Built for two fan bases that have melted into one over the past decade, Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s aptly named “Monumentour” hit Colorado last night with excitement and insane amounts of confetti to match. The lineup of New Politics, Paramore and Fall Out Boy seemed to be a dream combination for fans both new and old, since both headliners have seen a reboot in their bands and fan bases over the past few years. Oddly enough, it felt to me that only one of these bands is still winning the battle to achieve full-fandom happiness. Fall Out Boy may have a song called “The Phoenix”, but the only person I saw truly rise from the ashes on Tuesday night at Red Rocks was Miss Hayley Williams.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a Fall Out Boy diehard, which is why I think this realization presented itself to me quickly last night. I’ve seen the band countless times, from an acoustic set at Northfield Stapleton when “Sugar, We’re Going Down” first began it’s radio takeover, to going out of my way to attend one of their “surprise” sets at SXSW in 2013 just after they announced their return. Out of the dozen FOB shows i’ve attended in the past decade, last night was the first time I felt out of place in the crowd. The band played a 20-song set, but it was heavily dominated by songs from the bands new album “Save Rock & Roll”. The set was broken up by a drum “battle” between Andy and Patrick, and a quite awesome cover of Queens’ “We Are The Champions”, but that left room for maybe seven songs to be split between their four older albums, not accounting for the required play of their radio singles. In my opinion, concerts are for the fans and should be taken as chances to play the deep cuts, the “fan favorites” off of each record. FOB’s Monumentour set list left little room for that.
Halfway through the set, Pete Wentz asked the crowd to cheer if this was their first Fall Out Boy concert and the audience roared. Suddenly their set list made sense. Their new fan base has become their primary fan base. It appears that the twelve shows i've seen doesn't garner the same weight it used to, but their choice to focus on their new music and new fans has left us “oldies” a bit out in the cold. Checking my Twitter feed after the show last night I saw that I wasn’t alone in feeling like this, with most of my friends sharing similar sentiments. Rumor has it there were even kids in the audience trying to use the Shazam* app to identify “Saturday”, the last song of their set, truly their only “deep cut” of the night. I’m excited that Fall Out Boy has returned with a second wind, but their choice to ignore their own history on such a “monumental” tour left me sad. Bands need to continue to move and grow, but it’d be nice to see them tip their hat to the past every once in awhile.
To pull a complete 360º, last night was my first time seeing Paramore live. I’m not sure how, but over the past decade I’ve managed to miss seeing the one female I consistently refer to as “the girl who gave women a chance in rock-n-roll”. I was quite anxious about what their show held in store. Had I missed my chance to hear my old favorite songs? Would the new band be half as good as it was with the Farro brothers? Would Hayley be dismissive of their past? Or as energetic as i’d heard? The minute the band took stage, I knew I had nothing to worry about.
Hayley’s energy exuded from her before the music even started. Kicking things off with “Still Into You”, the band then promptly broke out four tracks from their other three albums. High kicks, backflips, huge LED lighting displays and confetti galore, Paramore truly owned the stage. It was clear off the bat that this Paramore is new, this Paramore is different, but this Paramore has taken time to understand their past, and they’re better because of it. Hayley took time out of the set to mention to fans that this summer marks the bands tenth anniversary. Emotionally speaking about the challenges they’ve faced in this decade, she acknowledged that despite their ups and downs, she believes there is still work to be done. She pointed out how many familiar faces she saw in the crowd, and how amazing it was to see people still here despite the changes of the last few years. Before charging into “Last Hope” (which she dedicated to Robin Williams), she told the audience “we’re all a part of something bigger, you are a part of something bigger. Remember that.”
Last night was the first time all summer I found myself understanding Hayley’s strange stage outfit for this tour. Dressed in oversized boxing shorts and knee pads, her outfit is a metaphor: she’s dressed like the fighter she is. Paramore has certainly changed, but they’ve grown with their fan base without entirely uprooting themselves. Ms. Williams has stayed committed to the people who’ve helped them rise to the top, and has both literally and metaphorically kept swinging. Cheers to another ten years, Hayley. You’ve got it in you, and you’ve got us all at your back cheering you on. - Maddie
*Public Service Announcement that the App Shazam doesn’t work on live music. Soundhound sometimes does. But STILL. Don't do that at shows. Facepalm.