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Tour Review : Boys of Zummer

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     This past Friday night Wiz Khalifa rolled into the Hershey Giant Center as part of the Boys of Zummer tour with Fall Out Boy. The tour package at first glance certainly surprised some fans and music critics a like but the risk of combining two different genres of music deserves to be applauded, not criticized. The seat portion of the venue was very close to being full and the standing room section was rowdy with anticipation as the stage was being set for Wiz Khalifa to perform. Hailing from Pittsburgh Wiz Khalifa is no stranger to large crowds in Pennsylvania but an arena show always an important milestone in any artists career, especially in a home state. That being said nearly every date of the Boys of Zummer tour were outside amphitheaters so seeing the massive amount of production set up for an inside show gave the tour a very different feel and vibe.

    As the house lights flickered off, a lengthy video introduction began to play across a portion of the massive screen set up that was the Boys of Zummer stage. The stage began to fill with smoke, some of it real and some of it simulated from off stage machines as the crowd roared and screamed knowing Wiz Khalifa was just minutes from performing. As the screen rose Khalifa had already begun walking down his massive stage set up belting out the first verses of “Ass Drop” off his newest album, Blacc Hollywood. The crowd was ready and they belted back the lines right with him and Khalifa began to command the crowd as he performed, never letting them catch their breathe for a second. He transitioned quickly into familiar and very popular songs as “Roll Up” and “Black and Yellow” were the next two songs in his set.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

    From there Wiz Khalifa took the crowd across his five album discography making sure to include his breakout singles a long the way but not forgetting his roots with some of the material off his old mix-tapes and a stellar performance of “Taylor Gang” that placed him on a secondary stage in the back of the venue. His vocals were on point through out the night and his on stage energy was infectious to watch, to put it simply Wiz Khalifa is a rockstar in a rapper’s body. He gets major props from me for performing with a live band, Kush and OJ have always been on the road with him but his music is transformed with the live sound over the simulated DJ approach that many contemporary musicians of his genre take. Wiz Khalifa never sounded winded as he ran across the large stage and he never shied away from a chance to dance, crawl, shake or jump across the stage as he sang.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     There is no doubt that Hershey came to party with Wiz Khalifa and he brought it right back from start to finish with a perfectly paced setlist. Balance is so crucial when it comes to live performances and Wiz Khalifa knew how to work the crowd in a way that can only be described as masterful, he had some help from his supporting band mates of course as they kept things rolling for him all night. Below is the setlist from the show :

Wiz Khalifa Hershey, PA 6-3 Setlist
Ass Drop
Roll Up
Black and Yellow
We Dem Boyz
No Sleep
Let It Go
Paperbond
So High
The Race
Promises
Work Hard, Play Hard
Taylor Gang
*Chevy Woods*
Young, Wild & Free
You and Your Friends
Stayin Out All Night
See You Again


Wiz Khalifa Photo Gallery by Matt Christine

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     As Wiz Khalifa wrapped up his set the arena came to a roar that was both a celebration of the incredible performance he just gave them and pent up excitement for what was about to come next, Fall Out Boy. Since their return in early 2013 Fall Out Boy has soared to new heights with multiple arena tours, massive radio success, a re-branding of the bands sound, and an all around approval from old fans and new fans a like. Not to mention the fact that they had a song coupled with Disney’s Big Hero 6 last year that only helped broaden their audience even further. The Boys of Zummer tour is a testament to Fall Out Boy’s growth since they returned as their venue sizes have only increased but it is also a statement of how they have managed to blur the borders in the music industry. Fall Out Boy has also marched to the beat of their own drum but 2015 has taken that to new levels and their fans were ready to live in the moment with them at Hershey.

     Though Fall Out Boy has been forward thinking since their triumphant return they are certainly well aware of their legacy and how much it means to the fans. As they stage illuminated for the first song of their set the crowd was instantly shocked as they dove head first into “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” one of the many early songs that helped catapult them to success early in their career. Fans expect its inclusion in the set but no one in the Hershey Giant Center could have predicted it would have been the opening song and the crowd’s frenzied reaction was exactly the energy Fall Out Boy wanted to keep going all night, and they did without fail. The band is currently riding high on the success of their recent release American Beauty / American Psycho , which was a critic success as well as a huge success with their massive fanbase. Many fans in Hershey crowd had their faces painted like the now iconic album artwork and many more had shirts branded or themed with the artwork from the album. The album embodied much of the sound that Fall Out Boy set out to capture with their comeback album Save Rock n’ Roll but the sound has evolved with a new twist.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     The production that Fall Out Boy had out with them for the Boys of Zummer tour raised their stage show to a new level that is really hard to try to describe in mere words. A secondary stage was used for a brief acoustic set as the stage was being re-arranged at one point prior to a lengthy but impressive drum solo from Andy Hurley. Massive LED panels have become very popular for live performances but Fall Out Boy did what they do best with them and changed the name of the game as they had one large screen in the back and one in the front that would drop at certain points in the set. The higher tiered screen also had live footage of them playing being broadcasted on it as well as entirely custom graphics for this tour run. Wiz Khalifa used a lot of the same LED set up for his performance but Fall Out Boy made full usage of the stage available and raised the bar even more with their constant use of all types of pyrotechnics during the set.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     Each band member got the spotlight to shine during the night and they were constantly in good spirits with each other, the crowd of course cheered every time Pete Wentz stepped up to the microphone to talk but they also came alive when Patrick Stump talked late in the set as well. There is no doubt that Fall Out Boy’s music spans generations because a glance across the crowd showed fans ranging from 16-35, some even older. The original fans have stuck around because Fall Out Boy continued to do what they do best, shock people while writing meaningful songs with relatable content. Though the newer fans may never appreciate the opening riff of The Take Over, The Breaks Over as much as a newer fan but that isn’t the point, they share the same passion for the same great band who has impacted their life in some way and that is the beautiful part about Fall Out Boy’s music. Very few bands have the staying power, reach, artistic flair, and ability to branch together so many different people for an incredible night of live music.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

     Fall Out Boy’s set spanned their career but focused heavily on their newer material which was a smart decision because the band has entered a new portion of their career. Sure, their older songs will always hold a special place in their hearts and the fans but as an artist I have nothing but respect for their decision to press on and really embrace what they are doing right now. Two of the best songs in the set were off their most recent album, “American Pyscho / American Beauty” was incredibly tight live and “Uma Thurman” came to life when performed live and even featured a brief appearance from Wiz Khalifa that was greeted to a warm roar from the crowd. The road forward is never an easy one for a band as collasal as Fall Out Boy but they have managed to so with ease and the result was a setlist that appealed to all fans, both old and new. The full setlist from the Boys of Zummer tour is listed below :

Fall Out Boy Hershey, PA 6-3 Setlist
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
Irresistible
The Phoenix
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
Thriller
Alone Together
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Immortals (Acoustic)
Young Volcanoes (Acoustic)
Andy Hurley Drum Solo
Dance, Dance
American Beauty/American Psycho
Uma Thurman (with Wiz Khalifa)
Thnks fr th Mmrs
I Don’t Care
Centuries

Encore:
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)
Saturday


Photo Gallery by Matt Christine

 

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