Live Review: The Nintendo Fusion Tour
Issue date: 10/14/05 Section: Entertainment
For the first band on a bill of five, Panic! At The Disco got a considerable amount of attention, drawing the flow of entering attendees toward the stage instead of toward the merchandise tables. Though they have an average age of just over 18, the band managed to show a maturity and showmanship beyond their limited years - front man Ryan Ross commanding the stage like he owned it, threatening to strangle himself with the microphone cord that he constantly strung around his neck during the band's electro-pop melodies. While most people in attendance came for the headliner, P!ATD managed to convert an audience of stand-offish kids into a throng of devotees during the span of their 20-minute, five-song set.
Ontario's finest, Boys Night Out, had the difficult task of being the most diverse of all the bands on the tour, as they didn't really fit into the safe pop-punk model as the rest of the bands did so nicely. They also showcased the tour's only X-chromosome in the form of new synth player and vocalist, Kara Dupuy. The band ran through songs off of their new Ferret Records album, Trainwreck, and also songs off of older records like Make Yourself Sick. It was a nice mix for the older fans who came solely to see Boys Night Out and also for the new kids, most of whom had never heard of the band before. Although I think anyone could have played this tour and the crowd would have received them enthusiastically, this crowd, comprised of mostly young girls who obviously don't study hardcore in their free time, gave the band a warm reception and by the end of their short set were ready to line up to meet the band during their meet and greet.
Judging by the amount of Motion City Soundtrack t-shirts and hoodies I saw while waiting in line, as well as the line for their merchandise table throughout the night, it was apparent that the headliners weren't the only draw on the bill. Their 30-minute set, filled with plenty of organ solos and dancing, brought the night some much needed energy and singer Justin Pierre was quite the spectacle to behold, between his "creative" hair and complaints of being an old man in front of such a youthful audience. Songs like "Everything is Alright" and "When You're Around" off of Commit This to Memory got the crowd jumping and, in some extreme cases, getting too excited, causing the front few rows to get crushed against the stage's barrier. While most of their songs began to sound like one big monotonous drone for me, the looks coming from most of the crowd clearly suggested that they thought otherwise.
Though capable of selling out this venue on their own, as they did on their own headlining tour last December, local boys (by way of Churchville, PA), The Starting Line, opted to open for Fall Out Boy on this tour. Fortunately, it was to the delight of everyone in the audience, or at least the group of 15-year-old girls next to me, who shrieked with glee throughout their entire set. Though "Bedroom Talk" and its chorus may not have pleased the numerous parents in attendance, the crowd sang along with every filthy word, as they did with the rest of the fan-favorite-filled set, including past single "The Best Of Me" and upcoming single "Inspired by the $." Starting Line super-fan (and Drexel freshman) Fiona Curran said, "The Starting Line played an entertaining set filled with upbeat songs that you could dance along to," and most of the 1,000+ people in advance agreed with her. They danced along to their irresistibly catchy set, which even got this jaded old reviewer singing along.
Even though the four opening bands had garnered much well-deserved attention and applause, it was obvious by looking at the crowd and its homemade t-shirts that most people were here for one thing and one thing only: the headliners, Fall Out Boy. After having a stagehand walk across the stage with a cue card announcing that the audience was about to view "Act One" of the night's spectacle, the band took to the stage decked out in their schoolboy best, launching into the first song off of From Under the Cork Tree, "Our Lawyers Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued." What followed was an hour of unbridled, exuberant, sheer fun that would make even the most jaded cynic's reserve crumble. Though what they play is nothing new or ground breaking in any way, shape or form, they play it with such skill and conviction that you have to admire them, fan or not. Singer Patrick Stump is billed as the front man, namely because he sings the songs, but he clearly didn't run the show - bassist Pete Wentz delivered all of the stage banter and showed off his numerous talents, including bass-licking and jumping from the speaker risers, for the crowd. The mix of songs was eclectic - fan favorites from Take This To Your Grave like "Grand Theft Autumn" and "Chicago is So Two Years Ago" mingled with recent Top 40 single "Sugar We're Going Down", new single "Dance Dance", and even a song, "Moving Pictures", from their long-forgotten debut for a mixture that managed to please even the crabbiest old fan. The energy remained high, even through the mid-set costume change, and by the last notes of set-closer "Saturday", everyone in the audience was covered in sweat, worn out from constant pogoing and singing along.
Though the shrieks of the youngest fans may have been more than I could stand, the night turned out to be an ideal way to spend five hours on a Sunday night, in the company of some of the scene's best and brightest.