Sunday night in Tinley Park, Panic! At The Disco and Weezer performed to a nearly sold out suburban Chicago crowd... But Panic! At The Disco stole the show.There aren't a lot of bands capable of actually filling outdoor sheds in the year 2016, so credit is due to both Panic! At The Disco and Weezer for pulling it off.
Sunday's all ages show was one geared toward the younger end of the concert going demographic: Doors opened at 6PM, alcohol sales were cut off by 10:15 and merchandise sales were brisk.
The early alcohol cut off may have frustrated some fans on the older, ahem, Weezer side of the crowd but it certainly seemed a relief to employees. Good luck finding shorter beer lines in Tinley Park at any show this summer.
Sunday's crowd was indeed a young one, an irony that clearly wasn't lost on Panic! frontman Brendon Urie (29) who, tongue firmly planted in cheek, frequently referenced and joked about the age disparity between audience/performer and concertgoer/parent.
The success of this show was built largely on influence. Panic! frontman Brendon Urie cited Weezer as one frequently Sunday night. They've also written songs together.
Panic! At The Disco also covered Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" very ably midway through Sunday's set, a perfect fit for Urie's energy and theatrics as he moved to the piano for the performance. A 1975 song that was exposed to a new audience following it's placement in the 1992 film Wayne's World found even newer life Sunday night.
Panic's secret weapon Sunday was frequently the strength of their three piece horn section. There were moments when the trio was no match for Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre's notoriously poor acoustics. In the wind Sunday night, the venue was akin to an acoustic black hole - but with Urie crooning on "Death of a Bachelor," the horns finally had a chance to shine, fueling one of the evening's best moments.
"I Write Sins not Tragedies" followed and found the audience at its most animated. But it was Urie's dedication of "This is Gospel" to former Panic! drummer and founding band member Spencer Smith which proved the evening's most poignant moment. Smith hasn't performed with the band since 2013 and officially departed in 2015 to focus on his sobriety. Urie's words were heartfelt and clearly struck a chord with the Tinley Park crowd.
Performing in front of church imagery in the form of a faux-stained glass backdrop, Urie strapped on a guitar as he led the crowd in a sing-a-long of the song's "Oh, oh, oh" chorus before closing with the Duran Duran influenced "Victorious." Co-written by Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo, the track was a fitting closer as the 90s icons prepared to take the stage.
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo repaid the prior Panic! lip service by working the band's name into "El Scorcho" in place of a now dated Green Day reference from 1996. But the comparisons stop there.
Never what you'd call an "energetic" live group, Weezer seemed wholly uninterested in expending much of it at all Sunday night, falling victim to some of their worst trappings: preening in the style of their 70s arena rock heroes.
The band now tunes down so low to accommodate Cuomo's vocals that some songs are barely recognizable live. "Hash Pipe" came early in Sunday's set and was particularly impacted.
Sunday's Weezer set was also marred by multiple medleys. Artists with deep catalogs like Paul McCartney can get away with it... Weezer's not there yet. Fan favorites like "The Good Life" and "Surf Wax America" suffered initially as did "Only in Dreams" later when it was paired with "King of the World" from the band's latest self-titled studio effort.
The band sat down and huddled together for what should've been a terrific acoustic version of "Island in the Sun." But following a rough solo from guitarist Brian Bell, the performance wound up a clunky mess that ultimately fell flat.
Weezer, in a nod to their suburban Chicago locale, worked in a snippet of Fall Out Boy's "Uma Thurman" during an encore which began with a reworked version of "El Scorcho" that was heavy on piano before closing with a fine take on "Buddy Holly."
Just as Weezer has been extremely volatile in regards to the quality of their studio output since about 2002, they're live shows now suffer similarly if following up strong sets over the past few years at Riot Fest and Taste of Chicago with Sunday's Tinley Park debacle is any indication.
- Jim Ryan (@RadioJimRyan)
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