Concert Review: Pixies, Weezer, April 7, Rogers Arena

Pixies Pic 2

Warning: Weezer fans may be offended by some of the following content.

Before we begin I need to ask a very important question. When will people learn that Pixies don’t support, they headline? On their first ever tour to the UK, they were supporting Throwing Muses. Every night the British audience went crazy for Pixies and were fairly lukewarm towards Throwing Muses. The promoter promptly switched the bill and Pixies headlined the rest of the tour. On their last tour before splitting, Pixies supported U2, an experience so unpleasant that many argue it helped cause the breakup of the band. After they reformed, 11 years later, they played the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester, supporting Stereophonics. Half the crowd rightly left at the end of the Pixies set, at the ridiculousness of the billing.

When Pixies perform, they don’t talk much, they just belt out song after song after song. There was no banter with the crowd tonight, no fancy set, video projection or any of that jazz, just four people playing short intense Pixies classics – close to two dozen in total. When you have one of the best back catalogues in the music business, this is what the audience want. Hearing Black Francis singing “Ed Is Dead” and stating “You Are The Son of A Mother Fucker” never fails to make me smile, even though Come On Pilgrim was released almost 32 years ago. They played many of the favourites, including “Here Comes Your Man”, “Wave of Mutilation”, “Planet of Sound”, “Vamos” and “Where is my Mind”. Surprisingly for an arena gig, they played a few new songs and didn’t play “Monkey Gone to Heaven” or “Debaser”. “Gigantic” had been dropped from the set list, for obvious reasons, after Kim Deal left the band, but for this tour it was kind of inevitable that it would come back. “Gigantic” was their closing number, Paz did a fantastic job on vocals and the band left the stage, still one of the coolest bands around in their own uncool way.

After Pixies exited, next up were Weezer. Don’t get me wrong, Weezer are very good. Yeah sure, “Buddy Holly” has dated a bit, but “Undone – The Sweater Song”, “Beverly Hills”, “My Name Is Jonas”, “Hashpipe” and the finale track, “Say It Ain’t So”, still sound great. They played all the old hits and they came on to a fun retro Happy Days intro – nobody does charismatic geek quite as well as Rivers Cuomo. Releasing six eponymous albums is quite probably a first, and undoubtedly a great touch. Weezer were good, and the crowd enjoyed themselves, myself included, but it was weird seeing them come on after Pixies, rather than before. It probably wasn’t their fault the promoter got the billing the wrong way round. It’s not the first time someone has made that mistake, and sadly, it most likely won’t be the last.

Footnote: Of course, there have been other examples of true greats performing on the bill before less deserving headliners, we just have to go back to Glastonbury 2005 for the most severe case. After New Order left the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury a little after 10pm, I assumed the the night was done. When Coldplay came on to headline at 10:50pm, I looked on in horror at the realization that the world was one very messed up place.

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Posted on by Martin Alldred in Concerts

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