90s nostalgia came in special form on Tuesday night as The Pixies and Weezer co-headlined a headbanging show inside Golden 1 Center, with the UK’s Basement opening the show. For those who have lived with the influence of both headliners over the last few decades, Weezer’s frontman Rivers Cuomo seemed to put things into perspective as he would take a moment to declare “there would be no Weezer without The Pixies,” which brought gasps of serenity across the arena.
As a self-proclaimed bar-core band, The Pixies hit all the right chords on Tuesday as fans filled their cups and spilt them accordingly as the festivities progressively got stronger throughout the night. Black Francis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Paz Lenchantin (bass, backing vocals) and David Lovering (drums) entered the atmosphere with 1988’s “Cactus” and dove into a head nod-inducing set.
While the band promised no date on this tour would have the same set, their bare stage made for an appropriate backdrop as they burned through “The Holiday Song,” “Where Is My Mind?,” and “Here Comes Your Man” within the first half of the show. Balancing between their iconic hush and shout tempo, Golden 1 Center was turned into a rocking watering hole.
As if there were no other way to speak, Santiago spoke to the crowd at one point through the distortion of his guitar’s auxiliary cord, appropriately highlighting the band’s ghostly punk presence.
For the oldest fans of the original band, which featured Kim Deal on bass on vocals, the night seemed to feel to be missing something. That is, until the final song, where Lenchantin took over vocals to perform “Gigantic,” which brought the entire arena to its feet and the high-strung set to its end.
Following a brief intermission, it was time for Weezer to take the show to another level. With a barbershop quartet acapella of “Beverly Hills,” Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Brian Bell (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals) opened the show with a standing ovation that seemingly lasted the rest of the night.
Likely credited to Cuomo’s attention to detail, the stage was in full “Happy Days” mode as pennants with the band’s last names hung inside a faux 70s-style living room during “Buddy Holly.” Soon after, Cuomo would ask if Sacramento was “ready to go back into the garage–1994 style,” before the backdrop would change into a garage door with classic AC/DC, Kiss, and Motley Crue posters for “In the Garage.”
Before getting into a heavy block of covers from the infamous ‘Teal Album,’ Cuomo would edit “El Scorcho’s” lyrics to say, “I asked you to go to The Pixies concert,” which erupted cheers from the crowd. Somewhere along the line, Cuomo floated into the audience on a mobile SS Weezer boat for a brief acoustic set where he mixed Green Day’s “Longview” into a cover of The Turtles’ “Happy Together,” creating one of the most charming moments of the evening.
Weezer truly had a fresh trick up their sleeves for every song of the night, which should come as no surprise from a band that has carefully curated their style all these years, without fail. In concert, their covers come to life with a nostalgic essence that feels more organic than most nostalgia-hungry brands have tried to conquer lately, which makes it feel like one of the pioneers of emo music has sealed a way to keep winning.
While Cuomo has said he is certain to retire from music at the age of 60, with more music coming in the near future and plenty in the rearview, Weezer is undoubtedly among the greatest musical acts today, tapping into generations of psyche with rockstar power, on and off the stage.
For more information on The Pixies, visit ThePixies.com.
For more information on Weezer, including their upcoming Coachella performance, which will be streamed live on YouTube, visit Weezer.com.
Photos by Steve Martarano.