Enter Dos Equis Pavilion during the day, especially a day in June, and you’re making a statement that you truly love who’s going to be on the stage. You agree to shake hands with the devil, dress as loosely as possible and take on the heat to see your favorite act in person. This was the case for fans of the Pixies and Weezer as both bands performed in the Dos Equis Pavilion on Wednesday night.
A tight group gathered in the pit while the older and wiser fans found their chairs and shade. The crowd was mostly of the same generation, an age that laced up Doc Martens and Airwalks, a group that knew its way around a smartphone but remembered when phones were connected to walls, a group that had trendy beards with a few grey hairs. Hip people who were early fans of The Pixies and Weezer were now hip parents, their children alongside them to enjoy the show.
Stragglers cheered as Pixies frontman Frank Black entered the stage followed by bandmates Paz Lenchantin, Joey Santiago and David Lovering. The Pixies started their roughly 70-minute set to seated but enthusiastic fans who were still shaking off the chaos of finding their seats or patches of grass to claim as their own. The fans looked still and unengaged, but they were true fans who knew which song was playing before the first chord had finished. When the Pixies' third song, the favorite "Where Is My Mind?" started with its eerie vocals, the crowd started to wake up and remember who they were watching.
The Pixies performed on a stripped-down stage with no pyrotechnics or screen with flashing images. Black didn’t stop between songs to ask how the crowd was doing or comment on how great it was to be in Dallas. He played the songs with the confidence that his audience came because people liked the songs, and the songs were what he planned on providing. To see the Pixies perform with an expectation of moving set pieces or streamers would tip your hand to not being familiar with the band.
The Pixies were always a particular label of whiskey that took a few times hitting the tongue to appreciate. You knew how special this drink was, and when you urged friends to take a sip, it wasn’t uncommon for them to spit it out, crossly thinking you tricked them into tasting something unpleasant. The ones who liked it, though, the friends you had who finished the glass and asked for another round — those are people now in your inner circle.
The sun finally started to make its exit 30 minutes into the set, allowing Black to remove his shades. By this point, the middle of the amphitheater was standing to get a better view of the band, some people dancing as the tempo of the Pixies' set continued to pick up. The momentum increased along with the breathlessness of the crowd now singing along.
When "Here Comes Your Man" started its first few notes, standing had become a requirement if you wanted to see the show. Lights in Dos Equis started to flicker on to combat the approaching darkness as the heat started to drop and the crowd continued to loosen up. The sun had left its mark on Black, and by the time the band jumped into "Monkey Gone to Heaven," Black’s face was covered in sweat as he screamed the line, “And God is seven,” to an explosive room screaming it right back at him. And as the Pixies finished their last song, "Debaser," the crowd was completely alive.
A black curtain covered the stage as crew members prepared for Weezer. The green of the lawn in Dos Equis was slowly overtaken until the crowd covered it. An errant flash of light from behind the sheer divider blocking the stage alerted everyone to the possibility of a spectacle.
As the amphitheater darkened and the crowd roared its approval, the curtain dropped to reveal Weezer on a set re-creating Arnold’s diner from the music video for "Buddy Holly." Rivers Cuomo was front and center, adorned in a sweater and tie, with bandmates Scott Shriner, Pat Wilson and Brian Bell immediately jumping into their original breakout hit.
The crowd sang along word for word, not only to this song but every song, during the 75-minute set as Weezer played most of its much-revered Blue Album, skipping only three songs. If there was hesitance in the green room to give the crowd the hits instead of songs from the band's newest album, it didn’t show onstage. It played with the same earnestness and heart that made the Blue Album the anthem for everyone who felt like the underdog as a teenager.
Weezer's show was the exact opposite of the Pixies;, with streamers shooting into the crowd and three set changes that took them from the set of "Buddy Holly" to a mock-up of a suburban garage to an '80s-inspired set, hanging cold metal designs ablaze in pyrotechnic glory that would look at home at a Van Halen concert. Cuomo changed into four outfits while performing. It was usually a simple jacket change, but the effort was there to create an experience for the fans.
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Younger faces had slipped into the crowd, and alongside the early arriving fans, they didn’t miss a word in the lyrics, demonstrating the timeless appeal of Weezer and its poppy, candy-coated heartache brand of music. To put in perspective, someone who was 10 when Weezer’s first album released in May 1994 is 34 now, so people who were babies when the "Sweater Song" slipped onto the radio still found its message relatable.
Cuomo, in his awkward way (is it real or the greatest character ever played?), proved to be a more than capable showman — at one point jumping on a scooter and riding into the fans. He jumped on a stage where the seats met the lawn and played an acoustic version of "Islands in the Sun" for the screaming cheap seats.
As the night came to a close with the final song, "Say It Ain’t So," the crowd was still in full attendance, no one taking part in the beat-the-traffic shuffle. Work or no work the next day, there was a shared feeling that leaving early might make you miss something, which is a rare feat to accomplish now. When the last words were sang and Cuomo made his hands into a ‘W’ to the audience, the packed amphitheater did the same.
"Undone — The Sweater Song"
"Franks and Beans"
"A Perfect Situation"
"My Name is Jonas"
"In My Garage"
"No One Else"
Cover Mashup: Turtles’ "So Happy Together"/Green Day’s "Longview"
"Islands in the Sun"
Cover: Oasis’ "Wonderwall"
"The Good Life"
"Feels Like Summer"
Cover: Toto’s "Africa"
"Tired of Sex"
"Say It Ain’t So"