Sure, they’re tag-team repping pop-punk in the mainstream almost singlehandedly, but their likeness these days runs deeper than that. They’re two bands riding victory laps from No. 1 albums (and Hot 100 hits) born out of the hardship of an uncertain hiatus (Fall Out Boy) and a near breakup (Paramore). And like two peas in this pop-punk pod, they’re both in the early stages of writing new music, looking at the Monumentour — their first ever significant tour together — as one last chance to shine before going into temporary retreat.
Paramore’s live act, honed on their Self-Titled headlining tour and even at sea, has become near-untouchable in this album cycle, though circumstance still let Fall Out Boy steal the show. Hayley Williams & Co. played a twilight set filled with streamers and confetti; Fall Out Boy’s nighttime headlining slot let them punctuate the decisive moments of “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” with pyrotechnics.
Fall Out Boy played eight of the 11 tracks from last year’s “Save Rock and Roll” — a bold move for a band touring behind what still was, technically, a comeback album. But even up against “Dance, Dance” and “Thnks fr the Mmrs,” those new cuts pummeled and pulverized, right down to non-singles like “Just One Yesterday” and “Death Valley.” Forget pop-punk, these are soulful arena epics, written with Fall Out Boy’s world-conquering, genre-defending aspirations in mind. And on second thought, do remember pop-punk, because Fall Out Boy still played “Grand Theft Autumn” and even closed with “Saturday,” with Pete Wentz handing off bass duties to a tech and screaming along with Patrick Stump, knelt over into the crowd, for the latter.
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It was a set filled with crowd-connecting moments, as a maturing, post-hiatus Fall Out Boy honed in on what it means to music these days. Wentz kept the serious speeches to a minimum, though he dropped the doozy, “If you love Fall Out Boy that just means you love yourself,” and gave a shout out to the parents on hand (after reminiscing on dragging his to Quicksand shows) and dedicated an abbreviated cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” to the moms and dads.
And then there were the nods to Fall Out Boy’s other frequent reference points: hip-hop (beats from Jay Z’s “99 Problems” and Watch the Throne’s “Ni**as In Paris” were busted out), unabashed showmanship (Stump challenged FOB drummer Andy Hurley to a convincing drum-off) and a generational passing of the torch, as Wentz urged his spectators to go out and start their own bands.
And speaking of passing along the torch, Paramore were just as brilliant as advertised in their just-over-an-hour opening set. Teal-haired Williams and company can rock just as hard as Fall Out Boy and have the hits to match; there’s really no reason to believe they couldn’t have stolen the show as well with a headlining spot. A relatively short set forced Paramore to skip near-essentials like “Crushcrushcrush” and “Now,” though the band deserves applause avoiding an auto-pilot hits-only set and peppering in some surprises. Diehards noticed they cleverly followed the keep-the-faith anthem “Let the Flames Begin” with “II,” a song off the 2013 self-titled album meant as a follow-up to the fiery “Riot” cut. And on the populist side, Paramore closed with “Ain’t It Fun,” the band’s current radio smash and biggest single to date.
Paramore are evolving into a hard-rockin’ pop act and by leaving the stage to that top 10 tune, Williams hinted at what the future holds for her band. Another couple “Ain’t It Funs” and Paramore could be bigger than Fall Out Boy. But competition is hardly needed between these torch-bearers, and after all, the Monumentour is just getting started.
Here’s the set list from Paramore’s performance:
“Still Into You”
“That’s What You Get”
“For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic”
“The Only Exception”
“Let It Happen”
“Let the Flames Begin”
“Ain’t It Fun”
And here’s the set list from Fall Out Boy’s performance:
“The Take Over, The Break’s Over”
“A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me”
“This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”
“Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”
“Miss Missing You”
“Just One Yesterday”
“Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy”
“We Are the Champions” (Queen cover)
“Save Rock and Roll”
“I Don’t Care”
“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)”
“Thnks fr the Mmrs”