Before Fall Out Boy soared into the consciousness of the mainstream music world and Pete Wentz became a tabloid fixture, the Chicago-based band cut its teeth in dingy Midwestern clubs.
Now, well-versed in pop superstardom and with a new album in the wings, the band returned to St. Louis last Tuesday for an intimate night at the tiny Creepy Crawl. The show was announced only a few days prior, and ticket sales were done day-of-show at the venue. Prior to doors opening, the line of patrons stretched around the building into a back alley, and those first in line were said to have waited overnight.
Although the band had never played the new Creepy Crawl location, the night was filled with nostalgia and storytelling about the old venue. “I think we all have some awesome scar from the Creepy Crawl,” proclaimed frontman Patrick Stump early on in the set, a sentiment that was echoed by Wentz: “The last time I came to the Creepy Crawl, I left with eight stitches.”
In addition to the hits, the band’s catalog was evenly represented throughout the night, but nothing elicited larger screams than tracks from 2003’s ” Take This to Your Grave” including set-closer “Saturday.” Midway through, Wentz stopped the music and gave the crowd a lesson in FOB history. “This is how Fall Out Boy shows at the Creepy Crawl used to be,” he told the crowd, before instructing everyone to jump onstage for the song’s closing section and stage dive Chaos ensued.
In addition to new single “I Don’t Care,” the band previewed two tracks from “Folie a Deux”: the synth-laden dance track “Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet,” and “America’s Suitehearts,” with a sweeping chorus that is classic Fall Out Boy (think “Sugar, We’re Going Down” times 10).
The night was far from perfect, though. Wentz’s bass cut out for a sizeable chunk of “Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner,” and a major audio glitch hurt ” Hum Hallelujah” Onstage, vocal cues were missed, lyrics were flubbed and guitar lines botched. But that didn’t seem to matter to those in the crowd, who had waited for hours in the cold to be mere feet away from their musical heroes.
Late in the set, when Wentz made reference to his newborn son with Ashlee Simpson and told the crowd the band wouldn’t be able to stick around afterward to meet everyone, he seemed genuinely disappointed. He also poked fun at himself throughout the night. When asked how the Chicago Bears were doing this year, he quickly and sarcastically responded, “I’m a f–king (Dallas) Cowboys fan. Don’t you guys read People magazine?”
There was an aura of looseness and excitement in the air, and the band seemed to relish the chance to strip away video screens and pyrotechnics and just play. The set might have lacked the polish and precision of the band’s studio albums but perhaps that’s what was so endearing about the whole night: the sight of a multi-platinum, larger-than-life band returning to its roots, playing for 400 sweaty kids in a cramped club and loving every minute of it.