Sub-zero temperatures, overnight frost, and near-torrential rain. You’d think that would be enough to stop fans camping outside Islington Academy Hall on January 13th. Well, you’d be wrong; by the time the doors opened on the 14th, fans at the very front of the Fall Out Boy line had been guarding their space for 35 hours. A barrier spot at the sold out American Beauty / American Psycho release show was clearly gold dust to those dedicated enough to brave the English weather.
A few days before the show, Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman released a statement explaining how he would be unable to perform due to his mother’s passing. His shoes were filled by guitar-tech Josh Newton, and even with an understandably incomplete band, Fall Out Boy were technically immaculate, energetic, and incredible to watch.
Bounding onstage to a spoken intro taken from their summer Monumentour, Fall Out Boy kicked off the show with Save Rock and Roll’s “The Phoenix.” It didn’t take the crowd long to burst into action, shaking off their frostbite to belt the lyrics back to vocalist Patrick Stump. The band members were clearly in high spirits despite the lack of Trohman, with bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz grinning wildly from the start.
With it being an album release show, it was no surprise that Fall Out Boy played a couple of live debuts. “Irresistible” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright” were performed for the very first time at Islington Academy Hall, and their fans were ecstatic. “The Kids Aren’t Alright” was incredibly emotional to watch, with fans across the barrier holding hands as they matched Stump word-for-word. Fall Out Boy themselves seemed thrilled at the response, with Wentz claiming it only seemed right to launch their upcoming album in London.
Fall Out Boy also performed their upcoming album’s title track “American Beauty / American Psycho” alongside its first single “Centuries.” The UK live debut of “Miss Missing You” was also performed at this one-off show, but those were the only tracks that really stood out. Considering they were playing with a different lead guitarist, it is understandable that the guys would stick to a standard set list, yet to anyone who had seen the band play before, their choices felt a little underwhelming.
But that’s only an afterthought, as Fall Out Boy’s classics “Dance, Dance,” “I Don’t Care,” “Sugar We’re Going Down,” “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me’” and “Grand Theft Autumn (Where is Your Boy)” were greeted just as eagerly as their debuts. The set was littered with Wentz’s signature speeches, metaphors about frogs and scorpions, and abundant crowd interactions.
It was hectic, exhausting, and exhilarating to be a part of. Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” and their finale “Saturday” saw the crowd at their wildest. Wentz – as is his tradition – entered the crowd during the latter, drawing the show to a personal, adrenaline pumping close. Although hindsight may make Fall Out Boy’s set seem too typical for a one-off show, the guys clearly impressed their fans. Lead guitar stand-in Josh Newton’s efforts even received a well-deserved standing ovation post-show.