Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World Brought Audience Members Together, In Tears

Genny Sheara
Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy at Climate Pledge Arena.

When I was 14, I thought nobody understood me.

It was cliché even before my time, and looking back I feel nothing but the appropriate twinges of embarrassment for my high-school self. But at 14, at my third school in just as many years, I was stranded in the expanse that lies between the perimeters of childhood and teenagerdom (an appropriately melodramatic image). I was lacking emotional object permanence; I couldn’t imagine a life outside of the one already at arm’s-length, dictated by bell schedules and chemistry homework. 

Luckily, somewhere among my overly self-serious lamentations on loneliness and Texas suburbia, I found great music, among other things–but let’s keep this in the arts and entertainment genre for the sake of the paper. Through these lyrics I was able to understand things that I still struggle to express on my own.

Fall Out Boy remains, to this day, the most important to me. It was the first band I ever really ‘found’ on my own after over a decade of listening exclusively to ABBA CDs and FM radio. Of all the bands that emerged from the 2000’s pop punk explosion, they remain the most musically interesting and culturally relevant. But for hours each day, I could just sit and read and transcribe their lyrics alone. Yes, there were always the pop punk trademarks of angst and leaving this old town and unrequited love—on that note, while within the confines of a conservative Catholic education, what better way could I express wanting so badly for a girl to like me back? But they wrote the incommunicable with a depth and precision that I had never heard before. 

It was these lyrics I found myself bawling out on the first of March—sincerest apologies to anyone in Section 120 who was trying to videotape the concert and actually hear the music. Thankfully, it seemed that everyone else in the crowd was on the same wavelength, producing that ephemeral attachment that only happens through live music; we danced together, we lost our voices together, I’m sure more than a few people cried together. (The latter I narrowly avoided due to the fact that the band only played one verse of “What a Catch, Donnie.”) I admit I’m sentimental, but I just wanted to turn around to every single person around me and tell them I love you and mean it!

James Adkins of Jimmy Eat World.

Before that, Jimmy Eat World took the stage as the third and final openers. For a band who wrote a song that became as much of a household anthem as “The Middle,” I was moved by the humility and authenticity that frontman Jim Adkins expressed on stage. I imagine that watching thousands of people sing the words you wrote at sixteen promising things would get better never gets less impactful. 

When I was 14, my dad texted me the YouTube link to “The Middle” and told me to listen to it. Of course, I had heard it before—it’s one of those songs you might not be able to avoid even if you tried. But to this day, it remains so emotionally potent I’m almost scared to hear it. For that audience, the music from Jimmy Eat World and Fall Out Boy and The Maine and Daisy Grenade was a vehicle for connection with everyone else in the stadium that night. To be honest, it’s baptismal. Whether that music for you is Metallica or Taylor Swift, I hope you know that not only did someone feel something so intensely that they put it to song, but the hundreds of thousands of people who scream it back to them do too.

Of course, the show was great. There were pyrotechnics and fireworks and confetti cannons, which security kindly informed me to duck beneath because “it’ll knock you out cold” if it fires, curtains that fell on cue and set pieces and a floating doberman head. If anything, I just wish each set had been longer. 

The funniest part of this whole story is how mundane it is. Between songs, the person in the seat to my right told me about how this was her seventh Fall Out Boy concert, and every single one was incredible. While I stood at the foot of the stage doing my best impression of a professional photographer, I saw how so many of the fans at the barricade held up signs saying something along the lines of “this music saved my life.” I thought about how thankfully, gloriously, there is absolutely nothing special about feeling alone at 14, or 20, or 50, and there is absolutely everything special about finding defiant hope despite that.

Fan holding a sign at the concert. (Genny Sheara)
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Genny Sheara, Editor-in-Chief

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  • J

    Mar 10, 2024 at 2:45 pm

    I’ll just say that you summed up about exactly how I feel about all that you wrote. Agelessness is correct: I’m almost 65, getting to see FOB for the 2nd time; and i can’t wait to finally see Jimmy Eat World. The Middle saved me a few years ago when i was dealing with some stuff. I’m humbled that he was only16 when he wrote it. Heck, they’re all amazing!