Concert Recap: MONUMENTOUR

In 2005, I heard Paramore and Fall Out Boy for the very first time and fell head over heels in love with both. In 2010, I got a lyric from Paramore’s “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” tattooed on my left forearm. In 2013, I got a lyric from Fall Out Boy’s “Thriller” tattooed on my ribcage, right beneath my heart. And on June 30, 2014, I saw Paramore and Fall Out Boy co-headline MONUMENTOUR, a tour that I’ve been dreaming about for the last decade. I can say, with confidence, that it was the absolute best night of my entire life.

It makes me feel really old to think about the fact that I’ve been listening to Paramore and Fall Out Boy for almost 10 years. They’ve seen me through a lot of life, helping me adjust to and get over and understand and cope with and manage countless problems and hard times. They’ve helped me celebrate a hell of a lot of good times, too. Paramore and Fall Out Boy are both outrageously important to me for different reasons, and in different ways, but one thing’s for sure: for years, anytime anyone has asked me who would headline my dream tour, these two bands came up at least 7 out of 10 times in my answer. At last night’s show, Hayley Williams talked a bit about the fact that MONUMENTOUR should have happened a long, long time ago. The fanbases for these two bands overlap like mad, and both bands give such dynamic live performances that it should have been a no brainer to pair them together for a tour.

That being said, I think the timing of this tour is really, really important. Paramore has had a banner year following the release of their fourth studio album, a self-titled journey through what is arguably the band’s most difficult time: the departure of two of its founding members, Josh and Zac Farro. On Monday, the band played a set that focused less on the singles (though they still played “Misery Business” — which featured a surprise proposal from a fan to his girlfriend during the sing-along!!! — and “Pressure”  and “Ignorance” and a few other fan faves) and more on where they are and how they’ve grown as a band. There were a ton of songs from the self-titled record, including ones I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear live, but those were well balanced by a mixture of songs from the first three records as well.

DSCN0183What most blew my mind was the performance of “Let the Flames Begin / Part II”, which included a transition that brought tears to my eyes. It was also amazing to hear “Last Hope” live, and closing the set with “Ain’t It Fun” was perfect. This was my fifth time seeing Paramore live, my second at this venue, and it was a totally different experience from any other Paramore show. I absolutely loved it. There were confetti canons and giant balloons and the band, as always, looked incredibly stoked just to be there. Hayley Williams is such a spitfire on stage, but she also took the time to talk to the audience at several points, welcoming new concert-goers to the Paramore family and getting emotional when she talked about the decade that Paramore has been a band and all of the fans that have been around since the beginning.

Following Paramore’s set, a good number of people departed the pit. On one hand, I couldn’t blame them; it was 90+ degrees that day, and the venue was incredibly chaotic. We arrived at around 1 p.m. and were told we’d need to return at 5 p.m. to park, though we’d received emails detailing a 3 p.m. Paramore fan tailgate. Said tailgate was canceled for the New Hampshire show, but the venue staff still allowed people to start parking at 3:30 p.m. And despite being told at 1 p.m. and then 3:15 p.m. that we couldn’t wait outside the gate for parking to open, when we arrived at 3:30 p.m., several cars were waiting. At any rate, we stood in line for 2.5 hours waiting for doors to open and then stood in the crowd for another hour as we waited for New Politics to take the stage and open the show. One fan passed out within minutes of the crowd gathering in front of the barricade, so venue staff started handing out water — at $4 a bottle. Given that at an indoor show the night before, security gave out water to those in the pit for free, and without being asked, it was a little disturbing to see a venue so blatantly trying to make money off of dehydrated, overheated young people who just wanted to see a good show. Eventually, after lots of begging and a few more blacked out fans, security started hosed down the crowd with cold water in between headliners. My last experience seeing Paramore at this venue in 2010 was wonderful, but this one has turned me off for life. I won’t be returning.

20140630_221108 That being said, those who did exit the pit (or possibly exited the venue altogether?) missed one hell of a set from Fall Out Boy. Flame canons and fireworks aside, the band played a fast-paced, exciting set that featured tons of hits, old and new, as well as songs from Save Rock and Roll that they didn’t play on the comeback tour last year. After a four-year hiatus, Fall Out Boy dropped a series of bombshells last February including a new single, announcement of a new album, and tour dates for the spring and summer. They’ve been touring the world ever since, giving hope back to fans that thought they’d never hear new music from Fall Out Boy again. I first saw Fall Out Boy in 2009, when the band opened for blink-182 on its reunion tour. It was right before the announcement of the band’s “indefinite hiatus” and it was an outrageous experience. Prior to last night, that was hands-down the best show I’d ever seen. Now, the two are at the very least tied, though I think MONUMENTOUR edges out blink-182 by just a hair. A very thin hair. Maybe. Maybe.

DSCN0189Much like Paramore, Fall Out Boy played a set that was very different from any I’d seen from them before. (This was my third time seeing them live.) It was obvious that both bands were having as much fun as possible, trying new songs and exploring new performance ideas and giving it all for the fans. Fall Out Boy not only covered Queen (which was really fucking wonderful but also kind of hilarious), but Pete Wentz incited a chant in support of the USMNT that was recorded and put online (you can see myself and my friends in it, here) and Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley had a drum battle. It was disappointing that they didn’t open the set with “Thriller”, I won’t lie, and I missed “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”, but even though I yearned for some songs to make an appearance, it was still an absolutely amazing set. We ended up leaving the pit toward the end because AR felt so sick, but stayed close enough to see the last few songs on the screens.

I have lyrics from both of these bands inked in my skin because they’ve both been so important to my growth as a person. Seeing them play a show together was literally a dream come true, and despite the disgusting heat and the awful treatment from the venue staff, I’m sticking by my claim that it was the best night of my life. Seeing these bands make such incredible comebacks within months of each other was one of the best parts of 2013. Seeing them on tour together in 2014 will stand out in my memory for the rest of my life.

I only knew three songs from the opener, New Politics, who played a killer set as well. (Though as AR said, the amount of breakdancing made it feel simultaneously like a bizarre performance of So You Think You Can Dance live.) If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would change would be the venue. Everything else was absolutely fucking flawless.

If you’ve got tickets to MONUMENTOUR, I hope you have a stellar time. I can’t imagine any tour that could ever top this one (though I might have to eat those words at some point).

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