Hey, have you been searching for a post about Weezer’s show at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand from a casual listener three days after the fact? Look no further, weary reader!
But first, a PSA: I don’t claim to be a music reviewer. That’s not what these types of posts are going to be about. It’s more a way to share photos and some words about my experience, less a critique of the bands. There are other websites that provide that sort of outlook so I’ll just be doing my own thing here.
⌊ the show ⌉
When tickets went on sale for this show, I hesitated to purchase any – mostly because I’m not a huge Weezer fanatic. I remember being obsessed with the video for “Buddy Holly” at a young age, my college boyfriend sent me a link to “Falling For You” as a wooing move and I caught most of the radio hits but that’s largely the extent of my exposure to them. After pulling some decent tickets on the first try, I bought ’em. “Cool. All right. Well, shit, I better listen to some Weezer before then.”
Turns out, those Weezer hits — and songs I could have sworn I’d never heard before, but sounded familiar live — were more deeply embedded in my brain than I assumed. This exact phenomenon, though to a lesser degree, occurred when I saw Foo Fighters last summer. Not a huge fan of them, but they knew how to put together a setlist that made even someone like me feel like I fit in with the rest of the audience.
This type of ~pandering~ or whatever you want to call it actually bums me out when it comes to bands whose entire catalogue I’m familiar with. When I saw Modest Mouse at last year’s Rock the Garden, I remember tweeting “Festival setlists vs. regular tour setlists … hm.” Like, how DARE they play “Float On” when it’s the song that broke them into the mainstream and probably made 90 percent of the audience very happy!?!?? I was there seeing them for the first time and wanting to hear “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset”! (Editor’s note: I am very intolerable). So color me hypocritical, but Weezer packing their setlist with crowd-pleasers and hits was exactly what I wanted, especially on a near-perfect and almost chilly summer night at the state fair.
The entire show was high energy and, lucky for me, all that time shout-singing “My Name is Jonas” on my commute to work these last few months really gave me a leg up when they dove into it as the third song of their set. Actually, I got mildly obsessive about both the Blue Album and Pinkerton in the months leading up to this show and realized what I’d been missing out on.
Rivers wore a sombrero. He played the bongos in said sombrero. He laid down on stage and sang. He got 10,000+ people to hold up the flashlight on their phones during a new song they’d never heard. He walked around the crowd with his guitar, ending with a random fan giving him a smooch on the cheek – to which he smirked like the gdamn rock star he knows he is and hopped back on stage. He looked like he was having the time of his life and it was contagious in the good and not gross kind of way.
The set was beachy-themed, which I assume to be an ode to their new album which has a lot of beachy-themed songs, I guess, not sure, it still didn’t quite grab me even after a couple of listen-throughs. Only three of the 16 songs in their set were from the so-called White Album. There were a few songs I, and likely many others (?), forgot existed but Weezer still played them like they’re household jams. When’s the last time you ever even thought about “Perfect Situation”? Right? I know. The other impressive feat was that they did even their most over-played hits well and with heart. It’s one thing to play popular songs to please the crowd and it’s another to actually show up and do them justice even if you have been playing them for more than 20 years. Weezer did the latter, in my opinion.
It was fun and loud and ended right when that night’s fireworks show began and I honestly can’t complain.
⌊ quick thoughts ⌉
» It’s OK to not fit the name of the city where you’re currently playing into one of your songs. No, really – it’s perfectly fine! We’re good!
» Re: The Struts (opening band) — I’ve made it nearly 30 years without raising my hands in the air after being told to by somebody on stage. You tested me greatly with all of your calls for participation that were clearly meant to satisfy something in you but did nothing for me.
» The Grandstand is a surprisingly great venue. I would attend another show here if I like the band so much it warranted me dealing with another record-breaking crowd at the fair.
» Seriously – only one line for mobile ticketholders? And on only one side of the Grandstand? Let’s fix that.
» To the few fried pickles I threw away before going into the Grandstand: I’m sorry. You deserved better.
⌊ the setlist ⌉
My Name is Jonas
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Pork and Beans
I Love the USA
Thank God For Girls
Medley of Dope Nose/Back to the Shack/Keep Fishin’/The Good Life/Surf Wax America
Undone – The Sweater Song
Island in the Sun
King of the World/Only in Dreams
Say It Ain’t So
Encore: El Scorcho, Buddy Holly
⌊ the photos ⌉