Fall Out Boy NRG Stadium March 8, 2015
It was weird when the Rodeo released the genre calendar to tease this year's musical lineup and there was no mention of rock music on it. It's not that you can't have a rocking good time with country music, it just seemed odd. Were there really no rock bands they could come down to grace the revolving stage?
Then the lineup came out and there was Fall Out Boy, placed in one of the pop slots along with Pitbull and Ariana Grande. It's weird company to be in, but Fall Out Boy are no strangers to weird company. They are touring with Wiz Khalifa this summer, after all.
But credit to the rodeo for the booking; Fall Out Boy may not be for everyone, but it's good to see rock music of some kind getting a seat at the table, even if it's a seat that comes less from the band's pop-punk roots and more from their big pop hooks.
Going to see a show at the Rodeo comes with its share of assumptions. You expect less than good acoustics. You're probably not going to get to hear all the songs you want because they only get to play a certain length of time. Production will be scaled back. In short, you'll be getting a rodeo show that features the performer you're going to see.
At the end of the day, the best part about going to see Fall Out Boy at the rodeo was that they played a Fall Out Boy show that just happened to be after a rodeo. They played the songs their fans expected to hear. They made some corny jokes. They tried to get the crowd to sing and clap the way they always do. Pete Wentz spun around like a top. They did not ride off on the back of a pickup truck.
They didn't change what brought them to the rodeo, and it worked.
For their past two albums, Fall Out Boy have focused more on the pop side of their sound, and the result is these hooks that sound big on record and huge in concert. The hook to "Irresistible" is as big as anything you'll hear at the rodeo this year. "American Beauty/American Psycho" and "Uma Thurman" are both songs that shine live, even with the slightly muddled audio that comes with using backing tracks; hey, you can't win every battle with expectations.
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But this wasn't a show all about their poppier modern material. Fans wanted to hear "Sugar, We're Going Down" and "Dance, Dance" and so those songs made their Rodeo Houston debut too. Weirdest of all was "Grand Theft Autumn / Where is Your Boy," because if you ever thought you'd hear that song being performed in NRG Stadium you're a damn liar.
Even with the occasional issues of backing tracks getting a little lost in the mix, the band did sound on point. Come to find out that Patrick Stump's voice fills a stadium quite nicely, and the band had an energy you don't get at a lot of rodeo performances.
All in all it was a damn fine showing for their first Rodeo Houston showing. While the crowd may not have been record-breaking, the folks that did show up were super into the show and a lot more alive than some of the other pop acts that been booked in the recent past.
Up onstage Pete Wentz said, "If our band can make it here, anyone could." Let's hope that's true for a few more rock acts next year.
Personal Bias: My favorite Fall Out Boy song is "Dead on Arrival." I wish Patrick Stump wore fewer silly hats.
The Crowd: Young and loud. For a good chunk of them it was their first rodeo. (Announced Attendance: 71,321.)
Overheard In the Crowd: "Next year we should come and actually check out the rodeo part," said someone proving what I said about the crowd.
Random Notebook Dump: Lot of high 80s and low 90s in mutton-busting. The calves in the calf scramble had a less than stellar showing.
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