Review – Fall Out Boy’s Headline Performance at Download Festival 2024

Fall Out Boy’s headline performance at Download 2024 was an unforgettable blend of theatrics, nostalgia and modern flair, delivered despite the festival’s notorious British weather.

Let’s dive into how these pop-punk icons left an indelible mark on the muddy grounds of Donington Park.

One of the most striking aspects of Fall Out Boy’s headline performance at Download 2024 was the crowd itself. In a festival traditionally dominated by heavy rock and metal enthusiasts, Fall Out Boy managed to draw an incredibly diverse audience that defied expectations. 

The demographic shift was palpable: a noticeable increase in younger fans and a surprising number of women were in attendance, transforming the typical Download vibe. This not only highlights Fall Out Boy’s broad appeal but also signals a refreshing change in the festival’s dynamic, proving that their pop-punk anthems resonate far beyond the usual boundaries of the Download faithful. 

Looking around, it was clear that Fall Out Boy’s headlining gig had brought a new, vibrant energy to the festival, reflecting their ability to connect with a diverse fanbase in an evolving music landscape.

How Did Fall Out Boy Prepare for Their Download Headline Debut?

Setting the Stage

Fall Out Boy are no strangers to grand live performances. Their preparation for Download 2024 was no exception. Knowing they were stepping onto a stage traditionally dominated by heavier acts, they embraced their distinctive style, crafting a setlist that spanned their career and showcased their eclectic evolution.

Embracing Their Weirdness

From the outset, it was clear that Fall Out Boy intended to be themselves – and that’s something we at The Arts Shelf absolutely adore. Patrick Stump’s decision to start the show in a hospital gown was a bold statement of their willingness to stay true to their quirky identity. It was an opening that screamed, “We’re here and we’re unapologetically us.”

What Was the Weather Like For Fall Out Boy’s Headline?

Rain, Mud and the British Summer

Ah, British summer. It wouldn’t be Download without a bit of rain, would it? This year, the weather was true to form with intermittent rain showers and plenty of mud, turning the festival grounds into a squelchy, slippery mess. As fans waded through the mud up to their ankles, it became a test of resilience and determination to stay upright but that didn’t get in the way of enjoying the show.

Audience Reactions to the Weather

Despite the soggy conditions, the spirits of the crowd were far from dampened. Ponchos and wellies were the order of the day. Fans embraced the muddy madness with typical British stoicism. The muddy conditions added a layer of camaraderie among festival-goers, who laughed off the mess and focused on the music.

How Did Fall Out Boy Kick Off Their Set?

The Unconventional Opening

At precisely 9 pm, Fall Out Boy took to the stage with a twist. Instead of a conventional high-energy start, the screens flashed to life showing Patrick Stump in a hospital gown, singing the opening lines of “Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes.” This offbeat beginning immediately captured the audience’s attention and set the tone for a night that promised to be anything but ordinary.

Patrick Stump’s Hospital Gown Entrance

Patrick’s hospital gown entrance was a humorous and nostalgic throwback, reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s iconic Reading ’92 appearance. This unexpected start was a clever move that both disarmed the audience and showcased Fall Out Boy’s signature blend of humour and theatricality.

What Were the Highlights from Their Early Career?

Nostalgia with Take This To Your Grave

Fall Out Boy wasted no time diving into their early classics, beginning with “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago” and “Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy.” These tracks from Take This To Your Grave instantly transported the audience back to the early 2000s, igniting a wave of nostalgia and setting a high bar for the rest of the show.

From Under The Cork Tree Classics

The energy continued with beloved hits from From Under The Cork Tree. “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance” had the crowd singing along word-for-word, their voices echoing across the muddy expanse of Donnington Park was amazing to witness. These songs served as a reminder of why Fall Out Boy became a staple of the emo pop-punk genre, blending catchy hooks with relatable lyrics.

How Did They Transition Through Their Discography?

Infinity On High and Pyrotechnics

Transitioning to Infinity On High, Fall Out Boy brought a visual spectacle to match their musical evolution. “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs” were accompanied by pyrotechnics that lit up the night sky, creating a dazzling display that matched the songs’ high energy.

A Giant Bear and Folie à Deux

The Folie à Deux segment was equally memorable, featuring a giant bear prop that added a whimsical touch to “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes” and “I Don’t Care.” This era showcased the band’s willingness to experiment with their sound and visuals, making for a captivating performance that kept the audience engaged.

Fall Out Boy Download Festival 2024

Did the Setlist Have Any Issues?

Stop-Start Momentum

Whilst the chronological setlist offered a comprehensive journey through Fall Out Boy’s career, it did come with some challenges. The stop-start nature of the performance, driven by the transition between eras, occasionally disrupted the show’s momentum. A more seamless flow or starting with a more universally recognised hit could have maintained a higher level of energy throughout.

Placement of Major Hits

The placement of major hits like “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” in the middle of the set, complete with a flamethrower-wielding bass guitar, provided a jaw-dropping visual. However, it may have been more impactful towards the end, where it could have built up to a climactic finish. This mid-set placement caused some energy dips when transitioning to slower songs.

How Was the Second Half of the Show?

Slower Tracks and Energy Dip

As the band moved into tracks from American Beauty / American Psycho, the energy noticeably dipped. Whilst songs like “Uma Thurman” and “Immortals” are solid tracks, they lacked the punch of the earlier hits, creating a lull in the performance that affected the overall pace.

Recovering with M A N I A

Fortunately, the pace picked up again with selections from M A N I A. “The Last of the Real Ones” brought back the vibrant pop sound that rejuvenated the audience, proving that Fall Out Boy’s ability to reinvent themselves whilst maintaining their core appeal remains strong.

What Made the Finale Memorable?

Pete Wentz’s Balloon Ascent

The grand finale was a testament to Fall Out Boy’s flair for theatrics. The night culminated with “Centuries” and their signature closer “Saturday.” Pete Wentz’s ascent with a bouquet of balloons during “Saturday” was a whimsical and memorable moment that perfectly encapsulated the night’s eccentric spirit. As he floated above the crowd, the blend of humour and spectacle was quintessentially Fall Out Boy.

Streamers, Confetti and Fireworks

The conclusion was a sensory overload with streamers, confetti and fireworks lighting up the night sky. This spectacular ending ensured that despite any earlier lulls, the performance left a lasting impression, with the crowd buzzing as they made their way through the mud towards the exit.

How Did the Band Engage with the Audience?

Sing-Alongs and Phone Lights

Fall Out Boy’s connection with the audience was palpable throughout the set. Massive sing-alongs to “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and “Dance, Dance” created a sense of unity among the mud-soaked crowd. The phone light display during “Fake Out” added a magical touch, illuminating the audience in a sea of twinkling lights.

Interactive Moments with Fans

Interactive elements, like the return of the Magic-8 Ball and a spontaneous gender reveal for fans near the front, added personal touches that made the show feel intimate despite the large crowd. These moments highlighted the band’s commitment to engaging with their fans and making each performance unique.

Did the Weather Affect the Performance?

Band’s Adaptation to Muddy Conditions

The muddy conditions posed a challenge, but Fall Out Boy adapted admirably. Despite the rain and slippery stage, their performance remained energetic and polished. Their ability to deliver a high-octane show despite the adverse weather showcased their professionalism and dedication to their craft.

Crowd’s Resilience and Enthusiasm

The crowd’s resilience in the face of the mud was equally impressive. Far from letting the weather dampen their spirits, fans embraced the conditions, turning the muddy quagmire into a shared experience that added to the festival’s camaraderie and excitement.

How Did Fall Out Boy’s Performance Compare to Expectations?

Anticipation vs Reality

Expectations were high for Fall Out Boy’s headline debut and for the most part, they delivered. Whilst the setlist’s chronological approach introduced some pacing issues, the overall performance was a vibrant celebration of their career. The combination of nostalgia, spectacle and audience engagement met the high bar set by fans and critics alike.

Feedback from Download Attendees

Feedback from Download attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Many appreciated the band’s effort to take fans on a journey through their discography, even if the pacing wasn’t perfect. The theatrical elements and visual spectacles were particularly well-received, reinforcing Fall Out Boy’s reputation as a must-see live act.

Conclusion: Fall Out Boy’s Download Legacy

The Enduring Appeal of Pop-Punk

Fall Out Boy’s performance at Download 2024 reaffirmed their status as pop-punk legends capable of commanding a festival stage. Their ability to balance high-energy hits with emotional depth, all whilst navigating the challenges of a rainy British summer, highlighted their versatility and enduring appeal.

Final Thoughts on the Show

Despite the muddy conditions and occasional pacing issues, Fall Out Boy’s headline set was a triumph. Their theatrical approach, combined with a setlist that celebrated their evolution, left a lasting impression on both long-time fans and new listeners. As we reflect on the night, one thing is clear: Fall Out Boy’s weird, wonderful and muddy Download headline debut will be remembered for years to come.

Fall Out Boy Download 2024 Setlist

  1. Take This To Your Grave
    • Chicago Is So Two Years Ago
    • Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy
  2. From Under The Cork Tree
    • Sugar, We’re Goin Down
    • Dance, Dance
    • A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
    • Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)
  3. Infinity On High
    • This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
    • Thriller
    • Bang the Doldrums
    • Thnks fr th Mmrs
  4. Folie à Deux
    • Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
    • I Don’t Care
  5. Save Rock and Roll
    • The Phoenix
    • My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
  6. American Beauty / American Psycho
    • Uma Thurman
    • The Kids Aren’t Alright
    • Immortals
  7. M A N I A
    • The Last of the Real Ones
  8. So Much (for) Stardust
    • So Much (for) Stardust
    • Love From the Other Side
    • Fake Out
  9. Encore
    • XO
    • Centuries
    • Saturday

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