live again.

"My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)" was the only new song performed, and the audience reaction to the fresh single was generous enough. This string of exclusive shows (which will end on Thursday night at the Roxy in Los Angeles) is not about pimping out the band's upcoming album, "Save Rock and Roll," but a brief thank-you to the FOB lovers who had been waiting for their white knights to return to -- and save? -- the fledgling pop-punk scene. "We missed you guys a lot," Stump declared early in the evening. Enough said.