Weezer & Foo Fighters

Andrew Olson

The old saying, two heads are better than one was the underlying picture that the Foo Fighters/Weezer concert last Sunday (Oct. 2nd) epitomized. Even though neither band have ever been a "top-rated" group nationally, combining powers changed that image. The packed Excel Energy Center in St. Paul was alive with energy, and it also showed that record sales don't always show the true popularity of a band.

For $40 ($50 when Ticketjackster gets done with you) the crowd was given two bands that could have garnered that kind of money alone. Recent popular rockers Kaiser Chiefs opened the show and were down that same under-rated road, but not the caliber of the bands headlining.

With this 2 for 1, or even 3 for 1, the show had a lot of value for the buck. While I was there to mostly to see Weezer, my fiancé Tory was more interested in Foo Fighters. This was probably the case repeated by many in attendance. It may have had something to do with both bands fitting the mold of a working-class group fighting to stay afloat in the sea of pop music.

In the mid 1990s Weezer blew everyone away when they mixed technology with music videos and inserted themselves into footage of the TV show “Happy Days". They also crossed genres in the song when they sang the lyrics, "What's with these homies dissin' my girl, why do they gotta front?" After that breakthrough moment Weezer sat in the shadows of preceding musical movements for years. Seeing them live reminded everyone of just how many hit tunes they have had over those years. “Buddy Holly" was played live, but lead singer Rivers Cuomo was without his trademark, dark-rimmed glasses (Although the audience had theirs on in support). For years Rivers has been shy on stage, but with a co-headliner like Dave Grohl that all changed. They went so far as to pull the trademark Green Day move of letting an audience member come up on stage to play guitar with the band. When I first saw this done at Edgefest in Somerset, Wisconsin back in the late 1990s it was the moment that changed my impression of Green Day forever. When they did it they called up a 16 year old kid with braces and the audience heaved and wept at the innocence and skill that the boy had. When Weezer did it the guy they choose was in his 20s and sucked. This was the only down moment as my grandmother could have played the song "Undone" (The Sweater Song) better.

Recently Weezer broke from obscurity to do a new Playboy Mansion video about being a geeky dreamer wishing to reside in Beverly Hills. It is almost like this past year has been a period of digging up a time capsule that was sealed in the late 1990s and exposing a whole new generation to great bands. It began with Green Day assaulting our eyes and ears and has trickled down to even a lonely Trent Reznor of NIN. For a moment the spotlight has returned to Grunge, which was a reminder in a story that headliner Dave Grohl told.

Foo Fighters front man and energetic howler Dave Grohl had a larger stage show, louder sound, and polished-smooth performance. Dave felt like one of the crowd though when he told a story about recording Nirvana’s album In Utero at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN. He said he had been through the cities many times and loved it there. He also asked the crowd how they could stand the cold weather and told a story about snowmobiling.

Foo Fighters played their latest hit, “Best Of You" early, but followed with, “Times Like These", "Learning to Fly", "Stacked Actors" ,"Times Like These", "Everlong", and “This Is a Call". It was a night of awesome tunes and both Rivers and Grohl ran through the crowd building to a moment of playing on a small stage at the back of the floor. The crowd was over 14,000 according to a report in Minneapolis’s Star Tribune Newspaper. The floor was standing room only and filled in like sardines. Oddly, the mass of people pressed up front swayed back and forth while squeezed together. It had this living, breathing feeling, but would spew up an audience member to be passed along the upreached arms.

Then the person would fall head first and be lost into the mass of bodies again. There wasn’t moshing like when these bands played and I first saw them, but they were larger now. So much great music was around when they originally came out that it will take a lifetime even understand it all. For one moment though, a crowd of geeks and regular Joe’s enjoyed bands that are just like them. The yells from the crowd showed that it is better to fill a hall with people who really love your music, than with people who only want to see what is popular.