By Michel Dussack
This past weekend, fun. wrapped up an extensive tour in support of their explosively successful album Some Nights with two sold out homecoming shows at New York’s Terminal 5. At this point, we all know the story of how single ‘We Are Young’ was propelled to #1 on the charts (and set sales records) thanks in part to a Super Bowl commercial. I’ve covered the band’s last couple shows in the area, however those were much more intimate – an iHeartRadio show that held 200 people and a private album release show at a restaurant to no more than 40 people. However, now the band was playing two very sold out shows at a 3,000 person capacity venue where they opened for Paramore just nine months ago, and quite frankly, I had my doubts that they could full off such gigantic shows.
I’m happy to report that I was wrong. The band owned the large stage, filling it with infectious pop rock songs, confetti, and hundreds of balloons. In terms of song selection, the shows were similar, though a couple songs were different between the two nights, and the order was different as well. The first night, fun. opened with ‘Some Nights Intro’ as the stage was covered with a foot of thick fog that gave the impression the band were walking on clouds throughout the song, while they opted for the more upbeat ‘One Foot’ to open the second show. ‘Walking the Dog’, one of their more popular songs from their debut album Aim and Ignite was met with rapturous applause early on in the shows.
During the second show, vocalist Nate Ruess announced that the band was filming a music video at the show and from that point on, the crowd’s energy seemed to double. For songs like ‘The Gambler’ (and an acoustic version of ‘Be Calm’ on the second night), the core trio of Ruess, pianist and trumpet player Andrew Dost, and guitarist Jack Antonoff performed without their touring musicians and perfectly showcased the raw talent behind the band. Indeed, if there’s one complaint to be made about fun.’s recent album it would be copious amounts of autotune on Ruess voice and a bit too much production on a handful of the songs. Thankfully, the autotune was almost entirely stripped away for these shows, Ruess also dedicated ‘The Gambler’ to the families of the band members in attendance at the shows, particularly Antonoff’s parents for being so supportive of the band in their early days.
Later on in the show, ‘Barlights’ allowed Antonoff to flex his guitar skills in front of the crowd, playing the bands heaviest riff in front of a giant speaker to generate the right amount of distortion and feedback. Next came ‘We Are Young’ and as soon as Antonoff started drumming the intro to it, cheers erupted from everyone in the venue. As loud as Ruess was singing, the crowd nearly drowned him out for every word of the song. Less confident bands would choose this as the point to leave the stage for the encore break, however after five months of nonstop touring, fun. are brimming with confidence. At the first show, they followed up with a cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, while at the second show they opted for their own song ‘All Alright’ to close the set.
The band returned for a two song encore each night, the first night getting ‘One Foot’ and it’s catchy trumpet driven beat to open, while the second night got ‘Some Nights’ first, which was incredible. The entire packed floor of Terminal 5 erupted during the song, with everyone from the front to the back jumping in unison. When the song finished, Ruess commented that it was the best crowd he’d ever seen for that song. ‘Take Your Time (Coming Home)’ closed out both shows and the eight minute song with multiple pauses served as a perfect goodbye each night. As confetti (at the first show) and black and white balloons (at the second show) rained down on the crowd, you could see genuine happiness on every single band members face as they finished these two shows. And when the band is that happy while performing, it’s impossible not to have fun.
Fun. setlist (6/16/12)
1. Some Nights (Intro)
2. Some Nights
3. Walking the Dog
4. Why Am I The One
5. Light a Roman Candle with Me
6. All Alone
7. It Gets Better
8. At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
9. Carry On
10. The Gambler (Acoustic)
11. All The Pretty Girls
13. We Are Young
14. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover)
15. One Foot
16. Take Your Time (Coming Home)
Fun. setlist (6/17/12)
1. One Foot
2. Walking the Dog
3. Why Am I The One
4. All the Pretty Girls
5. It Gets Better
6. At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
7. Carry On
8. The Gambler (Acoustic)
9. Be Calm (Acoustic)
10. All Alone
12. We Are Young
13. All Alright
14. Some Nights
15. Take Your Time (Coming Home)
fun. has announced details of their very busy summer schedule, including sold out headline shows, high profile TV appearances, and the arrival of a new single/video from their breakthrough Fueled By Ramen debut, “SOME NIGHTS.”
The jam-packed itinerary gets underway this weekend when fun. teams with Janelle Monáe for a much-anticipated live performance of their record-breaking #1 hit, “We Are Young (Feat. Janelle Monáe),” on the 2012 MTV Movie Awards, slated for Sunday, June 3rd at 9 pm ET/PT (check local listings).
Monday, June 4th will see fun. visiting ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! for an eagerly awaited performance on the show’s famed Outdoor Stage.
Monday will also see the long awaited debut of the epic companion video to fun’s new single, “Some Nights.” The clip – directed by Anthony Mandler (Jay-Z, Rihanna, Drake, The Killers) – will have its world premiere exclusively on MTV and on www.mtv.com at 3:55 pm ET. In the meantime, fun. fans can get an early taste of the “Some Nights” video via a special teaser, streaming now at Fueled By Ramen’s official YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W4cGYALks_o.
fun. – who recently adorned the cover of Billboard – will return to TV in late June, including a rare indoor acoustic rendition of “We Are Young” on the Thursday, June 21st installment of NBC’s TODAY and a Friday, June 22nd visit to NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The appearances follow a prior array of TV performances, including CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman, TBS’ Conan, and VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live.
The NYC-based band is currently in the midst of a worldwide headline tour, with most dates already long sold out. The trek’s current leg will culminate with a pair of instant hometown sell-outs at New York City’s Terminal 5 on June 16th and 17th, following a special performance at Bonnaroo on June 10th. After a brief respite, July will see fun. traveling to London, Scotland, and Australia for a series of headline shows and festival appearances. A new North American itinerary will begin August 2nd at Philadelphia’s River Stage at Great Plaza. Among the leg’s just-announced highlights is an August 19th date at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, added after shows slated for August 17th and 18th proved instant sell outs.
The tour will also feature a number of festival performances, including Lollapalooza (slated for Chicago’s Grant Park on August 4th), Osheaga Festival Music et Arts (set for Montreal’s Jean Drapeau Parc on August 3rd), and Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival (in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on August 12th). The trek will conclude with two Canadian radio-sponsored festival appearances, X92.9’s “XFEST” at Calgary’s Fort Calgary on September 1st and SONiC 102.9’s annual “SONiC BOOM” at Edmonton’s Northlands Park on September 2nd.
As if all that weren’t enough, fun. is then set to embark on their first-ever full-scale European tour. The September/October schedule features headline dates and festival appearances across the Continent, including shows in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. For full details and ticket availability, go to http://ournameisfun.com/tour.
NORTH AMERICA 2012
2 Mountain View, CA LIVE 105 BFD @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
5 Flagstaff, AZ Pepsi Amphitheatre – NOTE NEW VENUE
6 Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe Railyard Park (Free Show)
8 Oklahoma City Diamond Ballroom– SOLD OUT!
9 St. Louis, MO The Pageant – SOLD OUT!
10 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo 2012
11 Covington, KY Madison Theatre– SOLD OUT!
13 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room– SOLD OUT!
14 Cleveland, OH House of Blues – SOLD OUT!
15 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE – SOLD OUT!
16 New York, NY Terminal 5 – SOLD OUT!
17 New York, NY Terminal 5 – SOLD OUT!
29 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
2 Philadelphia, PA River Stage @ Penn’s Landing
3 Montreal, QC Osheaga Music et Arts Festival
4 Chicago, IL Lollapalooza
8 Kansas City, MO 96.5 THE BUZZ Buzz Under The Stars
9 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre – SOLD OUT!
12 San Francisco, CA Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival
15 San Diego, CA SDSU Open Air Theatre
16 Las Vegas, NV The Pool @ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
17 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern – SOLD OUT!
18 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern – SOLD OUT!
19 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
23 Jacksonville, OR Britt 2012
24 Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
26 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory Concert House
28 Billings, MT Babcock Theatre
30 Regina, SK Conexus Convention Hall
31 Saskatoon, SK The Odeon
1 Calgary, AB X92.9’s XFEST
2 Edmonton, AB SONiC 102.9’s SONiC BOOM
To say that fun. have been having a great few months would be the understatement of the year in the music world. Their single ‘We Are Young’ has been covered by Glee and was used in a massive Super Bowl commercial, and as a result the song reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and set all kinds of sales records. On April 23, iHeartRadio hosted a private contest only show with the band for a lucky 200 fans, a now intimate showcase for a group who will be playing two sold out shows at the massive Terminal 5.
The band arrived on stage to a massive array of lights, most notable being the group of lights behind the band that alternated between “f”, “u”, and “n.” as they began with ‘One Foot’ off their latest album ‘Some Nights’. Vocalist Nate Ruess, previously of The Format, sounded pitch perfect throughout the bands six song set – so perfect in fact, that the use of autotune on a handful of tracks off ‘Some Nights’ seems pointless in hindsight.
“Walking the Dog” from fun.’s debut album “Aim and Ignite” was next and it highlighted one of the problems that bands with a massive single typically suffer from. While everyone at the show was quick to say they were a big fan, the fact is, the majority of the crowd was unfamiliar with their early material. Guitarist Jack Antonoff’s riff sounded like a mix of surf rock and Vampire Weekend, and the track allowed all the members to showcase their vocals – most notably touring member Emily Moore who plays guitar, vocals, brass, and sings. The additional touring members, Nate Harold on bass, and Will Noon on drums rounded out the band’s sound.
“Carry On” followed, and without a doubt, this should be the next single from the album. It starts off as a quiet, restrained acoustic number, but about halfway through, it’s bursting with powerful vocals from Ruess and Queen influenced electric guitar solos. Another track from the debut album, ‘Barlights’ followed, and again the crowd seemed largely unfamiliar with it, though they certainly enjoyed it, especially the sing along that Ruess helped to orchestrate.
At this point, Ruess thanked the crowd for being wonderful and explained that the band had taped for Letterman earlier in the day and that they had two more songs for us. Surprisingly, they chose to play ‘We Are Young’ next which elicited a great reaction from the crowd. At one point, Ruess stepped away from his microphone to allow the crowd to take over the song, and he smiled listening to the crowd try to hit some of the higher notes.
Andrew Dost, the guy who plays nearly all the instruments except guitar on the albums, lead a gorgeous piano introduction for the last song of the night, “Some Nights”. The track seemed extra polished live, and traded a bit of the African based drumming for a more rock vibe. It was the perfect way to cap off an intimate set with the band. As everyone filed out of the venue, several awful puns were made regarding “having fun” at the show, but thankfully, I’ve spared you from any in this review.