Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco
March Madness Music Festival
April 1, 2016
Shortly after my 15th birthday, a friend introduced me to a band that would become something of a soundtrack to my teenage years. Their songs tugged on my prepubescent heartstrings while simultaneously quenching my never-ending thirst for sarcasm and cynicism.
The year was 2003, and the band was Fall Out Boy. In the years since, I have outgrown my angst, graduated from college and begun paying taxes. Their music will always hold a special place in my heart, but I eventually grew weary of songwriter Pete Wentz’s perpetual boo-hoo-ing and sardonic tone.
Despite the coming of age of their core fan base, FOB has endured and found a new audience of youths to serenade. The band’s live acts have also received some polish and are a far cry from their lively albeit amateurish performances from years past.
Had you told me ten years ago that FOB would be performing at the Final Four or playing RodeoHouston, I would have balked. But here we are. And their prestige or lack thereof aside, the band’s shows remain fun and lively all these years later.
Beginning their set with “Irresistible” from last year’s American Beauty/American Psycho, Fall Out Boy was firing on all cylinders Friday night, taking the crowd on a journey that spanned six albums.
Following their introduction, FOB performed “Sugar, We’re Going Down” off From Under the Cork Tree, the album that solidified their prominence in the music industry exactly one decade ago.
Every other song was mid-2000s pop punk, followed by an anthem from one of the band’s last two albums. Back and forth the concert went, with half the attendees singing along to “Uma Thurman” while the rest of us waited for “Dance, Dance.”
Before FOB, Panic! at the Disco took concertgoers on a similar journey. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out turns ten this year, but only two songs from that album made it into Friday’s set list.
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Lead vocalist Brandon Urie, the only remaining member from the band’s original lineup, instead focused on newer material. He leaned on this year’s Death of a Bachelor, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
In between hits, Urie performed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and teased the crowd with the opening riff of “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” before reminding fans that it was April 1.
And it really did feel like an April Fools’ Day that, in 2016, these two acts would be headlining a Final Four music festival. In a park in downtown Houston, where entry was free. Come to think of it, there were plenty of contradictions Friday night, but everyone seemed to be having a great time nonetheless.