(All images and video courtesy Danielle.)
In 1996, Rolling Stone named Weezer’s album Pinkerton the second worst album of the year after Razorblade Suitcase by Bush (which totally deserved it). This past Saturday, I went out to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to see Weezer play Pinkerton in its entirety as part of a two night concert on their Memories Tour. The place was packed - disgustingly so. I haven’t been smashed into so many other people since the last time I saw Metallica.
But everyone was there for Pinkerton. Everyone sang along and danced to the whole frigging concert. There were people there who were no way old enough to have listened to Pinkerton in ’96 (hell, I didn’t listen to Pinkerton in ’96 and I was extra angsty 17 back then). Two of the people I was with were respectively 8 and 10 when the album came out but they knew every word just like I did and we all sang and shouted and danced with everyone around us in a great big sweaty pile of Weezer fandom that knew no bounds of age or gender. It was awesome.
Both nights, they played a selection of “greatest hits” going back in time. They opened with “Memories” from Hurley. They didn’t play anything from Raditude, but gave much love to the Red Album. Never in my life did I think I would see “Greatest Man That Ever Lived” performed, but Rivers busted out his cowboy hat and belted out his lyrics set to Quaker hymns. They played “Dope Nose” off of Maladroit, which I love, “Perfect Situation” from Make Believe, and “Hash Pipe” from the Green Album (which I had always made up my own lyrics to and caused me to pee a little when I looked the real ones up, realizing I shouldn’t sing this song at work). Then, Weezer decided it was time to play some B sides from Pinkerton and this caused my husband such delight I thought his head would explode. They played “Jamie” which is about his favorite Weezer song of all time and it is catchy – it’s still in my head. They ended the first set with “Only in Dreams” from the Blue Album and then took a break.
You may clicken to embiggen.
This is where things got a little weird and not so awesome. A band of middle schoolers called School of Rock came out to play “Surf Wax America” and “Say It Ain’t So.” The idea was cute, I guess, but didn’t really fit well with a concert focusing on a concept album based on Madame Butterfly. Plus, those kids were way too young to be singing about someone’s Heine drowning in an ice box. Then, Karl came out. Karl is Weezer’s webmaster and he’s actually pretty cool and responsive to fans. He came out to do a slide show. An effing slide show at a concert, which sucked all of the air out of the room. “Here’s Rivers making pouty face, and here’s Pat hanging out with Spike Jonez, oh yeah, and these are some very important people to us who died in the most horrible way possible and we miss them a lot.” The slide show would have been cool as a DVD extra, but not between two sets of music. The crowd got hostile and some people started chanting “Music, music, music.”
Karl left and Weezer came back out, more subdued. Pinkerton is depressing as hell. It’s about a total schlub with no social life or skillz with the ladies. He’s tired of sex without love, tired of girls who always break his heart, tired of staying in and moping all the time and looking like a hobo when he used to rock out, tired of being ignored by Asian chicks and lesbians, but then someone falls for him and he does all the things to hurt her that others have done to hurt him. And he realizes that he’ll never be happy with the reality of women – only his fantasies. And this depresses the hell out of me because it reminds me of anyone I ever dated while in college. But through it all there are links to Puccini’s Madame Butterfly that are genius, culminating in the last song, “Butterfly” with lyrics like “I said I would return when the robin makes her nest/I ain’t never comin’ back.” Rivers played “Butterfly” alone, acoustically, bowed, and left. The end.
This was a once in a lifetime shot. Bands don’t play entire albums on stage. I’m kind of short, I didn’t see a lot, all of these pictures are courtesy of Danielle, I got drenched in sweat, smelled like ass, got a wicked contact high, had beer spilled on me, almost punched a Snookie doppelganger in the face for getting all sloppy drunk on my husband, but let me tell you this – singing along to “Pink Triangle” with several thousand other people and Rivers himself is an experience I will remember forever and love until the day I die.
(Me (in the dumb yellow hat), Katie, Danielle, and Kristin)