Weezer and Pixies take Vancouver across time and space

Weezer and Pixies with Basement at Rogers Arena, 04/07/19

Photo by Ryan Johnson. Weezer.

On Sunday, a Rogers Arena crowd rode in a time machine built by both Weezer and Pixies. The journey through space and time began with Basement, an English rock band whose beat was a skilled yet somewhat inflated lead-in to the sound of the headliners.

Then came Pixies amidst squares of bold purple lights in the background, escalating anticipation from faithful fans. Despite a still warming audience throughout the first few songs, the band played hardcore. They soon hyped up the crowd to the sound of “Where is My Mind?,” arguably their most famous song.    

Photos: Weezer & Pixies | Rogers Arena
Photo by Ryan Johnson. The Pixies.

Even before hitting a decade of their union in 1986, Pixies had already released acclaimed albums like their 1989 record Dolittle and 1990’s Bossanova. However, they also acrimoniously separated before that anniversary. Surprisingly the hastiness of their split further proved the solidity of their fans: outlasting their break-up, selling out their reunion tour tickets, and continuing the commemoration of their legacy.

Band modifications like the replacement of the original female bass player and backing vocalist, Kim Deal, with the now Paz Lenchantin hasn’t shaken their fandom either. Lenchantin’s voice stood out with lead vocalist Black Francis’ during the performance of “Death Horizon” and “All the Saints.”

Photo by Ryan Johnson. Pixies.

Songs like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Vamos” depict their acclaimed musical innovation, with the second blending not only punk and surf rock but featuring lyrics in Spanish. However, some other fan-favorites missed the cut, slightly disheartening folks within the crowd who hoped to relive hits like “Dig for Fire,” “Anna,” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven.” Comments about the possibility of a set-list arranged to be Weezer-adjacent were heard in the crowd.

Then it was time for. The substantial presence of Pixie fans was undeniable, but the majority of the crowd was definitely Weezer’s. Fans rose to their feet with the first song, and the vitality created by the combination of stage props, lights, performance surprises, and band interaction made it hard to sit back down again.

Photo by Ryan Johnson. Weezer.

At one point, lead singer Rivers Cuomo emerged at the opposite side of the arena from the stage, mid-show. He was standing on top of a chunk of the stage, which floated across the arena, while singing an acoustic version of “Perfect Situation,” followed by a cover of the famous “Stand by Me.” It’s interesting that this didn’t happen during their performance of “Island in the Sun,” making their every move unpredictable. The fans went crazy as they phone-recorded him surfing across the floor, and then grabbing an oar to row back to his bandmates at the main stage.

The temporal journey started by their contributing headliners, Pixies, was intensified by Weezer’s cover of classics like Toto’s “Africa,” A-ha’s “Take on Me,” and Tears for Fears’  “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The inclusion of these songs in their Teal Album, released earlier this year, raised some prejudice over the content and quality of their tour. But the group dismissed it with the interpretation of fresher songs like “Can’t Knock the Hustle” from their newest Black Album, released early in March.  

In a time-span of nearly three hours, the Vancouver audience crossed borders to the rains of Africa, got a quick mental island vacation, got to sing (or at least attempt to) in Spanish, and relived the glory of the 80s. Such a time-space compression can only be done by the joint force of such bands.

Photo by Ryan Johnson. Weezer.