Iconic Alt-Rock veterans Weezer and The Pixies have teamed up on a nostalgia filled co-headlining tour for the summer. The second date of the tour packed out MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, FL this past Saturday, June 23rd.
To some surprise, the show got off to a quick start when opening act The Wombats took stage about 15 minutes before scheduled. The Liverpool, UK natives have joined up with Weezer and The Pixies for the first half of the tour. Although The Wombats have been together for 15 years, have 4 studio albums and are considered headline worthy across the pond, they still feel new and haven’t garnered a huge following in the US just yet. None-the-less, the 3 piece group was full of energy and managed to get the gathering crowd engaged with catchy indie-pop lyrics.
The Wombats set of 7 songs was considerably short, especially when placed before the 21 song set The Pixies followed up with. Despite having formed in 1986 in Boston, MA, The Pixies found most of their success and popularity in the UK and across Europe. Their dynamic punk/surf rock sound and offbeat lyrics solidified their mark in music history, and they are credited for having influenced myriad bands over the years including: Radiohead, Nirvana and Weezer themselves.
The Pixies opened up with a prolonged interlude to “Ed Is Dead,” but once the music got going, they whipped through song after song with zero banter in between. Having released their latest album ‘Head Carrier’ in 2016, nearly a fifth of their set comprised of newer material. The remainder was a scattering of tracks spanning their six album discography, including crowd favorites “Where Is My Mind” (made famous by the Fight Club movie soundtrack) and set closer, “Debaser”.
Once The Pixies finished up, a black curtain was draped over the stage to mask the set change. When the curtain dropped, Weezer immediately threw us back to the 90’s and their debut ‘The Blue Album’ with “Buddy Holly” played against a grungy garage band backdrop. The nostalgia continued through hit after hit, “Beverly Hills,” “Hash Pipe,” “Undone – The Sweater Song,” etc. A couple songs later, a familiar metal structure in the shape of Weezer’s iconic =W= logo was raised to light up the stage even further for “My Name Is Jonas”.
Halfway into their set, Weezer played a cover medley of “Happy Together,” originally by The Turtles, mixed with a snippet of Green Day’s “Longview”. Vocalist Rivers Cuomo brought out a scooter and zipped back and forth across the stage momentarily before waving to the audience and scooting off stage left… Only to reappear moments later donning a Hawaiian shirt and racing through the amphitheater stands until parking himself at soundboard. Cuomo picked up an acoustic guitar and entranced fans with solo performances of “Island in the Sun” and Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”
With the attention focused at soundboard, the stage had managed to go through a discreet backdrop change. Bassist Scott Shriner took over the spotlight with a bass solo while Cuomo meandered his way back to stage. Now adorning a leather jacket with metal studs, he confidently snagged his mic stand and relocated it to a platform in front of the stage to get closer to show-goers while singing “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.”
Despite Weezer having dropped their latest album ‘Pacific Daydream’ just over a year ago, the only track played from the record was the lead single “Feels Like Summer.” The song definitely had a warm reception though, especially with the accompaniment of pyro. The end of the night was drawing near, but one more surprise was still in store. Weezer prefaced the song by explaining that a young teenage fan had initiated a Twitter campaign lobbying for the band to cover this particular song… little did they know that their version of Toto’s “Africa” would ironically become their first Billboard Hot 100 hit in 8 years.
The night ended on a two song encore of “Pink Triangle” and an impressive sing-a-long for “Say It Ain’t So.” According to recent interviews, Weezer is sitting on their 12th studio album, and Cuomo has been hinting that new music is coming… so there may be live tour debuts and further surprises from the upcoming ‘The Black Album’ in store for later dates. The alternative rock icons will be touring through August 12th, closing out in Phoenix, AZ. Be sure to catch them on a date near you for a wonderfully reminiscent flashback!