Monday, February 16, 2009

My Favourite Gig

Weezer @ Brixton Academy (24/3/02)

To continue funfunfun's week of birthday celebrations I'm going to take you back to the spring of 2002 and one of the best gigs of my life.
Weezer became an obsession for me around this time. My best friend Tom and I bought tickets for their Brixton show in October '01 but due to certain events in September that year, the gig was postponed until March the following year. In the time between, the obsession grew. We couldn't stop talking about them, listening to their three albums of perfect pop punk. We even became regulars on the very geeky Weezer boards, making friends with other Weezer fans. It was pure teenage excitement and devotion.
By the time of the gig in March, a meet-up of all the London Weezer-board members was arranged before the gig. Me and Tom arrived at Brixton Academy early, around 1-2 in the afternoon, and met up with other fans, some I still occasionally speak to today. We had even made cakes. Getting there so early meant we were very close to the front of the queue and ended up chatting with everyone around us.
As the doors of Brixton opened, we sprinted to the front of the stage to get on the bar. I'd never been that close at a gig before. The excitement started to build. We had to stand through the support act, Remy Zero if I remember rightly, and we got through that by creating dance moves for each of their songs. And then it was time for The Weez.
From the look of the setlist below, you can see how good a selection of songs they played that night. It was just before the release of the much-underrated Maladroit and the set comprised of a equal pick of songs from their back catalogue. The crowd went ballistic, throwing the hands up in W shapes, as they took to the stage and crunched straight into Dope Nose. I've never heard a crowd sing so loud that it was a struggle to hear Rivers over them.
Rivers was sporting his bristling, full-on beard at the this stage and barely moved from the mic, instead making odd remarks between songs like 'We came to punish your ass' and 'Look out boy, you're gonna get steam-rolled'. Luckily the rest of band were in a more lively mood with Brian pulling some awesome guitar poses right in front of us and new bassist, at the time, Scott leaning so far back while playing that his head nearly touched the floor. We so how ended up make faces at Scott across the stage and him making them back. At the end of the show, he came up to us and gave his pick. It was incredible.
The crowd went crazy at the start of every song, so pleased that they were playing this one or that one. I was shocked that they played Tired Of Sex and Why Bother?, shocked but utterly overwhelmed. But the moment that makes this gig so special for me was at the end of the set. I know Only In Dreams is pretty damn epic on record but man, you have to see it live. As the bridge built to its climax and the roaring guitars kick in again, the entire room went crazy. Listen to the mp3 below and wait for the rampant elation. At that moment, the infamous Weezer =W= got lowered, all lights blazing and flashing. It was incredible and it still makes me tingle when I listen back on it today.
The encore of Happy Together and Buddy Holly, with its brooding opening and feedback fuelled finale, was the perfect end to an amazing gig and looking, and listening, back on it now, it was a day of youthful exuberance and a memory of some amazingly happy times.

Dope Nose
My Name Is Jonas
The Good Life
Island In The Sun
Surfwax America
Tired Of Sex
Burndt Jamb
Knock-Down Dragout
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Why Bother?
Modern Dukes
Don't Let Go
Say It Ain't So
Hash Pipe
Only in Dreams
Happy Together
Buddy Holly

Click here to download a zip of all the mp3s.
Photo not of Brixton show. Mp3s from


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