Mid-State Fair

Fall Out Boy’s fair concert inspires screams, singing

Alternative rock band Fall Out Boy performs July 20 at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles.
Alternative rock band Fall Out Boy performs July 20 at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Courtesy of California Mid-State Fair

As a sophomore at Atascadero High School, I listened to Fall Out Boy’s 2005 album “From Under the Cork Tree” pretty much on repeat. I was a 16-year-old girl with a haircut like Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance — pre-“Black Parade” — and Pete Wentz’s lyrics, sung by the angsty, soulful Patrick Stump, just totally got me.

So when I saw that Fall Out Boy would be playing on the opening night of the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, I had to go.

Part of me was a little apprehensive. I’d heard Fall Out Boy’s more recent hits on the radio and they were fun, danceable. The guitar riff in “Uma Thurman” is absolutely infectious. But would this band that had meant so much to me when I was coming of age mean as much to me now? Would this concert live up to all the emotions I had as a teenager listening to “Dance, Dance” on repeat?

The answer is “absolutely yes.”

Having spent an evening shouting, stamping, clapping and singing along, seeing Fall Out Boy live was everything I wanted it to be and more.

Fall Out Boy brought a little something for everyone to the fair, playing old hits and new ones — songs that were danceable, singable, hard-rocking and damn sexy.

The band opened with “Irresistible,” a fun pop single off their latest album, “American Beauty/American Psycho,” and followed it up with the 2005 smash single “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.”

From there, Fall Out Boy took us on a tour of the band’s discography, with some songs introduced by bassist and lyricist Wentz. Screams went up from the Chumash Grandstand Arena each time the familiar chords of a new song were struck.

Before “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” Wentz told his version of the famous fable “The Scorpion and the Frog.” “We’re all kind of scorpions and we’re all kind of frogs, and we’re all scorpions trying to be more like frogs,” the bassist said.

At another interlude, Wentz stopped his intro to point out a father with his infant son.

“Come here, I want to give him a pick!” Wentz cried, declaring this would be the best Fall Out Boy concert the baby ever attended, before breaking into the next song.

Fall Out Boy even took a break from their own music to cover Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” with Stump jumping and screaming around the stage as the crowd sang along.

The band’s sound was tight and polished without losing the raucous quality of live rock. Stump’s voice filled the grandstand area, yet maintained its intimacy, when singing some of Fall Out Boy’s most sexual lyrics — as when he crooned, “I’m watching you two from the closet/Wishing to be the friction in your jeans.”

Fall Out Boy ended its set with a bang with the single “Centuries” off “American Beauty/American Psycho,” but no one was ready to go home yet. Fans stomped and clapped and screamed, and yes, I was stomping the bleachers too until they came back out for an encore.

To screams, the band performed its 2013 hit “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up),” then rounded off the night with “Saturday,” off its 2003 debut album “Take This to Your Grave,” summoning up their pop-punk roots as Wentz screamed the lyrics while Stump sang.

I left the Chumash Grandstand Arena in a haze of post-concert euphoria — ears ringing, hands sore from clapping and cheeks sore from smiling for so long.

I might not remember this show “for centuries,” as the Fall Out Boy song says, but I know I’ll remember it for a long time as one of the best concerts I’ve been to.

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