Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
December 1, 2009
Weezer undoubtedly puts on one of the best shows EVER. They are simply AMAZING to see live. Honestly though, I have not experienced such an awesome show since attending my second Green Day concert back on July 13th of this year. It took until December 1st, going to my second Weezer concert, for me to truly feel like I witnessed a really good band play their songs live to thousands of adoring fans. If you are one of the lucky people in the world who have seen Weezer live, you know exactly what I am talking about, right? I want to challenge anybody out there who has been to Weezer concert to dare say that they left disappointed by the band’s performance. Go ahead, do it!
More photos of Weezer after the jump..
Set List / Chicago
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Surf Wax America
Let It All Hang Out
Say It Ain’t So
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Can’t Stop Partying
Tired of Sex
Time (Pink Floyd cover)
I’m Your Daddy
My Name Is Jonas
Pork And Beans
Kids / Poker Face / Kids (MGMT / Lady Gaga / MGMT cover)
Island In The Sun
Weezer kicked off their U.S. tour in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom this past Tuesday night. And yes, the mini trampoline still plays a vital role in the band’s live show. By the second song of the night “Troublemaker,” Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo was bouncing up and down on his child-sized trampoline acting quite the part of a little kid playing in his parents’ basement on mom’s exercise equipment. “Let It All Hang Out” was the first new song Cuomo and Co. played after giving the crowd four oldies in a row to start off the night’s festivities. Getting up close and personal with his audience, Cuomo gradually made his way from the incredibly high Aragon stage down to the barricade. Once propped up against the defensive barrier, lead singer Cuomo reached out into the general admission pit where his loyal fans eagerly awaited with the anticipation of touching their rock idol.
For the infamous rousing chorus sing-along ending of “Perfect Situation,” Cuomo effortlessly played the part of high school choir teacher. With hearty enjoyment, Cuomo gave out the following encouraging instructions to his devoted pupils: “Come on, my angels. Louder, my little birdies. Beautiful!” In true Weezer style, bassist Scott Shriner took over lead vocal duties for “Dope Nose” and did not disappoint. That’s what I love about Weezer. All four band members can sing lead vocals for every song in addition to being perfectly capable of playing each other’s instruments. It’s truly amazing to see such a talented group of musicians in a situation where even though there is a definite frontman, each of the guys would have no problem whatsoever carrying on the show if the leader of the pack could not perform.
To be completely honest, the only moment when I was sorely disappointed with Weezer’s show occurred when the Los Angeles foursome performed their latest single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” Apparently, Chicago’s alternative rock radio station Q101 held a contest where one lucky Weezer fan won the chance to sing with the band during this song, which is off new album Raditude. This older lady named JoAnne from Naperville ended up as the chosen one and was brought up on stage before the guys launched into “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” Cuomo admitted that he had no idea what the contest entailed or what was supposed to happen. Therefore, instead of letting JoAnne from Naperville sing background vocals during the song, he told her to sing lead vocals with him as a duet.
Umm, this chick was supposed to be a HUGE Weezer fan, right? Well, this so-called “fan” did not know any of the words to Raditude‘s hit single and read off a sheet of paper with the lyrics printed on it. The woman showed no signs of enthusiasm or excitement to be in her position that thousands of fans in the audience would have given anything to be in. To top it all off, this lady could not carry a tune to save her life and was completely tone deaf. I have no idea who was running that Q101 radio contest. All I know is that whoever chose this ungrateful lady as the winner must have been on crack when they did it. “Let’s get this party started,” exclaimed Cuomo while introducing the next song in Weezer’s set “Can’t Stop Partying.” I couldn’t have agreed more with the nerdy yet adorable Weezer mastermind.
“I want to say ‘hi’ to my friends from Cicero. It’s a cool town,” announced guitarist Pat Wilson before launching into “Tired Of Sex” where he got his chance to sing lead vocals. “This one is going out to my friends in Downers Grove,” said Wilson prefacing a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time” from Dark Side Of The Moon. Nobody can accuse Rivers Cuomo of being unfair. For “I’m Your Daddy,” the pint-sized songwriter sang the entire song from the front of house mix giving fans in the back of the venue some much-needed tender loving care. Classic Weezer composition “My Name Is Jonas” had Cuomo playing the harmonica during the final measures of the song concluding with the translated-to-Spanish title, “Me llamo Jonas.”
Next up on the set list was the 2007 monster hit “Beverly Hills,” which was accompanied by Cuomo picking up a spotlight from stage right and directing it at his face. You know, just to make sure everybody in the building knew exactly who was the real star of the show. Just kidding! Although I haven’t been fortunate enough to meet the man, I cannot imaging Rivers Cuomo to be the egotistic self-centered rock god that many other frontmen have eroded into as the years dragged on. If you’ve met him, let me know what he’s really like, please!
Upon walking back out on stage to perform the first encore of the night, the Weezer dudes paid their respects to Chicago and donned Blackhawks hockey jerseys. With the audience screaming their approval, Weezer jumped straight into “Pork And Beans.” Looking to set the mood for the 2008 hit single, Cuomo proceeded to ask the crowd, “Somebody got a hat I can wear?” And then one fan holding court in the front row undoubtedly had the night of his life when Cuomo chose his hat to wear for the duration of “Pork And Beans.”
By far, the highlight of Weezer’s set came next when the guys busted out a cover/mash-up of MGMT’s “Kids” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” The now infamous cover medley began with “Kids,” transitioned into “Poker Face,” then continued to modulate back into “Kids.” I could not stop laughing as Cuomo appeared in a balcony alcove above stage right wearing a platinum blonde waist-length wig in an attempt to pull off the look of Lady Gaga. Man, I could watch and listen to Weezer play those two covers every night. It was great.
The return of Weezer to the stage for the second and final encore of night number one on the band’s U.S. tour consisted of Cuomo performing “Island In The Sun” as the multi-instrumentalist genius he is. Blown-up beach balls of assorted sizes were kicked off the stage into the crowd by Rivers as he simultaneously began to play the continuous loop of each instrument utilized in “Island In The Sun.” First came the drums. Once the drum loop was recorded and looped, Cuomo proceeded to march down from the elevated drum kit to stage right to play and loop the bass line.
With the bass line now pulsating through the venue’s PA system, Rivers took on the acoustic guitar riff. “Now before I play the classic guitar riff, I need you all to start singing the background vocals,” ordered Cuomo as the audience happily shouted out the “hip hip” lyrical line. Once satisfied with what he heard, Rivers finally looped the infectious electric guitar riff and then the song was complete and ready for lead vocals to kick in. The rest of the band once again entered the stage and picked up their instruments, turning off the pre-recorded loops on their foot pedals in order to play the notes themselves.
Last, but most definitely not least was “Buddy Holly,” the 1994 smash hit from self-titled debut album Weezer that brought the group mainstream success and set the course for Weezer’s long-lasting career. As Brian Bell, Scott Shriner, Pat Wilson, Rivers Cuomo, and touring drummer Josh Freese lined up next to one another and took a well-deserved bow, I couldn’t help but think how I would have no problem watching Weezer perform every night of my life. I hope you have the chance to catch the band on their current tour. Especially if you’ve never seen the guys live before. I dare you not to have an absolute blast. Weezer shows are a guaranteed good time. I promise!
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