Teenage Dream

It felt I had come so far to be right back home again.

So much has been said about Weezer – the limitless promise of their first two albums, the glacially slow fall that came with everything after. Still, there’s something perfect about those first two albums – how effortlessly they tap into something adolescent and pure. Also, there’s those relatable themes of being pissed off at half-Japanese girls and falling in love with lesbians, right?

Despite their countless missteps and pretty much all of “Make Believe,” Weezer knows that too. Nothing quite matches up to their first two albums. With a lead single from their latest mediocre album titled “Memories,” there was no better time to revisit their classics.

Weezer at Roseland Ballroom, New York City, New York
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Watching “Pinkerton” unfold in front of me last night – every bit of tortured “Tired Of Sex” feedback to the final, gentle strums of “Butterfly” brought me eight years and seven hundred and fifty miles from where I was. Instead of being twenty-five and in Manhattan’s Theatre District, I was back in my room in West Dundee, wide eyed and unable to understand girls. Okay, so maybe not a whole lot has changed.

Obviously, there was a strong sense of nostalgia to the show, which was enforced by an incredible one-two-three punch of “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly,” “Suzanne,” and “Jamie”. I can’t help but think that it was a not-so-subtle wink at their long-suffering fans. Beyond all of this, I was more impressed by the audience that the show brought out – folks who probably attended Weezer shows when the album first came out, folks like myself who lived through their tortured middle period, and a staggering number of teenagers who were toddlers when the first two albums came out. I mentioned to one young guy that I had first seen them in 2002 when they were touring behind “Maladroit,” and he responded with “I wish I could have seen them then, but I was like, twelve.”

“Memories,” indeed.

One Twenty Oh Nine

obama

I was inspired today watching the inaugural festivities, and decided to cobble together a mixtape featuring songs I felt were appropriate for the occasion. Enjoy!

Click here to download.

Tracklist:

Change Is Gonna Come – Otis Redding
The World Is An Open Door – Franz Nicolay
Sorrow – Bad Religion
Afrobama – Cody Chesnutt
Come Together – The Beatles
The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan
Black Man – Stevie Wonder
Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
I Want To Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
The Start of Something – Voxtrot

Regrets, reminiscing and other embarrassments

Live music has become one of the cornerstones of my life as I creep into my mid twenties. There’s been countless great shows I’ve been to over the years, and I could write several posts about how amazing they all were, but let’s be honest – that’s not always that fun. Instead, I’ll engage you with moments of my musical repentance.

Here’s some concert experiences that I’d want a do over.

February 20, 2003 – Phish. For the most part, these guys blow chunks. Before this current breakup and reformation, Phish was dormant from late 2000 to late 2002. This was their first tour back , and being a junior in high school, thinking that jam bands were totally where it was at for two months, I thought it would be cool to try and snap up GA tickets for their show at Allstate Arena. Somehow, I did, and managed to piss off all the hippies I went to school with. Example:

Like, come on mannn, I’ll totally give you a hundred bucks for those tickets. That version of “Chalkdust Torture” on A Live One is the best thing I’ve ever heard! Totally dude, like, I totally, like, love Puh-hish. I mean, come on man, do you even smoke?

I forgot to mention some of them were pissed of the mediocre review I gave Round Room in my high school’s newspaper earlier that winter.

My best friend Jordan, who probably got an even worse dressing-down than I did, was my companion for this gig. We spent the night making our way through a sea of patchouli, hemp necklaces with those cute little blown glass trinkets, and my personal favorite – fainting hippies. I was not impressed, but Jordan didn’t seem to mind. He was totally groovin’ his way through tried and true classics like “Gotta Jibboo”. Really?

May 16, 2005 – The Mars Volta at the Riveira Theater. The Riv is a shitty venue, with piss-poor sight lines. It didn’t help that I actually payed to see the kings of pretentious art-rock. What’s equally embarassing? This glowing review of Amputecture I wrote a year later. Humiliating. You want a new Floyd or King Crimson? Listen to these turds. I’ll pass. Thanks.

October 3, 2005 – Foozer tour at the Allstate Arena. It was a dream bill – two of my favorite bands at the time, Weezer and the Foo Fighters – playing together at one show at the premier suburban arena. If only I could remember it. Largely incapacitated due to some incredibly strong prescription medication, this is more just a collage of moments than what should have been one of the happiest moments of my life. I remember next to nothing of Weezer’s set, save for their cover of ‘Big Me’, and that the Foos opened with “In Your Honor” and “Cold Day In The Sun” was somewhere near the end of the set as I wandered around the arena. Also, if you ask the right person, apparently I wanted food at a a ‘sit down place’, despite not having any money. I do not recall this.

August 6, 2006 – Missing the entire 17-member lineup of Broken Social Scene at Lollapalooza 2006 for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Lolla ’06 was my inaugural festival experience, and I was still figuring out the ropes of how it all worked. I realized that you can’t see everyone you want, no matter how hard you try. So, I opted to see the Chilis, a group I had been “totally jamming to” since the summer of 2000. The show was alright, from what I remember, but because of the steel toe boot to the head from an errant crowdsurfer things are sort of fuzzy. According to my friend (and fellow obviate-er) Evan Thorne, who attended the show with me, he heard the THUD of when the boot kicked me in the head, and then turned around to see me down. I remember still feeling like i had control in my feet, but it was just easier to fall. I think I got pulled out of that one during the encore.

October 31, 2007 – Shouting “YEAH!” very loudly in a quiet room after Craig Finn explained before the live debut of “Lord, I’m Discouraged” that it was a “sad song”. Man, talk about a buzzkill. The dude next to me patted me on the shoulder and said “nice job” as I sunk my head into my shoulders. Ouch.