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Fall Out Boy Takes it Home to Wrigley Field for Mania Tour

By Ella Ilg, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Wilmette-native band Fall Out Boy took it home to Chicago on September 8, performing for an audience of tens of thousands at Wrigley Field. Adjacent to the show, the band also cultivated the “MANIA Experience” a series of rooms built to express the different ideas of the album, ending with a pop-up shop that carried exclusive merchandise.

I’ve never been a concert goer, and the only music festival I’ve ever been to has been Warped Tour, which I’ve only attended once. I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be walking into at my first concert. A flurry of emo kids not knowing how to take the CTA? Oxygen deprivation from cheering in the nosebleed section? I had no idea.

For my first concert, it was amazing—not that I have much to compare it to—but Fall Out Boy went all out. The gates opened 3 minutes late, and it took me less than 5 minutes to get inside Wrigley Field, which was shockingly timely for a huge stadium. The merch line was slow, and the merch itself was incredibly expensive. $35 for a t-shirt and $65 for a MANIA-themed jersey. Not as expensive as actual Cubs gear, but pretty close.

Trekking up to the nosebleeds was a workout, but I had gotten seats pretty close to the edge of the platform, so the view was incredible. I could see the whole stadium fill in through the course of the afternoon. The 67-degree temperature reading could not have prepared me for how cold I was. My hands were frozen and the biting wind of Saturday was much worse 100 feet up.

The first opener was Machine Gun Kelly, and though I haven’t listened to any of his music, the energy he gave off made me more excited than I had been. He jumped into the crowd, walking around the whole lower level, climbing over chairs, he definitely got the crowd excited.

After his half-hour set, Rise Against, another band native to Chicago, played as the second opener. I knew a handful of their songs that had played on the radio, and the rock sound was more what I was expecting from a Fall Out Boy concert, over the previous rapper. They energized the crowd even more with their set. Then, there we were, patiently waiting for the main act to come on.

Setting up the tech took about 30 minutes, and with my phone, about to die I was stuck freezing and looking around at the audience that had since packed in. There was a shocking amount of people with their hair dyed purple, a merch line on the field that stretched for almost the entire foul line, and a girl in front of me with an incredibly sick jean jacket she made herself with “Lake Effect Kid” written on the shoulders.

At 9 pm, one by one the stadium lights clicked out, and the audience started roaring.

Fireworks were included in the show’s pyrotechnic set up during Fall Out Boy’s set.

I popped out of my seat and watched as a pre-roll video played “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” on the large screen in the back, showing footage of their old concerts, old album covers, and then they walked on stage, opening with Disloyal Order of the Water Buffaloes, from their critically slammed but fan favorite album Folie A Deux. I don’t quite remember but I’m pretty sure I screamed in shock. Due to the public hate the album took when it first came out, it’s very rare that the band plays any songs from the album live in concert, so the fact that they opened with it was shocking and wonderful.

Purple streamers flew into the sky as the crowd roared, singing the lyrics back at the band. The next song they played was The Pheonix, during which Pete Wentz’s bass started to shoot fire. Huge bursts of multicolored flames shot up on the back of the stage during the chorus, and on specific beats, a flamethrower attached to Wentz’s bass shot huge flames into the sky.

The energy in the space was so high I was dancing and singing the lyrics to songs of theirs I didn’t even like. During fast-paced songs where everyone was jumping and dancing, I definitely felt the concrete floor of Wrigley’s second level shake.

I was expecting the band to play their new album pretty much exclusively, given that this was part of the MANIA Tour, but they only played 5 songs from the new album in their two-hour-long set, including a piano version of Young and Menace, which was definitely unexpected. They played a variety of songs, at least two from each album they’ve produced, and I was incredibly appreciative of that. I do like the songs off of their new album, but their older ones are definitely my favorite. I felt so incredibly lucky to be able to hear them play the likes of Chicago is So Two Years Ago, Thriller and I Don’t Care, because I know from friends’ experiences, listeners at their last few tours have not been so lucky.

The last song they played was Saturday, which was surprisingly fitting, and included a huge firework show and 20 feet tall bursts of flame pyrotechnics from the far bleachers. After the song faded out, huge cannons of purple confetti shot over the crowd and the high winds caused some to fly up to my seat. I definitely saved a few in my pocket. The stadium lights went on, “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” played over the speakers, and the leftover energy was sent outside Wrigleyville in waves. Fall Out Boy went all out for Chicago, and as a resident of this area, I definitely felt loved, rejuvenated and teary-eyed when it was all over.

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