November 24, 2001
Finishing up my long string of concerts for the year, I hit up the Weezer show in Long Beach last night. The full card consisted of Weezer, Tenacious D and Jimmy Eat World, performing in reverse order.
The evening didn’t start off particularly well, as the first thing I saw on getting to the Long Beach Arena was a line consisting of oh… 10,000 people or so. Since the lower floor of the arena was completely general admission, they decided to make everyone wait in line before they let people into the arena. It all went fairly smoothly, but I started to see how all those concert disasters where people get trampled happened in the first place. Luckily the crowd was a bunch of perky underage emo girlies that were nice enough not to push.
My second “I Hate The Long Beach Arena” moment came when I sat in my seat and realized the view from my seat was blocked by a lighting platform that jut out right next to me. As a result, I was pinned in this little cubbyhole of a seat and could only see the stage if I stood up or took this weird spread leg position where I put half of my ass on the platform. So for most of the show I looked like Fonzie, propositioning the back half of the arena. Ayyyyyy.
Jimmy Eat World (or JEW, as they like to be called) put up a pretty standard opening set. It was all pretty good poppy punk, with a few standout songs like Bleed American. There was a solid following there, including one girl behind me that was apparently the biggest Jimmy Eat World fan EVER, or something. She screamed and screamed until her lungs (and my ears) burned. These are the Joys of Youth.
After a 15-20 minute break, the lights dimmed again for Tenacious D. Now, if you’ve heard or seen Tenacious D before, you know pretty much all you need to know. At its core, The D is still a comedy act, so the songs are mostly jokes you can only hear a few times. Luckily, I hadn’t listened to any in a few months, so the performance was hilarious. Jack Black oozes so much dirty charisma that it’s hard not to crack a smile every once and again.
“I see a lot of 13 year olds in the audience tonight. Apparently you couldn’t get into Harry Potter and came to the see the D!” — Jack Black
Well… technically they couldn’t get into Potter and came to see Weezer, but the point still stands. By the time Weezer hit the stage, the crowd was getting antsy (and I was starting to lose circulation in my toes due to being in my “power position” the entire time). But Weezer Cures All.
Featuring quite a bit of completely new material and a good spread of the old, Weezer ran through a fun set that kept me on my feet the entire time. I’d never seen Weezer live, and I was surprised at how tight the band was. After years of playing live, Weezer is an absolute machine with a propulsive rhythm section and a monstrous guitar sound. They even have the rock star moves going a little. My personal highlights were… um, pretty much everything. Some of the older stuff definitely took me back, especially “In the Garage” and “Say it Ain’t So.” The hits like “Buddy Holly” and “Hash Pipe” were probably the biggest numbers for the crowd.
While the performance was top notch, I think the whole concert was more of a testament to Rivers Cuomo’s precise songwriting talent. He’s as good as anybody at aping the soaring Brian Wilson melody during a chorus and dropping that over some of the hookiest punk chords today. It’s a wonderous combination, forcing you to sing along and bounce at the same time.
Long Live Weezer.