Weezer and The Pixies came to Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota this last Saturday, March 30. The day was amazing weather wise and with most of the snow melted, people are excited to be out and about at shows such as this. It’s the time of year for outdoor preparties and hanging out prior to the concert versus hoping you’ll make it into the venue fast enough to avoid freezing. So it was no surprise that Saint Paul was packed on Saturday for events.
The Pixies preceded Weezer, a band that was a main influence for Weezer. I very much enjoy The Pixies. They have this cool sound that mixes punk, surfer rock, and who knows what else to create a sound unique to their 1986 origins. I wonder what people thought of them that had never heard them and were there simply to see Weezer. They seemed to have a hell of a following in this audience however.
Opening with “Cactus”, my second favorite song of theirs, they had a simple spotlight on Black Francis, which I found to be awful. The remainder of the show had great lighting that was a lot of fun and trippy in The Pixies nature. Opening with that type of lighting, especially with a more upbeat song, just seemed odd. They blew through twenty-three songs in their set. Many other bands, take note – audiences enjoy music, not banter from band members. They didn’t talk to the audience until the end, rather sticking to the music the people came, and paid, to hear. Awesome.
Weezer opened their set with a barbershop quartet version of “Pork and Beans”, complete with full barbershop garb. It was fantastic – such a fun and unexpected introduction. For a quick costume change, they played the “Happy Days” theme over the loudspeaker before kicking into “Buddy Holly”. Everyone was on their feet at this point. “The Sweater Song” was played quite soon after and I think everyone has some awesome memory attached to it. For so many, it’s reminds them of college or high school. People were not only singing it word for word, but just bursting with emotion while doing so. The same feel held throughout the night. Rivers Cuomo rode out into the crowd on a little boat beginning with a cover of “Paranoid” and moving onto “Perfect Situation” and the cover of “Take on Me” before returning to the stage.
I had never seen Weezer before, mainly due to being out of town or working every single time they showed up here. I didn’t know how into heavy metal Rivers Cuomo is until just prior to the show and it really showed. First off, prior to the Weezer set, Motley Crue’s “Knock ‘Em Dead” and Krokus’ “Screaming’ in the Night” were playing. That’s not a coincidence. I never hear Krokus at the Xcel. Aside from that, check out how much the Weezer emblem from last night mirrors the Van Halen one (it’s very evident when they turned it red). The usage of the fire during “Hash Pipe” reminds me so much of the Kiss tour I’ve been immersed in for nearly the last month. It’s so funny – I love how he brought all that inspiration to the show.
A few notes – there was a ten year old girl behind me. Someone asked her how she knows who Weezer is and she goes, “Oh, from my dad.” Yeah, I’m old now. Also, while I was busting out to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, there were so many people that were sitting down and not singing because they somehow didn’t know the lyrics. There were people there that had no idea that “Take on Me” and “Africa” were covers and I guarantee you that there were people that thought “No Scrubs” was an original Weezer song as well.
Overall, it was an awesome night. I have heard other outlets complaining about Weezer bringing the dork rock to Saint Paul. Yeah, they did. They brought the dork rock and the dorks in droves and the dorks had a ton of fun. As far as I’m concerned, Weezer is a bit of a bulletproof band. I was selling tickets to their shows when I was sixteen and their fans were rabid for them then too. They’re fun and fun sells.
Review by Tracy Hansen – Photos by Kyle Hansen