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Weezer Breaks In New Arena With Killer Set

The murmurs and buzz in a pre-show arena are unlike any other type of mood. The air is filled with anxious excitement, unsure if they spent their money on something mind-blowingly awesome or eardrum shattering.

For those at the Weezer concert on Sept. 25, luckily, it was the former.

Once the wait was over and the lights dimmed, instinctually, the crowd went crazy, ready for the real show.

Opening with “Hash Pipe” and going right into “Troublemaker,” the crowd in front of the stage immediately crashed in together like stormy waves, jumping around, throwing the Weezer gang sign in the air.

With all the frantic energy of a five-year-old, lead singer Rivers Cuomo jumped around on stage, even utilizing a trampoline at certain moments, jammed with the crowd and pulled out some awkward dance moves, all while never slowing down to catch his breath.

To just look at Weezer, you wouldn’t think that they’ve reached such career highs. With Buddy Holly-esque glasses, beady eyes and grade-school prep attire, Cuomo looks more like your neighborhood creep than rock star, and the rest of the band doesn’t fare much better.

Their look, however, made no impact on the crowd’s enjoyment.

Most were clamoring for a better view, as many on the floor started standing on chairs, pushing forward and some even rushed down from the seats.

Throughout the course of the show, the band tossed out beach balls, with a stray one knocking over Cuomo’s microphone stand, doused the crowd in water and covered them in toilet paper.

No matter what he threw their way, the crowd soaked in every moment of it, and was visibly animated by such a presence in the new arena.  

Freshman theater arts major Carrie Peiffer was blown away by what the band was did.

“They are by far the coolest nerds in the world,” Peiffer said. “The concert was fantastic.”

With such an expansive song selection to choose from, the crowd was buzzing before the show, wondering what the band would play.

Junior business-economics major Darren Foss was hoping to hear them play “Perfect Situation,” while Peiffer and freshman health science major Kathryn Johnson were both hoping for, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” bursting into an impromptu sing-along while waiting.

With each one of their past hits, including “Troublemaker,” “Undone-The Sweater Song” and “My Name Is Jonas,” the crowd’s liveliness never dropped, and they easily yelled along the lyrics.

The only time of the night the crowd chilled at all was during “Memories,” the first single off their newest album, “Hurley,” but even then, chilled is an overstatement.

As the opening chords for “Say It Ain’t So” started, the crowd erupted into the loudest roar of the night, and at times, they seemed to drown out Cuomo.

Most bands require the audience to sing along at one point or another, but for Weezer, the standard practice just wouldn’t do.

During “Island in the Sun,” when many were singing anyways, Cuomo ordered the crowd to jump, and they did, mimicking his awkward motions.

After “Island,” Cuomo took time to give a shout-out to ACBU, though he called them student council, saying that the show wouldn’t be possible without them.

He then gave a shout-out to President Glasser and offered her a ride to St. Louis on their tour bus, where they were both heading the next day, which she declined.

As the band played on stage, Cuomo used the arena as his own personal playground, climbing over seats and walking on ledges, all while performing “Beverly Hills.” He even changed Beverly Hills to Peoria once, and while giving the hometown crowd a shout-out mid-song may be one of the oldest concert tricks in the book, the crowd ate it up nonetheless.

For as much love as the crowd gave Weezer, the band easily gave it all back. As he made his way through the entire arena, Cuomo stopped for photos, high-fives and handshakes. While security was most likely going crazy, he and the fans seemed to be having a great time.

While happy for such a good view, Johnson thought the atmosphere might have been better with a slightly different set-up.

“I think it should be standing-room only,” Johnson said, “so then everyone is right there in the middle.”

As someone who has also seen concerts in the Civic Center, junior business-economics major Darren Foss saw the new arena as a benefit to the show.

“It was really cool,” said Foss.

A surprise of the night came from the mashed-up cover of MGMT’s “Kids” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” which saw Cuomo decked out in a long, bleach blonde wig, and by the end of the song, he was crawling on the floor until he was out of sight.

An even sweeter surprise came from guitarist Brian Bell, whose 102-year-old grandma Lila from Iowa was in the audience. The band dedicated a brief jam session to her, with Bell yelling out various lines in support of her, including, “She’ll live longer than you.”

After crawling through around the stage during the mash-up, the set seemed over, but the band emerged to play “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and “Buddy Holly” and capped off the night with a group drum solo.

Besides providing the crowd with an energetically pumped up show, Cuomo also had one piece of advice for the students before the band left.

“Thanks so much for having us. Hope to see you again. Do your homework.”

After such an engaging and energetic show, the bar is certainly set high for future acts.

 “Weezer was a great band to have come play,” said Peiffer. “I am looking forward to more concerts if they have good bands like Weezer come.”