I am going to try to write this as best I can, but I'm not sure words can capture how I feel.
My brother has always been one of my best friends. As kids we were inseparable. As teens we fought, spent days/weeks not speaking, but at the end of the day, I loved him. I cared about him, and I admired him.
I have a very clear vision of the day he introduced me to Fall Out Boy. Their first album had just dropped. It was 2003. We were in our basement and we were both working on homework. We had this giant cd player/stereo in our basement that we used all the time. It was one of those that had several different slots for cd's , so we'd put a few in at a time and shuffle it. He put in Fall Out Boy and told me I should listen. Within seconds, I was absolutely hooked. I couldn't get enough. I'd play it in my car at all times, I knew every word to every song. I was obsessed.
Ever since that day in our basement, Fall Out Boy has held a special place in my heart. I remember another time my brother told me the reason he liked them- they were different, and they made music for kids who were, too. That made sense to me. I guess I always felt "different" because of my anxiety. I had a lot of friends, but I was also lonely. I think that's why I connected so well to their music. I got it. I knew what they were singing about. So did my brother. We didn't realize it at the time, but my brother and I bonded over that music because we both felt whole when we listened to it.
I think of my brother every single time I hear a Fall Out Boy song. Even their "new stuff" that he doesn't like as much because it's Top 40. It doesn't matter. I just need to hear their band name, a song, and I go back to that day in the basement.
I love Fall Out Boy because I love my brother, and they remind me of him. I love Fall Out Boy because they speak, loudly, for what they believe in.
Last night, my best friend Sam gave me the opportunity to live in their music for a night. She won tickets through a radio contest. We got to got to a private meet and greet during the day and even though Patrick Stump (lead singer) wasn't there, we got to meet the rest of the band. It was so surreal. To be standing next to the dudes that have been a major part of my life for 11 years.
We got to go to the concert in a suite. I've never done that, and this was the best concert to do it for. I enjoyed every moment of it. I felt my heart beating faster when Fall Out Boy took the stage, and through the whole concert I was just nodding my head, tapping my feet, and smiling. When they'd do an older tune I felt a rush of emotion through my body. When they sang a new song I found myself discovering new lyrics to fall in love with.
There was about 10-15 minutes of pure joy during the show, though. It was when things got a little quiet. The band covered Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home" and then went into their own song "What A Catch, Donnie", via piano which is my favorite version of the song, which is one of my favorite Fall Out Boy songs. Some of the lyrics include "I've got troubled thoughts and a self esteem to match". For the longest time, that simple phrase summed up my own emotions. Back then I had a really hard time describing what I was dealing with to people, and when I heard that song it was like -yes. That's how I feel. Also during this set they brought Brendan from Panic! At the Disco out to sing "20 Dollar Nose Bleed", a song that he guest vocals on in the original version. It was cool to see it live- they ended with the line "have you ever wanted to disappear". The lights went out, and the band quite literally disappeared. They reappeared on a smaller stage at the back of the arena (closer to us), where they performed two acoustic songs. The first was "Me and You", and the second was "Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy". That's when I lost it. That's a song from their first album, a song that I absolutely adore, probably my favorite song. I immediately reached for my phone to call my brother so he could hear it. I had to stop tears from falling because I was brought back to being 15 and in my basement. It was perfect.
The show was amazing, and I was truly in my element. I couldn't help but notice how young the fans were. Everyone seemed to be between the ages of 15-19. At first, I had a hard time with that. These kids were babies when the band first came out. I couldn't imagine how they could possibly appreciate the music. But then I saw them singing along to the songs- every song, even the old ones. And I realized that Fall Out Boy is gaining a new generation of fans. That these teenagers are hearing them for the first time and googling, youtubing, buying the stuff on ITunes. That made me happy. Maybe I'm "too old" for Fall Out Boy. Maybe I've outgrown it. Maybe I don't need them anymore as much as I used to. But these kids do. And I'm happy that someone is there for them and that when they get lonely and sad and feel different, they can turn on Fall Out Boy and feel accepted. That's the point, after all. My brother taught me that.
Thank you to my brother for bringing this music into my life.
Thank you Sam for being an amazing best friend and winning these tickets so that I could have a beautiful night. Thank you 98.7 Amp Radio for this opportunity and for the wonderful suite.
And thank you Fall Out Boy for being in my life for the past 11 years and for making the music the world needs to hear.