Weezer at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, 9/3/11
Weezer with Motion City Soundtrack
Though their giant iconic "W" was the main focal point of an otherwise minimal stage setup, the real letter of the day should have been "F" -- for fun, frivolous, free, and even a little funny, especially when frontman Rivers Cuomo snatched up a bra being thrown onto the stage and held it at an arm's length like it was infested with cooties, only to pick up a pair of Superman underoos thrust at him a few songs later and pull them on over his pants. The underoos stayed on for nearly half the set and seemed to serve as a visual metaphor for Cuomo's increasingly silly, childlike stage presence, a wild deviation from his early days as an angsty and anxious performer.
For those of us who came of age to Weezer's first couple of records, who tapped into and related to that angst and inner turmoil, there's something downright liberating about seeing the band take such joy in their work. The band seemed to be catering to their career-long fans on Saturday night, too, pulling out early favorites like set opener "Surf Wax America," "El Scorcho," and "My Name is Jonas" in addition to the requisite hits ("Say It Ain't So," "Undone," "Buddy Holly") and newer jams like "Troublemaker."
They also served up a pair of disparate covers: Foster the People's summer anthem "Pumped Up Kicks" (to which my companion cried out in disbelief, "CAN THEY EVEN DO THAT?"), and a righteous note-perfect cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" that showed off their still-nimble guitar chops. And with powerhouse drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, Guns 'N Roses) now part of the band's touring lineup and former drummer Patrick Wilson now on guitar, it freed up Cuomo to prance around the stage and work the crowd into a frenzy.
Local openers Motion City Soundtrack were the perfect appetizer for the sugar-buzzing main set, and I was surprised at how many of the nearly 9,000 attendees knew the words to some of their more popular songs. It was the perfect warm-up for a night of full-crowd sing-alongs that ended in a burst of fireworks peppering the skyline above the Fair's Midway.
Personal bias: The singles from The Blue Album and Pinkerton were some of the first tracks I downloaded off Napster.
The crowd: A wide range of ages, all the way down to a tiny tot with a mohawk that was flipping out right behind me.
For more photos: See our full concert slideshow by Nick Wosika, as well as our shots of Motion City Soundtrack hanging out at the fair.
Surf Wax America
We Are All on Drugs
Say It Ain't So
My Name is Jonas
Pumped Up Kicks (Foster the People cover)
Island in the Sun
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Undone - The Sweater Song
Pork & Beans
Paranoid Android (Radiohead cover)
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