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Weezer Smashes Expectations In Saint Paul

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

Weezer, The Pixies, & Basement Concert Review


Alternative legends Weezer brought a catalog of greatest hits and covers to the Xcel Energy Center this weekend. Along for the ride were English rockers Basement, and co-headliners The Pixies.

Prior to attending this show, I had a few negative judgements. First, I was surprised to see the act playing at the largest venue in Saint Paul, questioning if the group could successfully fill the arena. Secondly, as I looked into their set lists before the tour I questioned the overabundance of covers being played. These judgements went away as soon as the group hit the stage, for the most part at least.

Weezer “ride or dies” came out strong at the Xcel, selling out the entire floor and lower bowl. Rivers Cuomo and crew performed with commanding energy that easily reached the back of the arena.

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Weezer performing in Saint Paul. Photography by Dylan Novacek

The band performed behind a backdrop of a garage which would slowly evolve into a traditional arena stage as the night went on. It was a nice touch that made for some creative moments within the stage production. There was even a point where Rivers Cuomo rode on a boat, dubbed the S.S. Weezer, to the back of the arena.

Touring behind their two latest releases, The Black Album and The Teal Album (a collection of covers), I was surprised at the setlist. Weezer presented a collection of greatest hits, and a handful of covers off of Teal which included their meme-worthy rendition of “Africa.”

Being a huge fan of their Black Album, I was disappointed to only hear one track off the newest release. Additionally, the group neglected to play anything off their strongest modern releases, The White Album and Everything Will Be Alright In The End. I enjoyed a few of the covers performed, notably “Africa” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” However, I go to a Weezer show to hear their songs.

Despite being displeased with the setlist, Weezer performed what they had with so much nerd power that I can almost forgive it. Fan favorites like “Buddy Holly” and show closer “Say It Ain’t So” were brilliant in an arena setting. My personal favorite moment was hearing “High As A Kite” off their new album, as well as “Pink Triangle” from Pinkerton.

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Basement, Photography by Dylan Novacek

The hidden gem of the night was found in the opening act, Basement. Hailing from England, the group is currently on their first arena tour. Mixing elements of hardcore, emo, and punk I deeply enjoyed their performance.

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Lead signer of Basement, Photography by Dylan Novacek

Lead vocalist Andrew Fisher delivered passionate, raw vocals against a soundscape of hard-hitting guitar and drum hooks. A perfect fit for this nostalgia-driven tour, Basement brought vibes that channeled late 90s pop punk.

Being a massive Fall Out Boy fan, I have to say that they reminded me of FOB during their Take This to Your Grave era. It is hard to find acts as pure and genuine as Basement. My brother was telling me how lucky I was to see them live, and he was totally right.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

After seeing their performance, I dove into their latest release, Beside Myself. I highly recommend the opening track Disconnect.”  It sounded incredible in an arena setting. However, I wish I could see this act at a smaller venue full of their fans. That would be such a killer experience.

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Basement Lead Vocalist, Photography by Dylan Novacek

Co-headlining on this tour were 90s group The Pixies. Previously touring with Weezer on their last summer tour, The Pixies complement Weezer’s sound very well. The group has a different setlist every night, which always makes for an enjoyable and unpredictable performance.

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The Pixies at Palace Theatre. Photography by Sara Fish.

Playing mainstays such as “Where’s My Mind” and “Here Comes Your Man,” The Pixies pleased many longtime fans in the audience. However, after a while their performance sort of dragged on. Playing well over 20 songs, the group’s set felt longer than Weezer’s.

I’ve seen Weezer live 3 times now and they always provide a fun balance of nerd power, good vibes, and timeless jams. Weezer proved they can still maintain relevancy and easily fill large rooms. Although I would’ve enjoyed them embracing their catalog of strong new material of the last 5 years, Weezer still found a way to blow the roof off the arena.

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Rivers helming the S.S. Weezer in front of a lit up Saint Paul crowd. Photography by Dylan Novacek.
Weezer Setlist:
  1. Pork & Beans (Barbershop Quartet Style)
  2. Buddy Holly
  3. (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
  4. Surf Wax America
  5. Undone – The Sweater Song
  6. My Name Is Jonas
  7. El Scorcho
  8. Everybody Wants to Rule The World
  9. High As A Kite
  10. Paranoid (on the S.S. Weezer)
  11. Perfect Situation (acoustic on the S.S Weezer)
  12. Take On Me (on the S.S. Weezer)
  13. Up The Beach
  14. Hash Pipe
  15. Africa
  16. Island In The Sun
  17. No Scrubs
  18. Pink Triangle
  19. Beverly Hills
  20. Pork and Beans
  21. Say It Ain’t So

Written by Dylan Novacek

Graphic designer and photographer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fan of mid 2000s emo, late 90s boy bands and everything in between. Recent graduate from Concordia, Saint Paul. Check out my work: https://dylannovacek.myportfolio.com/

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