By: Elizabeth Wiltshire

Weezer— or as one fan was overheard referring to them, “The Greatest Toto Cover Band of The Century”— certainly blessed the rains in Mansfield, MA on Tuesday evening. Numerous torrential downpours, rumbles of thunder, and bursts of lightning didn’t stop fans from braving the elements for this killer show. Who can blame them? With Pixies and Sleigh Bells opening for such a legendary band, getting drenched was worth it.

Kicking off the night was Brooklyn noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells. Although many were initially unfamiliar with the group, they certainly became fans by the end of the set. Vocalist Alexis Krauss has an energy and passion while performing that is impossible to contain—jumping around the stage, head banging, and interacting with the other band members, all while delivering flawless vocals. Guitarist Derek Miller’s talent should not be overlooked either. His sharp, clean guitar playing is enviable, and he too has an engaging stage presence. Sleigh Bells’s performance set the tone for the evening and got the crowd buzzing, both with excitement for the following bands and praise for Sleigh Bells.

As the storms died down, the night heated up with a performance by the famous Pixies. The crowd was especially excited for the band, seeing as they’re Boston rock legends. As someone who’s lived in the Boston area for 11 years without experiencing a Pixies set, I felt as if I was undergoing a Bostonian rocker rite of passage. As soon as their set began, I realized what I’d been missing out on. Even after 30 years, Pixies have the same live sound that they’ve been praised for. Granted, they weren’t nearly as energetic as Sleigh Bells and Weezer and didn’t have the same enthusiasm as their counterparts. Songs bled into each other due to the quick turnaround between them, but I applaud the conscious effort to fit as many songs into the set as possible, and it certainly pleased fans. Hearing classics such as “Where Is My Mind?” and “Here Comes Your Man” were obvious highlights of the set. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, Pixies put on a consistent, diverse, and well-received set.

Weezer, on the other hand, took a completely different approach. As soon as the curtain dropped, they kicked off the show with lyrics anybody remotely familiar with the band would recognize: “What’s with these homies dissin’ my girl?” Fans immediately started screaming along to the hit “Buddy Holly.” Dressed in a sweater, tie, and thick black glasses, Rivers Cuomo was certainly emulating Buddy Holly vibes. The band then launched into “Beverly Hills” and “Pork and Beans.” Weezer certainly knows how to kick off a show the right way.

The set continued with songs including “Hash Pipe”, “El Scorcho”, and “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”, all of which the crowd knew every lyric of. About halfway through the set, the band played a punk-influenced cover of the Turtles’s “Happy Together” with some “Longview” riffs and lyrics mixed in. Shortly after, Rivers took his Razor scooter and scootered over to the B-stage in a captain’s uniform to perform solo versions of “Island in the Sun” and a cover of “Take On Me”, in which he perfectly hit the high notes while the crowd of 19,000 people attempted to…and failed. The next highlight of the set, and arguably the most anticipated, was when Rivers said to the audience, “We’re going to take a trip down to the Southern hemisphere! Not to Antarctica…not to South America…not to Australia…where are we going?” to which the crowd screamed “Africa!”

Weezer’s cover of Toto’s hit was their highest charting song (no. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100) since 2009’s “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” A song that started out as a joke thanks to a mysterious Twitter account pressuring the band to cover the 1982 anthem is now one of the band’s most popular songs. Witnessing Weezer play “Africa” live was frankly something out of a fever dream, but nonetheless thrilling.

The show came to an end with “The Good Life” and “Say It Ain’t So” for the encore, and the crowd was left cheering long after Weezer left the stage, and rightfully so. Weezer played an energetic, diverse, and simply fun 20-song set that included hits and deep cuts. They’re a band that you can count on to constantly put on an incredible show since 1992. As Toto famously said in “Africa”, “It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you.” Anybody who’s seen Weezer can attest that’s how they feel about a Weezer concert, and that will be true for as long as the band keeps touring. Don’t miss out on the rest of this incredible tour! Dates and tickets can be found here.

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