“That is f—–g wild that that song just got played in Wrigley Field,” said Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz between songs during the band’s Saturday night concert at the venerable ballpark. “Chicago is So Two Years Ago” usually appears in the set only during hometown shows, but this was a hometown show like no other: For a punk band that began in the northern suburbs nearly 20 years ago, headlining Chicago’s most hallowed stadium was a sort of coronation.
Singer-guitarist Patrick Stump marveled at Fall Out Boy’s journey from basement shows to Wrigley Field, prefacing another old song, “Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy,” by remembering how he wrote it in a tiny apartment at Roscoe and Hoyne, less than two miles from where he now performed before an adoring stadium full of fans.
Despite Fall Out Boy’s humble beginnings, the quartet was always a pop band at heart, and the group behind 2005’s breakthrough “From Under the Cork Tree” is not the same one that released this year’s chart-topping “Mania,” its fourth No. 1 album (following in the footsteps of “American Beauty/American Psycho (2015), “Save Rock and Roll” (2013) and 2007’s “Infinity on High.”) The Fall Out Boy that used to play the Fireside Bowl would probably be little confused by Wentz’s flame-throwing bass, but Fall Out Boy 2018 know how to create a spectacle — which means lots of pyro.
The band drew from all seven of its full-lengths during its set, including the new “Lake Effect Kid,” described by Wentz as a love letter to Chicago. While the band’s recent albums have suffered from overproduction, songs such as “Irresistible,” “American Beauty/American Psycho,” “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea,” and “Uma Thurman” hit harder live, where the quartet’s guitars, bass, and drums strip away the polish, and any backing tracks are mercifully lower in the mix.
Making Fall Out Boy’s homecoming extra poignant was a typically blistering supporting performance by Rise Against, the Chicago punk band that came up at the same time as the headliners. Frontman Tim McIlrath, who played in a band with Wentz way back when, joked about how his last “real” job before Rise Against was scalping tickets in front of Wrigley. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly, currently drawing attention for his beef with Eminem, opened the show with a short set of hybrid rap-rock that went over surprisingly well with Fall Out Boy’s crowd.
For all the pomp and circumstance of playing such a venerated venue, Wentz tried to demystify it a bit. “This is f—–g attainable,” he said between songs. “There is somebody in this crowd right now who’s in a band or who does a project who will be playing on a stage like this. So make sure you stay who you are.”
Fall Out Boy aren’t exactly the same guys from the basement, but performing at Wrigley proved once again how stardom suits them.
Disloyal Order of the Water Buffaloes
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
American Beauty/American Psycho
Lake Effect Kid
Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea
Save Rock and Roll
The Last of the Real Ones
Young and Menace
Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)
Thnks fr th Mmrs
I Don’t Care
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Chicago is So Two Years Ago
Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
Kyle Ryan is a local freelance writer.