Honda Civic Tour 2007 | 05.18.07

live_hondaThere were some funny parts in their set, though, especially when Hoppus pointed out that there was a woman in front doing sign language for anyone who was deaf. He proceeded to say, "Mark Hoppus is the sexiest man alive. He is super awesome…and I bet he is a great kisser."





Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, St. Louis

In this world, there are many unanswerable questions. For instance, why do almost all drummers feel the need to play shirtless? And why does it seem like all hipster wannabes smoke cigarettes? But the most interesting unanswerable question on my mind Friday, May 18, was why have none of these 12-year-old emo kids ever heard "Beat It"? You see, in the middle of their set during their headlining Honda Civic Tour 2007 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Fall Out Boy decided to cover the very popular '80s Michael Jackson hit and the emo kids, who made up most of the crowd, just stood there, in complete bewilderment. Yes, the Honda Civic Tour was a very interesting concert, indeed.

Cobra Starship, of Snakes on a Plane fame, kicked off the night. In short, Cobra Starship was fantastic. Brilliant, some might even dare to say. They really got the crowd going and were just downright entertaining. Not only did Cobra Starship entertain us with their music and witty personalities, but they also gave us a nice ego boost. Since they started their set while people were still making their way to their seats, guitarist Ryland Blackington decided to make us all feel better about ourselves by saying, "We see a lot of blue seats, but where we don't see blue seats, we see a lot of sexy people." They played a string of entertaining songs such as "Warmer in the Basement" which Gabe prefaced by saying, "This song is about loving a girl so much that you can't share her with anyone else, so you tie her up in your basement," leaving the crowd puzzled and slightly disturbed. They ended their set with their hit single "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" with William Beckett (The Academy Is…) making a brief entrance to sing along, while keytarist (that's right, keytarist) Victoria Asher covered Maja Ivarsson's (The Sounds) part from the song and Honda Civic Tour misfit Paul Wall rapped Travis McCoy's (Gym Class Heroes) part. All and all, their set was delightful and I would love to see them again live.

Immediately after Cobra Starship's set, Paul Wall took the stage. I don't have much to say about Wall, other than that it takes a lot of guts to go on a tour that is mainly comprised of rock bands. He received a decent response from the audience, but honestly, I did not think his rapping was even that impressive. He basically just said his name a lot, along with shout outs to his record label. Hell, I could do that. All I'm saying though is, the man has guts. He's lucky the emo kids haven't slaughtered him alive…yet.

After Wall, The Academy Is… took the stage. Musically, they are an extremely tight band. They sound exactly the same on stage as they do on their albums. Beckett prances around the stage, making sweet love to his microphone throughout the set, while the rest of the guys thrash around and look like they genuinely love what they are doing. They put their heart and soul into their performance, which was completely obvious from the audience's perspective. They do not have much onstage banter, and while I do honestly think that they would be better in a smaller club, I like these guys and I think their set was good, especially when they broke out their new hit single "We've Got A Big Mess on Our Hands" from their new release, Santi. There is a great part in the song that sounds like an audience is singing along, and while there's obviously not much audience participation on the disc, there was quite a bit Friday night. All and all, they were pretty great.

After a short break, it was +44's turn. It was somewhat strange, though, because Fall Out Boy started their career opening up for Blink-182 and now two-thirds of Blink-182 is opening for them. In that same vein, Mark Hoppus just needs to face the facts: he will never be Tom DeLonge and +44 will never be Blink-182. +44 is basically Blink-182 under another name. In fact, when they attempted to cover "What's Your Age Again?" a little place inside my heart wept for the now defunct Blink-182. Neither Angels and Airwaves or +44 will be as good as the original, so both parties should just stop trying. There were some funny parts in their set, though, especially when Hoppus pointed out that there was a woman in front doing sign language for anyone who was deaf. He proceeded to say, "Mark Hoppus is the sexiest man alive. He is super awesome…and I bet he is a great kisser," while the poor woman had to translate it, laughing. Their set was fun and Travis beat the hell out of those drums, but it was too reminiscent of Blink-182 to really judge it on its own merit.

Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for. Fall Out Boy. After a year of scandals and a lot more drama than most pop-punk-esque bands drum up, I'll admit I was not excited for their set at all. In fact, before it began, I got up and went to go check out the merch. But when they started the intro to their set, I was drawn in. I made my way back to the lawn and I stood, watching, waiting to see what was going to happen. Soon, images began to flash across the screens and the intro to "Thriller" began. The song begins with a dedication that says, "Yeah, what you critics said would never happen. We dedicate this album to anybody people said couldn't make it. To the fans that held us down till everybody came around. Welcome. It's here."

And from out of nowhere, Fall Out Boy was here. They appeared, springing up from underneath the stage, and the fun began. Every song, every chord was absolutely fantastic. Patrick Stump can sing his heart out and he really shone when he took the stage solo and sang "Golden" while playing the piano. To be perfectly honest, these guys surprised the hell out of me. They were probably one of the most musically talented bands I have seen perform in a very long time and the show did not lack any theatrical details. I felt like I was at a real rock concert with all the perks—the fire, the fireworks, the big light-up screens. And even though their hit, "This Ain't a Scene (It's an Arms Race)" seemed a bit like a Nazi rally live, Fall Out was utterly fantastic. I can honestly say that I walked into that stadium hating them and I walked out a fan.

All in all, this show was one of the best I have been to in a long time. It was entertaining in all the right places and the lineup was great, perhaps with the exception of Wall. These bands are changing the shape of rock 'n' roll as we know it, so keep a look out for them in the upcoming months. None of them will be "beating it" anytime soon. | Katie Herring

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