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Fall Out Boy back and doing it up big

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz is thrilled that his band is doing a big summer tour for a lot of reasons. First, it's a chance to co-headline with Paramore, a group Wentz says Fall Out Boy fans had for some time wanted to see paired with his group on tour.

The co-headline format, which comes to First Niagara Pavilion on July 3, also means Fall Out Boy will get the chance to win over Paramore fans that aren't that familiar with Fall Out Boy's music. And yes, Wentz's band figures to cash some hefty paychecks for its efforts along the way.

But perhaps the most rewarding feeling for Wentz is seeing his band conclude the U.S. portion of its touring cycle behind its 2013 album, “Saves Rock and Roll,” by playing the largest venues available, aside from the mammoth sports stadiums.

“Being able to get into amphitheaters is great,” Wentz says in a teleconference interview. “I guess we didn't even have the hope of that when we started this album process.”

That statement might seem like false modesty coming from a member of a band that has known what it's like to have million-selling albums and play arenas before. But Fall Out Boy's future was probably that uncertain when the group started this latest chapter in its career.

Formed in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette in 2001 by Wentz, singer/guitarist Patrick Stump, drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman, the group's career took off with two platinum-plus hit albums, 2005's “From Under the Cork Tree” and 2007's “Infinity on High.”

But then the waters started getting choppy.

The group's next album, 2009's “Folie a Deux,” was more musically adventurous, and many fans didn't like what they heard, some even booing the songs when Fall Out Boy played them on tour.

Meanwhile, tensions within the band got worse on the road, to the point that, toward the end of the tour, the members agreed that Fall Out Boy should go on hiatus.

It wasn't until 2012 that Wentz and Stump took the first steps toward a reunion by getting together to try writing songs. A first session came up empty, but a little later, the pair reconvened and came up with the song “Where Did the Party Go.” Feeling they were on to something, a meeting with all four band members was scheduled to discuss a reunion of Fall Out Boy and how the group should proceed.

Not wanting to raise hopes of fans, the band kept the fact that it was making a new album a secret until it was finished and ready for its April 2013 release.

Fall Out Boy was back. The band members, though, wondered if anyone would care.

The album is more diverse, musically. There is thumping rocker, complete with modern synthetic rhythms and sonics in “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.” “The Phoenix” shifts between brisk rock with heavily orchestrated segments to epic effect. “Just One Yesterday” brings some shades of soul into the group's rocking-pop sound. “The Might Fall” mixes gritty rock with hip-hop and features guest vocals from Big Sean.

But there's also some musical comfort food for long-time fans as songs like “Alone Together,” “Young Volcanoes” and the title song (complete with a guest appearance from Elton John) are among several pop anthems that hew closer to earlier songs.

Fall Out Boy hopes to finish the “Save Rock and Roll” touring cycle with a bang on the co-headlining tour with Paramore. The group has designed a show specifically for this tour.

“There's going to be completely different content on the screens. Then we have a couple of tricks up our sleeve,” Wentz says. “We went back and looked over big rock tours that we liked. … We just looked at different things and thought about what we thought would be iconic about them, everything from, like, Eddie onstage with Iron Maiden to, like, the snake pit that Metallica used to bring out with them, and trying to do our own take on those things.

“So, it's a big deal for us, and we're able to do all of the bells and whistles,” he says. “I would say, expect the biggest Fall Out Boy show of the album cycle.”

Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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