Weezer at the ACC in Toronto (Photos and Review)
11-Dec-2009 04:45 am
Contributed by: pete
It was a strange feeling waking up Sunday morning after the incredible show Weezer put on the night before, pretty much still buzzing from the concert, to find out that Rivers Cuomo (vocals, guitar) had been a part of a tour bus accident en route from Toronto to Boston. At first, the reports made the injuries sound minor, but then when a blog post on the Weezer MySpace page showed up, with photos included, it looked and sounded more serious. Another post let us know that Rivers sufferred internal injuries (that now appear to be healing well), along with with a hurt right leg. However, Rivers' right leg wasn't actually hurt during the accident, it turns out it was hurt during the performance at Toronto's Air Canada Centre during his Lady Gaga impression in the stands... but let me go back to the beginning.
Weezer was in Toronto as part of their current tour (which has now been postponed due to obvious reasons) and headlinging the 102.1 Jingle Bell Rock holiday concert, and had even stopped in at the 102.1 studios earlier in the day. Weezer is one of my favourite bands from the 90's, with their extremely successful "Blue" self-titled debut album in 1994 and Pinkerton in 1996. However, it is this past decade in which Weezer has released the majority of their material with the release of five full-length albums, including their "Green" self-titled album in 2001, Make Believe in 2005, and the "Red" self-titled album in 2009. This tour was in support of their latest album, Raditude.
There's a reason it's best to wait until the end of the year before publishing "Best Of" lists, and Weezer is a perfect example of why. All of my expectations were blown away, starting early in the night while I was still in the photographer's pit. For the second song, Troublemaker, a large stack of toilet paper rolls was brought to the stage, and while singing, Rivers threw the rolls into the crowd one-by-one, creating toilet paper streamers. Silly, but funny. Then, during the third song, Rivers reached down and asked photographer Sara Collaton if he could borrow her camera. She handed it to him and, to the sound of wild cheers, he took photos of the fans. You can see my photo of Rivers with her camera juxtaposed with one of the photos Rivers took in Sara's Flickr stream.
Sometimes it's hard to explain all the aspects of a show that make it stand out so far from others. It can be the vibe that's created, it can be stage antics, or it can be just a certain something. With Weezer, it was basically a combination of everything. Each time Rivers or the band did something that made me smile (and there were lots), it was one more step to having a great time. More than a few songs were used to interact with the fans, and the crowd ate it up. One of the highlights was during (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To when Rivers invited an audience member to come up on stage and sing with him. The girl he picked said she knew all the words, and so they hooked her up with a mic. For someone out of the audience, she killed it - it was an excellent moment, and probably the best possible way to play that song in concert. You can read more about it on the Weezer tour blog.
There were lots of other excellent moments, too many to go through them all, but the other big highlight started when, for the last song of the proper set, the band launched into a Weezerized cover of Kids by MGMT. Part way through the song, Rivers disappeared from stage (not the first time that night) only to reappear in the stands wearing a blond wig. The band blended Kids into a cover of Pokerface by Lady Gaga while Rivers sang along in his wig, surrounded by dancing fans. Hilarious. Apparently, on the way back to the stage, Rivers hopped over a railing and it was further down than he expected, hurting his right leg, although this was not apparent at the time. For the encore, Rivers returned to stage alone and setup loops on the drums and bass before picking up his guitar and playing Island In The Sun solo. The show closed with the 1994 hit Buddy Holly, finishing with the entire band, plus some, all on the drum kit. Amazing musicians, awesome antics, and audience attention that, when put together, made for one the best shows in rock this year.
Info: Weezer | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To (video), Say It Ain't So (video)
I hadn't heard of Jack's Mannequin before, but liked the three songs I heard. Strangely, it was only a few days later that they showed up on pre-recorded show of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that I ended up watching, during which I learned about Andrew McMahon (vocals, piano) and his battle with leukemia from which he made a full recovery.
Info: Jack's Mannequin | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Although I certainly missed having an all-access pass for illScarlett, I think it's obvious that I was happy to be at this show at all, and I have illScarlett to thank for that. I only saw them perform three songs this time around, but the illScarlett boys seeemed to be as on as ever. I spoke to them briefly before the set and they all seemed to be relaxed and happy with how the tour was going so far. They are continuing to tour for a couple more weeks in support of their album 1UP! released earlier this year. They played in Calgary and Edmonton before stopping back into Toronto for the Weezer show, and then headed back out West to play Grand Prairie and Saskatoon.
Info: illScarlett | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Take It For Granted (video), Nothing Special (video)
Motion City Soundtrack
Info: Motion City Soundtrack | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter