On the first day of the Bamboozle only one group of unlikely special guest superstars could outshine much-adored headliners Fall Out Boy.
Still riding a two-year wave of rediscovery, arena-rock diehards Journey appeared as the secret performers for a four-song set. Or “Journey” as it turned out – the group was really a stellar Long Island cover band called Evolution. Blasting out “Separate Ways,” “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It” and “Don’t Stop Believing,” Evolution cued a wildly mixed audience reaction, with some fans literally shrieking or running towards the stage and others angrily storming away en masse. But even with a few freaked audience members gone, a triumphant “Believing” got a louder, more powerful sing-along than anything else the entire day.
Fall Out Boy kept the energy high with a set heavy on hits, strobe lights and Andy Hurley, one of the most animated drummers around. For a show heavy with costume changes and videos, the band was clearly trying to keep things loose and casual. Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday helped sing the chorus to “Sugar We’re Goin Down” and bassist Pete Wentz shared a lengthy motivational speech apparently fueled by having watched Marley and Me.
The band did their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and ultimate party anthem “Hey Ya” by OutKast, the latter so seemingly spur-of-the-moment that the band stumbled over the bridge. When Wentz introduced it with, “I feel like everybody wants to dance right now,” that could have been any part of a pepped-up day where just watching bands could feel like overstimulation.
Kid Cudi tried to rock the Kazoozle Stage in a stylish leather jacket, hoodie and sunglasses combo, but the 68-degree heat and energetic crowd made sure they were all off by set’s end. Although hit single “Day ‘N’ Nite” brought out the most camera phones and cheers, the audiences went wildest for high-BPM mixtape tracks like “Cudi Spazzin’” and “I Poke Her Face.” Afterwards, rising MC Asher Roth hopped around like a pogo stick, demanding the audience bounce and jump along at every opportunity. Asher and his three-man crew even did a little synchronized goofball dance to Soul For Real’s bubblegum R&B classic “Candy Rain.”
In the same vein, Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship included some choreographed between-song silliness in his own set with one of the dudes from Sing It Loud. Cobra Starships’ motive was perfectly clear: “We like to shake our ass, but at the same time, we like to fuck shit up.”
And the neon-clad band tore through their set with tossed mic stands and funky numbers like “Kiss My Sass.” Even ’90s alt-rock mainstays Third Eye Blind got into the act, peppering their set with chants like “To the left y’all, to the right y’all.” Set to release their first album in six years, 3EB got a warm welcome and one of the most vocal crowds of the day. The band treated the audience with some newer tracks that had a Fall Out Boy vibe, as well as an extended version of their rock radio classic “Jumper” – complete with cowbell-and-agogo-heavy drum solo. Big hit “Semi-Charmed Life” was the natural closer, with a little bit of Nelly’s “Must Be The Money” thrown in for kicks.