Show Review: blink-182, Weezer at Shoreline Amphitheater, 9/13/09

by Dakin Hardwick on September 15, 2009

This is your blink 182 concert on drugs. Or this is what it looks like when you take an iPhone picture in the rain.

This is your blink 182 concert on drugs. Or this is what it looks like when you take an iPhone picture in the rain.

We are a hip music site. We cover all the latest and greatest sounds that are bubbling under. So, one might ask why we are covering the blink-182 concert? Isn’t this just a cash grab spawned by the band’s recent return to the spotlight because of drummer Travis Barker’s plane crash? Even the most avid fan has to admit that the band’s performance on the Tonight Show was underwhelming at best.

I have always enjoyed this band, from my senior year of high school, when the new kid that just moved up from San Diego gave me a dubbed tape of his favorite band from his home town. That cassette was Cheshire Cat, which I still own and cherish. I was very split about whether or not I even wanted to attend this show, since I didn’t want my memory to be forever altered by the current version of the band. As the days led up to this show, I kept hearing “Josie” in places. At the grocery store, coming out of passing cars, and, well pretty much everywhere. I decided that I needed to go.

Well, it’s the first rain of the season the day of the show. This seems to confuse drivers, and causes them to move very slowly. So slowly that we end up missing openers Chester French and Taking Back Sunday. In fact, we walk in during Weezer’s set. They were playing “Undone (The Sweater Song).”

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Weezer seemed very different tonight. Drummer Pat Wilson was on guitar, while Josh Freese (Vandals, Devo, Guns ‘n Roses, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, Sting) took over drum duties for the majority of the set. This was a good move for couple of reasons. The big one is that, despite being a reasonable drummer, Wilson is a monster guitarist. He can play rings around Brian Bell and Rivers Cuomo. This turned Weezer in to a giant 3-guitar attack for some of the set, but also gave us an entirely new Cuomo, which brings me to the second reason as to why Josh Freese is good for Weezer.  In recent years, Weezer sets have been pretty uneven. Often times Cuomo would just hide behind his guitar, and spend very little time engaging the crowd. This was not the case tonight. Cuomo was EVERYWHERE! He wouldn’t stop moving! He jumped in to the crowd several times, and even had a trampoline on stage, just in case he felt that he was calming down. It was like watching human popcorn!

Their hour-long set focused on the crowd pleasers, focusing on songs from the record known as The Blue Album, and scattering a handful of songs from the other records, ignoring no period of Weezer, including one song from the upcoming Ratitude. Midway through the set, Cuomo left the stage during “My Name Is Jonas,” letting Wilson take over. (There is nothing he can’t do. He is the secret backbone of this band.) After “Jonas,” the rest of the band walked off, while Cuomo wandered around the stage, first sitting at the drums to loop a beat, then walked to the bass, played a bass riff, and looped that as well. It turns out that he was creating “Island In The Sun.” It was a cool concert moment.

They closed with a cover of the Clash’s hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” It was a fresh and exciting version of Weezer, and I hope they keep up this energy for several years to come.

So, the rain kept coming. The crowd was drenched. State Farm Insurance was on hand with promotional ponchos, the single most useful free gift in the history of advertising.  When the lights came down, the PA blasted Sister Sledge’s “It’s Raining Men.” Then, the curtain fell, and the band ran straight in to “Dumpweed,” from the 1999 breakthrough record Enema Of The State.

The first few songs of the set were from Enema Of The State and Take Off Your Paints And Jacket, focusing on the perkier portion of Blink’s catalog. The fourth song was the slower “I Miss You,” which led to about 45 minutes of darker material. I will admit to never having given 2003’s self titled farewell record a fair shot. I didn’t care for most of Take Off… nor did I like 2002’s Boxcar Racer side project. I scanned this album upon release, but never actually listened to it.  I wanted them to remain a childish band that sings songs about girls and sex toys. I never really knew what I was missing until tonight.

Blink 182 is the Travis Barker record. The songs all seemed to be built around his drumming, where most rock bands add the drums last. The rhythms were lush and complex. There were times when the melody was getting played by Barker while Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge were keeping the beat.

Although the recent passing of Barker’s friend and occassional collaborator DJ AM was never mentioned on stage, halfway through the set, Barker played a sedate and contemplative drum solo. He only played cymbals, and had improvised around a taped loop of ambient sounds. It was a bold and chilling performance.

The main set ended with a few older songs. Barker broke a cymbal during “All The Small Things,” so he gave it to a roadie, and the roadie gave the broken cymbal to a member of the audience. Hoppus noticed this, and mocked the situation, saying that if Barker starts giving out drum pieces, then DeLonge is going to have to give away a guitar. DeLonge jumped back, saying that if wanted to give something away, it had to be one of his basses. So Hoppus removed his bass, and walked in to the crowd to give someone his bass. Delonge is visibly annoyed by this act. He puts down his guitar, and walks backstage. He comes out with a beautiful hollow body Gibson. (Priced this guitar- it ranges from $500-$2000 dollars.) He wandered around a bit. Mentioned that it’s not going to the front row. He walks off stage, and up the soaking wet stairs for a bit, and hands it to an audience member that definitely got their $85 worth.

After a brief intermission, also known as the “encore break,” the curtain rose again, to show a stage with Barker on drums, alone. The next 5 minutes may have been the most impressive I have ever seen on stage. First, the drums rose above the stage, all the while Barker doesn’t drop the beat for even a moment. The drums come to just above the crowd. Then, the drum kit begins to tilt. He is now playing drums completely vertically. My next thought is, well, this is amazing. He can’t top that. Well, he could if the drums started spinning. Yes, he played drums while spinning vertically, roughly 50 feet in the air. I understand that you don’t believe me. Here’s the proof:

The rest of the encore was a track off the aforementioned Cheshire Cat, the rarely played first single “Carousel.” They closed with the song “Dammit.”

The best thing about this show was the band’s chemistry. In the early television spots, they seemed unhappy. Tonight, they were thrilled to be there. Hoppus and Delonge fell off the script, instead opted to rib each other. It all felt very pure. It was also pleasing to hear music made by a three musicians, and all the music was played live on stage, just by the three musicians on stage. Neither DeLonge nor Hoppus are considered technical geniuses, and I think they use that to their advantage. They have a unique sound that can’t truly be emulated or enhanced by anyone else. I wish them many more years and many more tours.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordon Elgart September 15, 2009 at 6:44 am

The spinning drum solo was pioneered by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. He’s famous for it. Here’s a great video from 1987 of him doing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJD94O0Hw_I

But really, any solo played on a giant spinning instrument owes its origins to Keith Emerson’s flying piano from 1974.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSm5IQFaTZA

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Marie Carney September 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

I’m glad you’re finally taking my advice and considering listening to the self titled album, which I’ve been bugging you about for years! *pouts in corner*

Why’d you have to make me sad that I didn’t go? Rivers as human popcorn! Free guitars! Awesome.

Reply

Tony Butterworth September 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

Great review, I was tempted by this show but the rain killed that idea. I wasn’t aware the site only covered “hip” music LOL.

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Gordon Elgart September 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

I wasn’t aware of the “hip” thing either. I mean, the editor-in-chief loves prog rock. Can’t get less hip than that.

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Marie Carney September 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I agree with Tony and Gordon. There is no definition of the word “hip” that would include my fangirl spazzing. I just fake it well cause I get my music recommendations from teenagers. Or think I’m still a teenager, idk.

But I do think we’re really cool nerds. Like the type of nerds other nerds look up to? At least that’s what I’m going for…

Reply

Caroline September 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

It is written in our tag line how nerdy we are..

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