(Secret) Show Review: Weezer and Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head at The Regency Ballroom, 10/21/09

by Laura Hamilton on October 23, 2009

Rivers is excited to be wearing this jacket

Rivers is excited to be wearing this jacket

The thing about secret shows is that they never stay secret for long, especially when they are produced by organizations like MySpace that harness the power of the blabbermouths. I was fortunate enough to hear about Weezer’s appearance the day before, but most importantly, I didn’t have to work the next day so it left with the whole afternoon to stand in line.

For some mysterious reason, I was allowed to enter the ballroom about an hour before they opened the doors, and this was during the sound check: it was glorious. I watched Rivers and Patrick test their pipes with a few favorites and, to my surprise, a couple covers by Lady Gaga and MGMT. About 15 minutes before the doors were about to open, Weezer finished their adjustments and the opening band Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, who I had seen perform at the Folsom Street Fair a few weeks before, scrambled up the ramp to set up as quickly as possible. Before the doors unleashed the crowd of exhausted hooky-playing teens, I grabbed a spot in front so as to properly anticipate the band that I have loved since high school.

The first thought that I had when the opening band walked out on stage was, “I wonder if they can get me backstage if I promise to buy them beer.” Yeah, they were THAT young. Well, maybe not under the legal limit, but they definitely weren’t insured to drive their own rented tour bus if they ever lost their driver. Either way, I found their age more entertaining than their performance which just made me feel old. Let’s just say that these were hard working musicians who are busy paying their dues, but unless they have something new to offer in way of performance or the music itself, opening for Weezer may be the height of their career. They all played their instruments well and I do give them credit for precision, however I found everything about the experience to be a mirrored effect of an iPod rock-geared commercial, complete with the whole band wearing skinny jeans. At the end of the performance, they pretended to rough up their instruments, but I suspect they valued those keyboards a bit more than their matching silver high-tops.

The moment had come for Weezer to exit their dressing room, and the whole crowd surged forward in excitement. To everyone’s delight, they started the performance off strong with a couple of the favorites–“Hash Pipe” and “Undone(The Sweater Song)”–while wearing matching white jogging suits. The band did a good job reminding the audience why it was worth standing in line since 6am (according to those I talked to) that morning. They mostly stuck to the crowd pleasers for the majority of the show despite the fact that they were promoting their upcoming album: Raditude. This was not all that surprising since this was a free show and hype was the biggest goal of the promoters.

This may cost me some music nerd points, but I have always been a fan of greatest hits shows. There are few bands of which I am a fan where I find myself wishing for lesser known or new material, and fortunately for this performance, Weezer isn’t one of them. However, I do wish they had played “In The Garage” and “Only In Dreams,” both of which always take me back to my simpler days of music appreciation, and my parents’ basement.

Weezer didn’t mess around with the timing like some bands tend to do. They got rocking as soon as they could and didn’t take too long of a break before the encore. Another good thing I should mention about the performance is the addition of an extra keyboard which allowed them to do some amazing work on the covers. I know how some people feel about covers, but I say the more covers, the better! They make the performance fun.

When it comes to my favorite band of nerds, Weezer is definitely at the top. What made this performance so special was that the venue was disproportional to the level of their rockstar goodness, and this really amplified the experience that much more for the lucky 1000+ who made it in. When Weezer left the stage, the audience left sore, sweaty, tired, and exhilarated. Unlike the experience with the first band, Weezer left me feeling happy, and most importantly, young. If they play any more shows in the near future (secret or not), I highly recommend you stand in line and pay tribute to one of the greatest music time capsules that still remain from the early 90s.

And a personal note to the annoying girl on my right who kept elbowing my face throughout the show: I hope next time, they don’t throw you back your bra.

Weezer set list:

Hash Pipe
Undone – The Sweater Song
Troublemaker
Surf Wax America
Perfect Situation
(If You Are Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Say It Ain’t So
Why Bother
My Name Is Jonas
Island In The Sun
Can’t Stop Partyin’
Photograph
Song 2 – Blur Cover
I’m Your Daddy
Pork N Beans
Beverly Hills

Encore:
War Pigs – Black Sabbath Cover
A remix of Kids by MGMT and Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Buddy Holly

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney October 23, 2009 at 9:04 am

Weezer covering Blur! That would have been my teenage wet dream!
That is a good setlist.

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