Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Weezer/Foo Fighters 10/10 @ Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA

Thanks to Daniel Zabransky for all the pictures here, he was a cool cat at the show taking pictures with his digital camera, and he agreed to let me use a few.

The following is an account of the October 10th Weezer/Foo Fighters show at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.

The night started off on a bad note, as I couldn't find my lucky O's hat (the one from the 80's with the cartoon bird) before heading off to the show. I wound up having to wear a less proven Orioles hat (the one with the classic bird, the original which the team currently uses for home games). After a pleasant and non-eventful drive to the Patriot Center, my buddies went into the arena, as they waited for me to find a ticket (I go to alot of shows without tickets since it's not too hard to buy one off a fan with an extra). I ended up buying one from a scalper for just $30, which I was happy with since the ticket's face value was $45. I glanced at it briefly, noticed that it was for a seat in section 117, then headed to one of the entrances.

photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

I got to the West entrance, where I was greeted by Some Dude and Some Chick. After realizing they were there for respective gender-specific friskings, I lifted my arms and waited for the mandatory pat-down to begin. As most people can attest to, friskings at airports can be especially awkward and metaphysically uncomfortable. Concert friskings are almost as bad. Thankfully, Some Dude was as uncomfortable with doing it as I was with being the friskee, so the process was brief. After making it past this first wave of concert personnel, I got to Ticket Girl. Ticket Girl was nice, and she scanned my ticket with some sort of bar-code scanning instrument. I asked her where my seat was, and as she responded, I zoned out. I saw her drop my ticket into a some kind of bin. I came to just in time to catch the end of what Ticket Girl was saying. I immediately began to wish I had been paying attention to what she had been talking about, but I was in a line, and I had to march on.

I finally got to the door, where two chicks were standing with shiny green wristbands. Seeing as I love shiny green, and recovering from the nervous vibes of the frisking, I stuck out my arm. One of the girls smiled after a second, and, in what became a theme to the first part of the night, clumsily put the contraption on my left wrist.

After meeting up with my pal Matty Bro, we proceeded to try and find our section. His ticket was for section 103, but we figured we could sit near each other anyway amongst what we expected to be a laissez-faire attitude towards seating enforcement. It is at this point that I became even more confused than I normally am: I had a wristband, and Matty Bro had a ticket. Something was amiss.

Realizing this ticket discrepancy, Bro came to conclusion (much sooner than I did) that I just happened to luck out like a bastard and get a general admission ticket to the floor, which is where we were hoping to wind up for the show (the Patriot Center had a seatless main floor in front of the stage for the show, with seats surrounding the floor as you would expect at a basketball venue). What we figured out was that I, in my typical cluelessness, had confused the girl into putting a bracelet on my wrist when in fact I should have continued on without one. That, or Ticket Girl thought I was cute and hooked me up with a floor wristband. Or she saw me for the idiot that I am and assumed I would rather have a floor seat because I had the look of a lame rock concert-goer. Either way, serendipity and a positive attitude combined forces to my benefit, and I was able to get on the floor.

The Kaiser Chiefs came on first. They were OK, average and typical as an opening act (although their last song, "I Predict a Riot," was particularly money). The highlight of their set was when their lead singer bombastically announced "We are Kaiser Chiefs!!! We're from the UK!!!," after which their guitarist slyly added "You must be the USA!!!" No blatant Spinal Tap reference must be ignored, so I gave them respect for that alone (I try to live my life in the spirit of Gunther: Champagne, glamour, sex, and RESPECT - I fail miserably on all accounts, but I will freely continue to give out tons of the last principle).

photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

Weezer followed, and their show was damn good. They played a nifty mix of their old and newer stuff, and, given the nature of the dual billing, avoided playing too much off their most recent album in favor of early-era tunes. Rivers Cuomo, according to those who had seen the band previously, was apparently much less nervous than usual, and one could tell that the band was having fun. The set starting off well, but noticeably picked up steam as the night progressed. It was really a treat to hear "El Scorcho," "Why Bother?," and "Surf Wax America," essentially traveling back in time to high school.

The setlist:

My Name is Jonas
Don't Let Go
Dope Nose
This is Such a Pity
Big Me (Foo Fighters cover)
Perfect Situation
Why Bother?
El Scorcho
Say It Ain't So
We Are All on Drugs
Surf Wax America
Beverly Hills
Hash Pipe
Photograph----> Song 2 (Blur Cover)*

Island in the Sun
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Buddy Holly
* Rivers Cuomo on drums, Patrick Wilson on guitar

The best part of the night, for me, came at the end of Weezer's main set. After finishing up "Hash Pipe," Rivers Cuomo and Patrick Wilson switched instruments; Rivers played the drums and Pat played lead guitar and sang "Photograph," which then turned into a sweet cover of Blur's "Song 2." After banging the drums for a bit, Rivers threw his drumsticks into the crowd. I saw that one of them was headed in my general direction, and it landed half a foot in front of me. A quick melee ensued for a millisecond, and I somehow wound up with the stick. Apparently years of going to baseball games and trying to pounce on ricocheting foul balls paid off. Immediately after grabbing it, people gave me a couple high fives, and there was also some gnashing of teeth and consternation from the kids who had a chance to grab the souvenir. One dude tapped me on the shoulder and called me "the luckiest motherfucker ever." Needless to say, he was greatly exaggerating, but it was a cool memento.

Rivers Cuomo on drums/photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

But then something odd happened.

In the straight-up freakiest moment of the night, two young teenage girls (get-10-years-in-prison young) asked me if they could "hold it." So many jokes and puns started running around inside my head, but then I was struck with the bizarre oddity of the situation. The thing was that both the girls actually meant it. I let them hold the stick, with the second girl holding on to it for a good 10 second count. I held onto it while she did, because I honestly didn't know if she was going to go psycho and just snatch it, but ultimately she let go with a satisfied and glazed look in her eye. I can't imagine what she'd look like after she first starts having sex. It was fucking weird. I feel creepy just writing about it, and I was happy to get the hell away from those girls.

After getting over being thoroughly creeped out, I made my way back to the seats, where Matty Bro again called me a lucky bastard as soon as he saw that I had one of the drumsticks in my hand. Everyone agreed that Weezer had put on a great show, and we looked forward to the Foo Fighters set.

more to come...

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