Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Concert Review: Weezer

The last time I had seen Weezer in concert I was less than pleased. It was a show at the Marcus Amphitheater where they were co-headlining with The Pixies. Weezer went on last, played about a 45 minute, uninspiring set, and left those of us in the crowd wondering what the hell just happened. I believe I read somewhere that they thought they were opening that night and it got switched or something (still a weak excuse for a co-headlining gig, but whatever). However, last Thursday night at The Eagles Ballroom made up for any ill will I felt towards a band that has shaped my life about as much as any band has.

The show started with Motion City Soundtrack taking the stage. We came in (the we is Reid, Mrs. Reid, and myself… Girlfriend of VJJ was supposed to be in attendance but was under the weather) just as they were finishing up their first song. Reid and I had previously seen about two songs of a MCS show at a Warped Tour, so we were excited to see what an entire set looked like. They were very good. The only complaint I have is I wish they would have played longer. They blew through a 30 minute (or so) set and left me wanting more. They played two songs off of their upcoming album due out in January. After hearing those two songs, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Jack’s Mannequin then took the stage for decent, but uninspiring set. I had heard about two songs by Jack’s Mannequin before and really didn’t know what to expect. They weren’t bad and they weren’t great. Reid and I didn’t have the distaste for them that Mrs. Reid had, but we didn’t thoroughly enjoy them either. After about 45 minutes (or so) they left the stage and the energy in the room began to grow. Everyone was excited to see what Weezer would do tonight. We would not be disappointed.

As we always do, we played the “Call your opener” game. I wanted to say Pork and Beans (which they used to open their encore) but I went with My Name is Jonas. I believe that Mrs. Reid called the new single while Reid called for… I can’t remember what he called for, but none of us were correct. Weezer came out and played an instrumental opening and then kicked into Hash Pipe. An interesting choice but it really got the crowd moving. I exchanged a couple texts with a friend about the choice and we both agreed that we didn’t see it coming, but that they were playing the crap out of it. This had to be a sign of good things to come.

It was around this time that I leaned over to Reid and said, “Is that the drummer playing guitar on stage left?” After looking that way for the better part of the second song we both agreed it was. Holy crap! What’s going on? It appears as if this move was made in order to free Rivers up to really rock out and be the front man he was meant to be. Rivers still picked up the guitar from time to time, but Pat Wilson only played the drums for a handful of songs in the middle of the set. Don’t doubt his ability either. He can flat out play the guitar. I will also say that the gentleman on the drums, Josh Freese, rocked the hell out of that kit. He has played with The Vandals, Devo, and a Perfect Circle. The guy is good.

Back to the music. The set that Weezer played was damn near perfect. Reid made the comment after the show that he really couldn’t have hand picked a better set. That is hard to disagree with. They played all of the hits and pretty much every song you could possibly want to hear. One of my favorite moments was when they played The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. This is such a great song and it really seemed like Rivers was channeling his inner Freddy Mercury. It was such a great example of every over the top, flamboyant, extravagant rock act ever. They also broke into a shortened cover of Song 2 by Blur. It was an interesting choice, but entertaining none the less. They also played Kids by MGMT. Once they started, we figured they would play a little bit and then go into another song of theirs. Well, not only did they play the whole thing, Rivers also threw on a blonde wig and sang some Lady Gaga for us. His rendition of Poker Face was pretty spot on, and damn funny.

They closed their set with Buddy Holly. They played Island in the Sun as part of their Encore and kicked big beach balls around. We got to hear Dope Nose, Beverly Hills, and Undone (The Sweater Song). The biggest surprise of the night (besides odd covers) was when they played Surf Wax America off of the Blue Album. It was also interesting when they played Why Bother off of Pinkerton. I’m glad they did because it was fun to hear those songs, but Why Bother was the only song they played off of Pinkerton.

I can’t complain about this concert at all since I classified it as probably the best “rock” concert I had ever seen. It was a blast and Weezer erased any doubts I had after the last time I had seen them. I will definitely see them the next time they are in town. I am now almost a thousand words into this review and I could easily write a thousand more, but I will spare you from that. Just know that if you missed this show, don’t miss Weezer (or Motion City Soundtrack for what it’s worth) next time they are in town. Or just go out for a beer with me and we can talk about it for hours at Caffrey’s while listening to Say It Ain’t So.