September 29, 2020

A Night with Weezer and The Flaming Lips

posted on: Thursday September 8, 2011

Ryan Waxon ’12/A&E Staff

On the day before my last final of the spring 2011 semester, I received some news that shook me to the bone. The lovably awesome quartet, known as Weezer, would be returning to Jones Beach accompanied by one of the most trippy concert bands of all time, The Flaming Lips. This event can only be described as midsummer bliss fueled by some good, old-fashioned inebriation. Instead of focusing on the 1985 Iran Contra Scandal and memorizing all of its intricate details, I rushed to Ticketmaster and got some great preferential seating for the July 29th affair. Now all I had to do was patiently wait for the epic day to arrive.

When the day finally came, I spent it making the appropriate preparations for a concert at the outdoor amphitheater famously located on the isle of Jones Beach. These preparations revolved around buying the perfect amount of beer. As I furiously drove around Long Island gathering supplies and blasting Weezer over my car’s stereo, I received some unfortunate news from my favorite liquor store’s curmudgeon of a clerk—tonight’s forecast of heavy rain. I refused to believe it; to be honest, I have always regarded weathermen as frauds in cheap suits that are correct as often as a tri-nippled, flea market fortuneteller. I carried on, choosing not to reveal this unfortunate news to my friends, and we headed off to the concert.

Arriving three hours early for the concert, we decided to tailgate. Consuming cocktails and grilling burgers, it seemed like the perfect night for a concert. That is, of course, until the darkest clouds I have ever seen in my life slowly began to creep onto the horizon. I felt like the black smoke monster from LOST was hovering over the ocean, carefully planning its next move to ruin this most coveted event of my summer. Still, with some intoxicated wishful thinking, I maintained that it would not rain. These weathermen would continue to be uninformed nimrods.

I was wrong—very, very, very wrong. The sky opened up and a waterfall came down. Thunder and lightning crashed all around us, and I began to fear the concert would be a bust. We sprinted to the entrance of the theater and held out our dilapidated, computer-paper tickets so that they could be scanned by some upset-looking security guards.

As I entered the concert venue, a disembodied voice came over the loudspeaker and announced that the concert had been delayed until further notice. The rain continued to pour down over the massive crowd as people scurried to places that could keep them dry. I took refuge in the bathroom with a few of my friends. I promptly took off my drenched shirt and dried myself under the hand dryers. The trend caught on as lines slowly developed behind every hand dryer that the lavatories had to offer. I imagined this massive attempt to dry off as the homeless equivalent of a steam bath. Upon exiting the bathroom, another announcement was delivered through the loudspeaker. They were letting people in to see the show. It wasn’t cancelled—the show would go on.

The rain hadn’t let up, and it was coming down harder than ever. I sat down in my seat and felt as if God was standing above me, pouring bucket after bucket of water on my head. Then, suddenly, the show started.

Both The Flaming Lips and Weezer arrived on stage from behind a giant wall illuminated with more colors than I knew existed. They began to play an epically hard rock riff as Rivers Cuomo and Wayne Coyne entered in gigantic plastic bubbles. The two lead singers then proceeded to walk out into the crowd, struggling to keep their balance as they sang Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf.” It was such an amazing thing to see under such horrible circumstances. I was so excited and drenched from the rain that I openly peed in my pants. It kind of felt like peeing in the ocean, but with my favorite musicians playing right in front of me. It was probably the most meaningful and acceptable public pee of my life.

Weezer and The Flaming Lips shared the stage, alternating set lists with three-song pops. The Flaming Lips put on an amazing and very trippy show. From giant hands with lasers coming out of their fingertips to a microphone camera displaying every nook and cranny of Wayne’s face, it was a mesmerizing event.

Weezer, as always, put on a great rock show. Playing all their hits with a notable cover of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” their concert was nothing short of classic. Rivers also did a pretty amazing sprint around the theater, singing(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” and coming so close to me that I could touch him.

Midway through the concert, the rain stopped and the bands continued to rock as hard as ever. They ended the show with a rendition of “Undone (The Sweater Song),” which showcased both bands playing the song simultaneously. It was the best live performance of the song that I had ever heard—truly something that I would never forget. As the song closed, Rivers and Wayne headed out into the crowd again. This time they were sitting on the shoulders of large men dressed as bears. They shot confetti into the crowd and wished everyone a good night.

Flaming Hurricane Weezer was an emotional roller coaster ride. Frustration turned into happiness as the crowd embraced the rain and the bands embraced the fans that came to see them.

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