Weezer @ Bradley Arena /Peoria, Illinois USA
Peoria is an important but little known town in the state of Illinois. It’s the birthplace of the multifaceted industrial giant known as Caterpillar and is considered as the best representation of the demographical standard (!) of the USA. In layman terms, if something works in Peoria, it works in the rest of the States.
The musical scene in Peoria is basically null, limited to a massive following of cover bands in bars. Hardly a star stops in these lands, which makes me ponder about that whole “works in Peoria” thing I just said. Would all bands want to come around here, play and pass the test?
However, something strange happened: Weezer stopped by in this eccentric place in the American Midwest to do opening duties for the Bradley Arena, a new sports stadium of the local university. A sort of university gym with some nice finish works and a seating capacity no bigger than 4000 people. It was there that the Universe and all its marvelous strange ways lead me to my fifth gig with the absolute monarchs of nerd rock.
After taking a tour by my charolastra Edu James (aka Babymundo) we went with some dudes called Igor and Craig toward Bradley Arena. We knew nothing about the opening band but at 8:15, Unicycle loves you took the stage. This Chicago trio has a special sound, with vocal duties being passed between their bassist and their guitar/keyboard player. The sound was slightly spacial (as in starry night spacey) and free of pretensions. I did tap my feet a few times, so will probably look more into them.
An hour later and with the place teeming with people, Weezer took the stage. I couldn’t erase the mental image of that film where Bill Haley and the Comets arrive to a small town where there has never been a rock concert. Add to this the fact that this was the opening gig of a school gym and it was the perfect setting for the short concert. Rivers did thank the University director and also noted that it was the people of Peoria who chose them to inaugurate the arena.
20 songs, most of them singles and a couple of instrumental improvisations. Brian’s (guitar/great hairstyle) granny was in the public, celebrating her 102 birthday (!). Rivers was touching the fingers of the audience, like E.T. He even passed between us mortals and less than 3 metres from us he changed direction (dammit!). Pat was lead guitar a few times, relishing that the always reliable Josh Freese is still doing the live drumming for them. And Scott did a great job singing ‘Dope Nose’ (editors note: my fave Weezer song. Seriously – Q).
They only played ‘Memories’ from “Hurley”. I think this was a missed opportunity, as there’s quite a few tracks from it that have the potential to light up a few (musical) passions. It would’ve been nice to hear to other songs, but then again, it’s my fifth Weezer gig.
I will see them again every time I have the chance, this is not up for debate. I have been a puritan critic with Rivers Cuomo’s experimental incursions in the last 3 or 4 Weezer albums, but I will never stop praising the fact that they know how to give one hell of a show. I can predict, while doing the Holy =W= signal, that all their upcoming shows will be as good.
Incidentally, a new tour will start in California, in which they will play the Blue album and Pinkerton. Maybe they can take a slight detour to Mexico…
1. Intro instrumental
2. Hash pipe
4. Undone (the sweater song)
5. Surf wax America
7. Perfect Situation
8. Dope nose
9. Say it ain’t so
10. Random instrumental stuff which segued into a “happy birthday” song for Brian’s granny.
11. Island in the sun
12. El Scorcho
13. My name is Jonas
14. Beverly Hills
15. Pork and beans
17. I want you too
18. Buddy Holly/drum finish
Words & Pics: Homo Rodans
Unicycle Loves you