If “Boyz of Zummer” was the least appropriate lineup for a tour in the history of tours, “Wintour is Coming” was the follow-up that clearly broadcasted “lesson learned.”
In fact, at least at Friday night’s stop of “Wintour,” everything that could go right did. Opening up the show was PVRIS, the fledgling band from Lowell, MA fresh off of Warped Tour this past summer. Their synth-infused punk filled Madison Square Garden with perfectly balanced sound. Though it was clear that their comfort zone was somewhere closer to a club than a stadium, nothing could stop the power behind Lynn Gunn’s vocals. Nothing makes a crowd of mostly teenage pop-punk girls feel more welcome and excited to be at a show than an incredible set fronted by a woman who can sing songs like “St. Patrick” almost as easy as breathing. The band’s chemistry was palpable, and the energy was constant throughout their set.
Close on their heels was AWOLNATION, who took the drama — and the rock — to a whole new level. With jaw-dropping lighting effects that had masterfully crafted synchronicity to the songs, AWOL blew past the indifference that graced the faces of those who had only known “Sail” up until that moment. Frontman Aaron Bruno made the stadium shrink in size until it was his plaything; a small room where he and his incredibly talented friends could jump about and bounce off the walls. Leaving the instrumentation to the rest of the band gave Bruno the chance to really interact with the entire audience. By the end of the set — which finished with an anthemic rendition of “Sail,” complete with the whole crowd fist-pumping and inexplicably caught up in a wave of togetherness and strength — anybody left in the audience who wasn’t a fan was probably also the sort of person who walks slow in the middle of the sidewalk on Broadway.
Last but never least, Fall Out Boy took the stage to a sold-out crowd and a flurry of fake snow that fluttered from the ceiling as thousands of fans gleefully sung along to “Irresistible.” Artfully selected videos played behind the boys as Joe Trohman strutted across the stage to counter Patrick Stump’s skipping. The set, a mix of older hits like “Grand Theft Autumn” and later releases like “Uma Thurman,” flawlessly carried the crowd through a night of heart-aching nostalgia or, for the newer fans, undeniable connection. There was even a Bowie tribute tucked cleverly into “Save Rock And Roll,” with not-so-subtle blue-and-red lightning emblazoned across b-roll of Mars and outer space. It was a set, night and tour for love, friends and idols.
A version of this article appeared in the March 7th print edition. Email Hailey Nuthals at [email protected]