July 8, 2016 Weezer & Panic! At the Disco Bring Fun To Jones Beach, NY 6-30-16 w/ Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Summertime has a few key elements to make it what it is that are undeniable. One, scorching temperatures; two, road trips; three, the beach; and four, good-time tunes. Combining all those elements together is the aptly named Weezer & Panic! at the Disco Summer Tour 2016, which kicked off on June 10th and takes a road trip across the USA through August 6th for an amazing forty-two shows. With all but six of the shows including Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, joining Weezer and Panic! At the Disco, this could be one of the best Alternative Rock summer affairs in years.
So there is sweltering heat, a road trip, and music. What about the beach? Well, that final key to summer came on Thursday, June 30th, when the tour rolled into Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. The flawless setting for a concert, a perfect breeze and clear weather was present as the venue was teeming with people of all ages taking their places for a night that would no doubt go down in a collage of good memories. With daylight still on their side, the concert kicked off as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness took center stage to an enthusiastic applause. Andrew McMahon, performing as a solo act under moniker Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, is renowned for his vocal work with Pop Punk band Something Corporate, and Alternative Rock band Jack’s Mannequin.
Starting Something Corporate with fellow classmates in 1998, they were quickly offered a deal with Drive-Thru Records. After releasing Leaving Through the Window in 2002, Something Corporate had much success, following a hiatus in the summer of 2004, Andrew McMahon and bandmate Bobby “Raw” Anderson teamed up to form Jack’s Mannequin. A hit with fans upon their 2005 debut Everything in Transit, touring sadly was postponed due to McMahon’s diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Catching the illness early, McMahon battled through and keeps his musical dreams alive with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and, most recently, a reunion of Jack’s Mannequin.
Without further ado, the upbeat McMahon approached the stage to say, “Hello Jones Beach, how are we doing? Thank you so much for coming out tonight!” and wasted no time getting the show going with “All Our Lives.” A lyrically profound, but upbeat Indie Pop song, the crowd was bustling and singing along to every word emphatically. Next, “High Drive” pulsed through the amphitheater, eliciting nostalgia for young romance and simpler times in life among the fans in the crowd.
Cutting through the cheers with his own gratitude for the audience, McMahon then spearheaded through Dance Pop tune “Canyon Moon,” cheery and cheeky “Fire Escape,” and Jack Mannequin’s quite popular “Dark Blue.” Thereafter, he offered crowd favorite “Synesthesia,” in which he sang and danced his way into the crowd, before lastly playing “Cecilia and the Satellite,” a song dedicated his daughter Cecilia. Once again overwhelmed by the positive energy, McMahon took a moment to express his thanks to both the audience as well Panic! At the Disco and Weezer. All in all, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ performance was exactly what the fans needed to feel at home and warm up for the rest of the night.
With sunlight fading slowly, everyone anxiously filled their seats as funky music was cued on stage with the projected image of a red hot rod cruising down a highway. They knew what was coming next, it was the one and only Panic! At the Disco. Initially begun as a Blink-182 cover band in 2004, the Las Vegas, Nevada bunch quickly became their own with the mega success of 2005’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Since releasing four more highly touted records, including their most recent, 2016’s Death of a Bachelor, Panic! At the Disco show no signs of slowing down.
In between acts, Nikon Theater experienced a huge fluctuation as the overflowing audience waited patiently with infectious energy. Then, suddenly, the sound barrier was broken by almost deafening applause and cheers which echoed throughout the outside venue as fans rose to greet Panic! At the Disco. Led by founding Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Brendon Urie, the touring lineup of Bassist Dallon Weekes, Guitarist Kenneth Harris, Drummer Dan Pawlovich, Saxophonist Jesse Molloy, Trombonist Erm Navarro, and Trumpetist Chris B took their places to get started.
With no need for introduction past a fleeting but enthusiastic grin, Urie launches right into party hype song “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” Lights blared and bass pounded out as the audience became spellbound by the uniquely baroque Pop/Pop Punk sounds of Panic! At the Disco. Keeping the energy level high, the band headed right into electronic “Vegas Lights” before changing it up to play through the hit Steampunk tingling cut “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and the inspirational, emotionally charged “Hallelujah.” Sparing only a second in between the electric adrenaline being pumped out, looking out into the crowd, Urie said, “Beautiful” with reverence, and continued with, “Time to Dance;” perhaps one of the most well-received songs by the older fans. Then, without warning, the stage became dark and smoky with neon green and blue lights flashing as Urie could be heard crooning out villainous ballad “Emperor’s New Clothes” to the exhilaration of all who could be heard echoing every word.
Taking a moment to address gay rights and positivity on same love, Urie conveyed to the crowd that they can love whoever they want before flowing into “Boys/Girls/Boys.” Sauntering his way across the stage and already shirtless, Urie’s high tenor rang throughout the outdoor theater as the band played on with some of their best hits including retro sounding “Nine in the Afternoon,” “Miss Jackson;” which featured a backflip or two, and a chill rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody;” which had almost everyone’s lit phone screens in lieu of lighters swaying in the breeze. An exlirating live show filled with color and body movement, they also rocked out the double platinum hit “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,”plus the hopeful and uplifting “This is Gospel;” a song dedicated to a dear friend and former bandmate, Spencer Smith, recovering from substance abuse.
Concluding with electric and upbeat “Victorious,” between the backflips, drum duet, incredible high notes, positive Hardcore moment in which Urie used death growls and Metalcore vocals to amuse fans, combined with a genuine love for the craft, this portion of the concert was an utter success. With that said, Panic! At the Disco was on fire per-say, and every single person loving every second.
As Panic! At the Disco exited the stage, the stars were overhead and a gentle breeze made its way through the air, causing a relaxed moment prior to the pandemonium ensuing for Weezer. A stage crew covertly began setting up for Weezer, and it was clear that the performance would have a beach-themed backdrop. Weezer, a band that has nestled themselves in the heart of Rock fans of all backgrounds, are megastars on their own terms. Formed back in 1992, to date, the band has sold over seventeen million albums worldwide, and remain in the limelight with their newest album in 2016, simply titled Weezer, or referred to as The White Album. Having not played Jones Beach in some years, it was long overdue for their return, and Long Islanders were more than ready for the party to rise to new heights of fun.
Soon enough, it was apparent in the dark of the night, when the lights were dimly lit, that Weezer was coming center stage. With that, Vocalist/Guitarist Rivers Cuomo, Drummer Patrick Wilson, Guitarist Brian Bell, along with Bassist Scott Shriner entered the stage in their cool collected manner amidst their beach party theme. Met by an enormous venue filled with equally as enormous applause, the rapture coursing through the airwaves was like lightning as the set began with “California Kids,” followed by fan-favorites “Hash Pipe” and “My Name is Jonas.” Keeping it coming, without any delay, summer romance anthem “(If You’re Wondering) If I Want You To” was followed by “Jacked Up” as beach balls floated aimlessly through crowd-surfing, dancing audience members.
Known for their signature self-aware humor and irony in their songs, often coined as Nerd Rock with a cool gut vibe, this could not be more apparent as they play along in a humble, yet triumphant excited way. Avid supporters of feminism, Weezer jammed out hit song “Pork and Beans” before “Thank God for Girls” featuring Cuomo on light-up guitar that illuminated the entire venue. Speaking of humorous and self-aware, soon came “Beverly Hills” with blaring drums, vocals, keyboard, and guitar work simultaneously to the effects of animated lights and confetti that drowned the audience in feel-good, Weezer family vibes. Sounding off again after a brief moment where Rivers literally leveled with his audience by sitting on the floor to gently strum his guitar and play, Weezer played through a pleasantly surprising medley that was made up of “Dope Nose,” “Back to the Shack,” “Keep Fishin,” “The Good Life,” and fittingly themed “Surf Wax America.”
With the current climate of the world being filled with uncertainty, hate, and prejudice, Weezer also took time to address gay rights, stating that love is love. Received with an out-pour of approval and warmth, it segued magically into the iconic “Undone- the Sweater Song” before newer song “King of the World” and the hauntingly beautiful “Only in Dreams,” a track far from the band’s usual fare, but still just as awesome. Between the Weezer gang symbols vigorously making their appearances and the dance party never coming to a halt, the band topped themselves off with an acoustic version of hit single “Island in the Sun,” in which the beach balls returned to the audience once more. Thanking everyone for all of their support, Cuomo and company were met with more deafening applause as the opening chords to classic and fan-favorite “Say it Ain’t So” blared out.
With the stage going dark following the flash from the past, it was no where near the end by any means as fans chanted in unison, “Weezer! Weezer! Weezer!” before Cuomo resurfaced donning a sombrero. Addressing the audience, he playfully stated, “I think you guys said one more song. Well, we had two, but one is fine.” Amped up for the encore, a brief intermission showcased on the massive screens to each side of the stage what fans on twitter were saying. A unique interactive experience, the band responded with their usual cheeky, but heartfelt demeanor, even offering a shoutout to a fan who would join them for multiple tour dates. Through the roar of approval, Weezer played the always welcomed “El Scorcho.” Initially hesitant to start the song because of a performance the night before where a bug flew straight into his open mouth, all jokes aside, Cuomo led bandmates in, heating up their adoring fans in the relaxed, cool guy way only Weezer is capable of. Then came that one final song everyone requested, saving the best for last with “Buddy Holly” as everyone belted out the words emphatically as Weezer’s stage lights beamed across all their ecstatic faces.
Completely pleasing to each and every fan who came out, Weezer put on one hell of a performance. Complemented by stellar opening sets from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and Panic! at the Disco, this tour could be one of the best summer lineups of the 2016 season. With plenty more to come between now and August 6th, do not be foolish and get out there and see the Weezer & Panic! At the Disco Summer Tour now.Photo credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography