The iconic rockers delivered an unpredictable and spectacular show at the famed venue. 

If one had seen alternative rockers Fall Out Boy— the band consists of lead vocalist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, drummer Andy Hurley, and lead guitarist Joe Trohman — while they were on their tour supporting “So Much For Stardust” last year— I caught the show twice that summer— they would think that they would know what to expect from the beloved band. Pyrotechnics, all the hits, some new material from their latest album, and very little banter between songs. Friday’s show at Madison Square Garden took the playbook and threw it out of the window for a truly unpredictable, nostalgic, and emotional show full of new additions to the live experience. Yes, pyrotechnics were a part of the show, but so many other things were occurring that any millennial emo would have been floored. Pete did a magic trick (kind of), Patrick talks a lot more than usual between songs, they performed the spidey song and many throwbacks, and the band takes everyone through the journey they took to get to this point as a band both musically and emotionally. Two decades into their career, Fall Out Boy shows they are masterful at putting on a live show, never doing the same thing twice, captivating everyone at the sold venue.

Openers Games We Play and Hot Mulligan increased the audience’s energy but it was the rock band Jimmy Eat World that truly set the tone for the main act. With over thirty years of experience in the industry, Jimmy Eat World is a band that is like Fall Out Boy, one that experimented with genre and influenced many bands after its inception. Despite their longevity, the band performed like they were in their twenties, putting on a set full of energy, humor, and searing riffs. Acknowledging their punk roots, the band played a deep cut such as “Hear You Me” and hits such as “Pain” and “Bleed American”, the first song surprising audiences and the second making members rock out in their seats. Once the band got to their hit single “The Middle”, audience members were hyped and ready for what was to come. Oscillating between calm and voracious energy, Jimmy Eat World provided a savory starter and kickstarted the heady nostalgic energy that would color the performance of Fall Out Boy. 

March 22, 2024: Fall Out Boy Performs At Madison Square Garden (Credit: Rich Fury / MSG)

When Fall Out Boy appeared on stage, the energy in the room was electric while silence fell over the stadium as they kicked off the set with a softer version of the single “Love From The Other Side”, capturing the audience instantly. Bassist Pete Wentz gave a rousing background vocal performance littered with screams and lit up the stage with his guitar doubled as a flame thrower and spewed fire at perfect intervals of the tunes.  Initially showing itself in the song “Phoneix”, Wentz’s guitar symbolized the exciting, cathartic night that the audience was in for. Throughout the show, Patrick’s vocals truly shined,  hitting notes perfectly and wowing the audience with the annotations he was able to pull off in every song. Pulling from their massive discography, Fall Out Boy treated audience members to anthemic performances of “Sugar We’re Going Down”, “Centuries”, and ” This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arm’s Race.” Showing their range, slower performances of “So Much (For) Stardust”, “Grand Theft Autumn/ Where Is Your Boy?” and ‘ Calm Before The Storm” lull the audience into a sense of melancholic comfort before restarting the energy with a rousing rendition of “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arm’s Race.” Fan favorites “Heaven, Iowa”, and “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”  were performed as well, barely giving the audience a moment to catch their breath. Anthemic favorites such as “Fake Out’ and ” were played as the set revealed a new prop that features a giant Octopus head that the band interacted with. Other surprises came in the form of Daisy Grenade performing with the band for a rendition of “Just One Yesterday”, spoken word intros for various songs, and a playful cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”  Closing out the night with the performances of memorable hits “Dance, Dance” ,”My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” and “Saturday”,  With their ability to weave together emotional ballads, headbanging hits, and quirky surprises, the band kept the audience on their toes for the duration of their hour-and-a-half-long set. 

Fall Out Boy’s show tugged at the heartstrings of the audience too. Throughout the show, Patrick talked to the audience more than one is used to seeing at shows, launching into a recounting of being a “fat’ eight-year-old who dreamed of playing the songs he wrote for audiences one day and marveling at being able to accomplish that dream and play in a sold-out Madison Square Garden that night.  After the speech, the vocalist then launched into a performance of the Spidey And His Amazing Friends song to the delight of the audience, an infectious performance that showcased the vocalist’s love of the show. Wentz made speeches on the importance of making “weird” art and doing things that aligned with one’s happiness in uncertain times during a break in the show, a moment that spoke to the many millennial fans who attended and could be at a crossroads in their own lives. Out of all of the quirky additions, it was the Magic 8 Ball that made the most impact on the show. With Wentz cheekily asking the ball questions such as “When is this tour going to fucking end?” and “Should we call it a night now?”, humor was an essential part of creating levity within the rousing show. A surprise appearance by Will Beckett of The Academy Is for a performance of his band’s tune “Slow Down” and a first-time full-band performance of “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene and Stop Going To Shows) were two moments that captured the essence of the show: chaotic, nostalgic, and unconventional. 

Overall, Fall Out Boy proved that they are masterful at putting on shows and possess cross-generational appeal. Audience members consisted of couples, families, and millennial parents with their children, crossing racial and social class lines. Heady and nostalgic, the band provided more than a concert: they gave fans an escape from the pressures of life and allowed them to escape into the energetic pop-punk world of Fall Out Boy for one night. Iconic hits, guest appearances, and anthemic performances marked a night that the audience at Madison Square Garden would never forget and one that saw the band cement its status as the darlings of the rock world.  A testament to their staying power, Fall Out Boy examined its full musical identity, touched on raw emotion, and gave a class on showmanship in the rock world. 

March 22, 2024: Fall Out Boy Performs At Madison Square Garden (Credit: Rich Fury / MSG)