Fans of modern alternative rock rejoiced when Fall Out Boy returned to the scene earlier this year. New music and a string of intimate tour dates morphed into an arena tour with Panic! at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots supporting the bill. The tour pulled into Fairfax, Va., on Sept. 10--coincident with the first week of classes at the Patriot Center on the George Mason University campus.
A crowd gathered early, hoping to catch a good spot on the general admission floor, well before the venue doors opened at 5:30 p.m. Twenty One Pilots hit the stage at 7 p.m. and immediately grabbed hold of those in attendance. The duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are quickly gaining attention for their fusion of alternative rock and hip-hop. Vocalist Dun adds elements of piano, ukelele and synthesizer upon a solid beat supplied by Joseph on drums.
They banged out a brief but electrifying 30-minute set derived from their most recent album, 'Vessel." Twenty One Pilots opened with "Ode to Sleep" before moving into the quirky "Migraine." Rotating through a series of masks during the first two songs, they eventually shed the disguise for the remainder of the set.
Panic! at the Disco offered a perfect pairing to Fall Out Boy on this tour, and together they're easily selling out arenas. Indeed, the Patriot Center started to swell toward the end of Twenty One Pilots set in anticipation of Panic! The floor surged forward as the lights dimmed. Frontman Brendon Urie fluttered from side-to-side as they tore through old-school hits "...Martyrdom and Suicide..." and "But It's Better if You Do" dispersed within the more recent "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" and "Ready to Go."
New single "Miss Jackson" drew a strong vocal accompaniment from the students, the song has been receiving heavy rotation on alternative radio. Panic! also performed "This is Gospel" from the highly anticipated new album, "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" due to hit the streets in October. They closed with fan favorite "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," performing ten songs in a 45-minute set. It should be noted that drummer and founding member Spencer Smith is taking time off from the tour to address substance abuse issues.
"Save Rock and Roll" debuted at #1 on Billboard charts in April, ending a five year hiatus for Fall Out Boy. Donning black masks for "The Phoenix," they took the stage a littler after 8:45 p.m. as their fans sang out in joy. Vocalist Patrick Stump was one with the music, appearing possessed while crooning in unison with the crowd. Guitarist Joe Trohman and bassist Pete Wentz flanked Stump at center stage, freqently swapping sides or launching onto a pair of risers. Drummer Andy Hurley was shirtless and a blur of tattoos behind the kit as he kept the beat steady.
Despite having a trio of talent on the lineup, Fall Out Boy still manged to crank out a 90-minute performance and about twenty songs on the night. About a quarter of their set was dedicated to new material with the rest spread across their earlier work. The end result was a solid evening of music, and a great way to commence the fall semester.
Remaining Fall Out Boy / Panic! at the Disco / Twentyone Pilots tour dates:
9/11 - Cleveland, Ohio @ Wolstein Center
9/14 - Auburn Hills, Mich. @ Palace of Auburn Hills
9/15 - Toronto, Ont. @ Echo Beach at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
9/18 - Broomfield, Colo. @ First Bank Center
9/20 - Anaheim, Calif. @ Honda Center
9/21 - San Francisco, Calif. @ America's Cup Pavilion
9/22 - San Diego, Calif. @ Valley View Casino Center
9/25 - The Woodlands, Texas @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/26 - Grand Prairie, Texas @ Verizon Theatre at Grand Prarie
9/27 - Memphis, Tenn. @ Mud Island Amphitheater
9/28 - Alpharetta, Ga. @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore
9/29 - Tampa, Fla. @ USF Sun Dome