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Weezer wended their way to Worcester during “Indie Rock Road Trip” tour

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Weezer on their tour. Image by Natalie from Flickr.

As frontman Rivers Cuomo would put it, Worcester Palladium got Weezer’d Saturday, July 1. A jam-packed crowd consisting of thousands of fans took a trip to see the newly inducted Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band take center stage, and they did not disappoint (1). Weezer stopped in Worcester, Mass. as part of their “Indie Rock Road Trip” tour alongside rock band Joyce Manor and Indie group Future Islands. The show was nothing short of an experience worth the price of admission.

Usually, Worcester Palladium is a place for bands looking to take their talents to the next level, as its indoor venue seats a few thousand (2). After unveiling its outdoor stage not too long ago, outdoor events have given bands the chance to perform for a much larger audience, all of whom are given general admission tickets (3). It was the first time performing at the venue for all three bands, and they put on a memorable show for the fans, who gave them a warm welcome to central Mass.

Joyce Manor was the first band to take the stage, and despite playing 13 songs from their discography, their melodic, fast-paced punk rock set—grouped with some banter in between—lasted about a half hour. The Torrence, Calif. based trio—who tour as a quintet—took the stage at 7 p.m. Vocalist and guitarist Barry Johnson introduced he and his bandmates to the crowd, opening with the song “Heart Tattoo,” a catchy fan favorite from their 2014 album “Never Hungover Again.” 

The band mixed and matched their setlist with tracks of old and new. Songs like “Ashtray Petting Zoo” and “Beach Community” from their 2013 self-titled album and the songs “Don’t try” and “NBTSA” from their newest album “40 Oz. To Fresno” making up the middle of their setlist. As said before, Johnson’s banter was unmatched and his engagement with the crowd was top-tier, introducing songs with an ironic, comedic twist. Some examples included introducing their most popular track, “Constant Headache,” as a Coldplay cover, as well as telling the audience they’ll like the track “Big Lie” if they’re fans of codependent relationships.

The tracks had many fans belting out the lyrics and starting mosh pits within the first few rows, including during “Constant Headache”and their final song of the night, “Catalina Fight Song.” Their performance left a positive mark on the bystanders—some of whom were asking whether the band was good live after growing restless for the concert to begin. They got their answer relatively quickly; these same individuals were seen bobbing their heads to the songs, and Joyce Manor left to a wave of cheers at around 7:35 p.m. 

After Peterson and his crew left, synth-pop band Future Islands came out to play about a half hour later. The crew that hails from Baltimore, Md., led by vocalist Samuel T. Herring, induced a lot of whistles and cheers from the crowd early on. Their distinct genre of music, grouped with Herring’s iconic stage presence garnered support from the 10,000 strong. His over-the-top demeanor, theatrics and passion helped the group gain ground in their rather unique lineup that holds no guitarist. Their lack of a six string didn’t stop them from putting on an entertaining extravaganza, though.

Their first song, “For Sure,” which was featured on their 2020 album “As Long as You Are,” gave the spectators a glimpse of what they were in for with the bands’ set underway. Herring’s patented vocals, which show off his heavy accent, coupled with his on-stage histrionics, including leg kicks during music pauses and backwards running, were a treat for the onlookers. The band was sharp musically and their set ignited the atmosphere even more.

Herring’s appreciation for the attending fans was noted throughout the show; he thanked them for coming out to Worcester for Future Island’s first performance at the Worcester Palladium multiple times. His love for giving the fans an unforgettable experience was prominent, as was his ability to attract the viewers with his vocals and movements on stage. Their diverse set list included newer songs from “As Long as You Are” played at the beginning like “Plastic Beach” and “Hit the Coast.” 

With the end of their set looming, Future Islands began to perform some of their most popular songs, including “Seasons (Waiting on You)” and “A Dream of You and Me,” both of which stem from their 2014 album “Singles.” Herring—now dripping in sweat and noting to the crowd that he was happy to ‘get a workout in’—addressed the fans with their final song of the night, “Little Dreamer.” It was one of the first songs they’d ever written, and is a track off their 2008 album “Wave Like Home.” 

With this song, and the previous few, Herring began to start off some verses with vocals similar to “screamo,” which riled the crowd up and got them even more hyped than before. When Future Islands finished, they left fans with what felt like a caffeine-induced rush of adrenaline. Fans started screaming out lyrics to hit songs played over the PA system in anticipation of Weezer coming out. 

When they arrived from the soundcheck area to a lightless stage with the song “Africa” by Toto blaring over the PA speakers—followed by a compilation of their hit songs turned into a remix—Weezer was greeted with deafening screams. The stage setup was a charming touch to the show, as the backdrop of the stage was the layout of a car dashboard with a steering wheel and radio, referencing the theme of the tour. 

Without missing a beat, guitarist Brian Bell started the set with one of their greatest album opening tracks, “My Name is Jonas” off their certified three times platinum 1994 self-titled album, commonly referred to as the “Blue Album.” Right off the bat, the fans were in a frenzy. As the complex acoustic riff drifted off at the end of the song, the band quickly transitioned to their 2005 hit single off “Make Believe,” “Beverly Hills.”

With their first two songs finished, Cuomo introduced himself, Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Pat Wilson to the crowd. Before playing their next song, “Return to Ithaka,” Cuomo engaged with the audience, talking about how he was excited to play in Worcester for the first time, given his New England roots growing up in nearby Connecticut. The Harvard University graduate asked the crowd if they wanted to turn the radio knob on the prop to its max volume, which turned up the gain and volume on both his and Bell’s guitars. 

Midway through the set, the rest of the band left Cuomo alone on stage, and he was given both a camera and an acoustic guitar. Cuomo asked the crowd if they wanted a picture, teasing them by asking them if they’re sure and that kids are usually fussy when it comes to photos being taken. He finally gave in and said “it’s not a road trip until Dad takes a photo” before snapping a photo of the thousands standing in attendance. 

After an incredible performance that saw the stars perform fan favorites like “El Scorcho,” “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Island in the Sun” and “Say it Ain’t So,” the band told fans it was time for their last song of the night. Fittingly, it was “Thank You and Goodnight,” one of their newest tracks off the 2022 EP “SZNZ: Summer.”  However, nobody bought that it was the final song, and to the sound of thunderous, repetitive chants of “WEEZER!,” the four superstars came out for an encore. They performed the instrumental track “The Waste Land,” and gave fans a pleasant surprise with the penultimate track being “Surf Wax America” from the “Blue Album.”

The final song of the night was even more fitting than the one they advertised, as it was one of their biggest hits, “Buddy Holly.”  The buildup to the undoubtedly legendary guitar lick at the end of the song’s bridge brought satisfaction to many, if not most, in the Palladium. With fans in attendance screaming with raspy voices, the band made their way to center stage and took a bow. As the floodgates to the exits opened, everybody went home with their ears ringing for the night. 

The props used, including a video backdrop displaying a car driving by fast food joints and hotels with song titles for their names, cleverly encapsulated the creativity of the individuals involved in making this tour happen. Even minute details, such as the transmitter radio moving up in channels as the setlist moved along, was a clear cut example of the effort and creativity put into this tour.

It was a pleasure to witness this band live and catch a glimpse of them going back to their roots and playing as sharp as they did during their prime. It was also amazing to listen to the bands that played for them in the undercard as well.

 

  1. https://twitter.com/RiversCuomo/status/1669531297599856640?lang=en
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_Palladium
  3. https://www.wbjournal.com/article/the-palladium-looks-to-build-on-the-success-of-its-new-outdoor-concert-space





About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor