Fall Out Boy shows Columbus how a veteran rock band perseveres and sounds good while they’re doing it

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOUB) – Fall Out Boy’s So Much For (2our) Dust tour hit the Schottenstein Center (555 Borr Drive) Friday, with openers Jimmy Eat World, Hot Mulligan, and CARR in tow.

The veteran pop punk group set out on the worldwide tour last year, shortly after releasing So Much For Stardust, the band’s first album since 2018. The tour was overwhelmingly successful, and Friday’s show was one of more than 20 dates added to its itinerary in response.

As someone who saw this tour last year (not as a member of the press), I came expecting basically the same show. As I would find out, I’d be leaving even more impressed than I’d expected – not only because it wasn’t the same show I saw last summer, but also due to a few things which went awry.

The poster for Fall Out Boy's current 2024 tour.

This generally warmer feeling applies, albeit in a less dramatic sense, to the night’s first opener, Carly McClellan, a.k.a. CARR. After being unenthused with her performance last summer, I was happy to see the New Jersey alt-pop singer has noticeably stepped up her game, even if a few of her biggest flaws remain.

CARR’s very brief set showcasing her brand of catchy, snarky pop punk seemed to go over well with the crowd, even if that meant (by far) the least energetic response of the night. While you’d expect this with openers, I don’t think we can attribute the lack of enthusiasm solely to that. Although CARR has the kind of irreverent attitude cherished not only by Gen Z audiences, but also historically in the context of pop-punk as a whole; you’d only know how funny CARR is if judging solely by her lyrics and between song banter.

Sure, she’s a good singer, but she just walks around the stage while she’s doing it.

It isn’t her fault she can’t lean on absurd visual effects the way Fall Out Boy does, but it’s a problem as a solo artist when your drummer is giving a more visually captivating performance than you are. All this said, her performance was still a huge improvement over what I saw last summer. This is reassuring: she’s got the vocal talent and up-front personality to become something great, it’s just a lack of experience that seems to be the issue.

Up next was the musical outlier of the night, Hot Mulligan. Although the group shares some basic punk and rock “musical ancestry” with bands like Jimmy Eat World and Fall Out Boy, Hot Mulligan’s  Midwest emo leanings put them in a completely different sub-genre. However, while they maybe would make more sense opening for American Football, their wailing self-loathing worked well in the context of a straightforward pop-punk show like this.

Hot Mulligan’s whiney and slurred vocals are a trademark of Midwest emo, and you’ll either love that or hate it. As someone who generally leans towards the “love” side of that spectrum, I was generally happy with their performance. In terms of memorable and emotionally packed songs, Hot Mulligan surpassed CARR. Like CARR, however, the performance suffered when it came to stage presence.

Judging by their energy, you’d think the Lansing, MI natives were still the sort of group that plays backyards and basements, instead of literal stadiums. There was a raw feeling to the way the band flailed around on stage that I think added to the music.

Hot Mulligan takes themselves seriously, and in this case it hindered more than it helped. Being serious isn’t a bad thing, but in a genre as inherently goofy as Midwest emo, on top of awkward stage banter, it left a somewhat sour taste in my mouth. I still enjoyed Hot Mulligan, but considering the band is getting close to their tenth anniversary, it’s harder to write off their flaws in comparison to a new act like CARR.

Jimmy Eat World is the most notable addition to So Much For (2our) Dust, replacing the spot on the initial lineup occupied by British rockers Bring Me The Horizon. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Bring Me the Horizon’s performance, but their sound was objectively too heavy for a lineup like this.

Jimmy Eat World, on the other hand, felt perfect. Even knowing that Jimmy Eat World pre-dates every other band on this bill, I was still shocked at their musical tightness. After CARR and Hot Mulligan, it was a night and day difference.

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Jimmy Eat World fan, but even though I wasn’t as familiar with their music, I had an absolute blast watching them. The setlist was incredibly well-rounded, very rarely letting off the gas pedal. It was just an hour of dancing and singing along – often to songs I may not have loved when I heard them on the record, but was over the moon with when I heard them live.

Even with their professionalism and clear experience, the band was still having so much fun on stage, and that bled throughout the arena. I left their set not only feeling satisfied with the party I just had, but also eager to keep it going.

Also, yes, The Middle is even better live than you think it could be.

A promotional image of the band Fall Out Boy, all seated on a couch in a dark room.
Fall Out Boy. [Photo by Pamela Littky]
So finally, after almost three hours since the first act, Fall Out Boy arrives.It started with the house music, Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and Fall Out Boy’s cover of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire playing via enormous stadium speakers. I note this because, leading up to the group’s actual opening song (unsurprisingly, the lead single from So Much (For) Stardust, Love from The Other Side PA technical difficulties made the end of the intro sound pretty horrendous.However, once Fall Out Boy took the stage, the song got right back on track.One of the most notable things about So Much For (2our) Dust is how Fall Out Boy essentially splits their greatest hits right down the middle, playing half at the opening (The Phoenix; Sugar We’re Going Down, and Uma Thurman) and the rest at the end (Thnks fr th Mmrs; Dance, Dance; My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark, and Centuries).Both of these runs of songs were the most energetic part of the show, in large part because this is where they allocated their – frankly, absurd – pyro budget.Pete Wentz’s flamethrower bass for The Phoenix and My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark was my favorite example of this, along with the fire by Andy Hurley’s drum kit. There were also plenty of fireworks, which were cool in theory, but way too loud in a fully enclosed arena. Luckily, the fireworks were not a constant, so for a good 95 percent of the show, it wasn’t an issue.

When I said that the “greatest hits” run of this show was the most energetic part, it wasn’t by a huge margin.

The rest of Fall Out Boy’s set met the bar in terms of fan energy and visuals, as well as occasionally exceeding both, with some of my favorite deep cuts in their entire catalog coming out. Visually, I loved all the sets and stage props, especially the hilarious inflatable dog head that helped sing This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race. The same goes for the giant snail, and dude in a bunny suit for Uma Thurman.

Could I explain why half this stuff was on stage?


But, was I laughing to myself at how goofy and fun it was the whole time?


The new musical additions to the setlist, such as Hum Hallelujah, Dead on Arrival, and the greatest “situation-ship” anthem of all time Bang The Doldrums had me screaming at the top of my lungs, along with some personal favorites returning from their 2023 tour like Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet and Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos.

Of course, if we’re talking about deep cuts, we have to talk about Patrick Stump’s Piano Medley and the random Magic 8 Ball song, which both feature random songs from the band’s discography. Hearing Patrick play What A Catch Donnie is was fantastic, even if it’s just a small portion of it. I also was pretty pleased to hear Fourth of July as our “Magic 8 Ball” random song. It’s an exciting and generally underrated deep cut from American Beauty/American Psycho, that was great live, even if it made me wish they had allotted some fireworks for a song like this.

Fourth of July also was one of a few times where Patrick’s mic stopped working, with him missing most of the first verse on this song. While it did take me out of the moment, the band pushed on every time and came right back in as if nothing had happened. Speaking of Patrick, he very early on admitted he was sick and it was taking a toll on his voice. Sure, you could notice he sounded a little different, but he still sounded phenomenal, while still having room to be dynamic and charismatic on stage and play the guitar. His piano section showed how funny and down-to-earth he is, as he asked the audience to forgive him for being sick, before bursting into a Queen cover.

Fall Out Boy’s setlist may be designed to have some chaos, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t obvious how well these four guys played together, and how long they’ve been doing it.

Jumping from last year’s, Fake Out and So Much (For) Stardust to playing four songs from Take This To Your Grave, an album that’s older than me, So Much For (2our) Dust is a full celebration of Fall Out Boy’s legacy. Considering how many fans of all ages grew up and were in attendance singing along to every one of these songs, it’s clear that they’ve earned it.

I expected to leave Friday night feeling excited, which I did, but seeing how well Fall Out Boy rose to the challenge made me even more certain they’ve earned their place at the top of rock, and that they’ve still got years of greatness left in them.