Photo: Tommy Dingus
Fun. puts on the kind of show that makes you want to grab the nearest person and hug the crap out of them. Accompanied by a manufactured haze, an entertaining LED backdrop and a band of five, Nate Ruess and fun. emerged ready to take the sold-out crowd on an emotionally-charged hour-and-a-half romp. You can imagine how hot and sweaty it got on the floor, bouncing to what seemed like a style concocted from ballads, electro-pop, lullabies, emo power and Irish drinking songs.
Ruess found the right combination of these elements and a way to deliver his signature sound with a sweet, melodious voice. That smooth delivery and ability to hold a long note inspired listeners to respond in kind and voice their approval. There were several instances where Ruess had to gather himself, visually taken aback by the overwhelming response from his fans.
This shower of love continued throughout the show and in the end, led to a double encore.
After a prompt from one of the band members, we found out who in the audience had attended the previous night’s show as well as this Saturday performance. This time around, however, these folks were treated to a fantastically moving rendition of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” in honor of the passing of Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch earlier in the day.
This long performance also treated fans to the majority of fun.’s two-album catalog. This, of course, culminated in the sing- and clap-along to the recent chart-topper “We Are Young.” That wasn’t the first time that Ruess asked for help with a song, either. There were numerous feel-good sing-alongs in which the crowd was encouraged to fist pump, harmonize and even hug a stranger. It was these interactions that really endeared the band to the fans. Someone in the crowd likened Ruess to Freddie Mercury during the show. It’s hard to think of much higher praise.
Regardless of who he reminds you of (if anyone), Ruess has his own way of making the stage his own. His mannerisms, vast array of facial expressions and flowing plaid shirt made for a frontman that you couldn’t take your eyes off. The masses jumped to “All the Pretty Girls,” the girls screamed their affection every change they got, and revelers were moved to the impassioned “All Alright” and “It Gets Better.”
Fun.’s skeleton crew of three (Ruess, Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost) was brought to another level when it doubled in size with the addition of the touring band. This collective brought a multitude of instrumental talents each, and a balance to Antonoff’s stage left ax-wielding wandering. Keyboardist/trumpet player (et al.), Dost, was Ruess’ most common partner for duets. When the song needed a feminine touch, Emily Moore, the keyboard/saxophone/acoustic guitar player (depending on the song) was the go-to girl.
This band brings a harmonious assemblage of voice, instrument, atmosphere and drama, and turns it into a show that you shouldn’t miss if they’re coming to your city. And don’t worry if you can’t find someone to go with, a stranger to hug will be provided for you.
— Review by Tommy Dingus