Weezer and Panic! At The Disco's Summer Tour 2016 rolled through Champions Square last night. The SOLD OUT show by all means had an identity crisis of sorts, but in the end, the music prevailed. One could have easily been a bit hesitant to go to a big outdoor event a day after the Orlando shootings, and that would have been perfectly normal. Security, for the most part, was on the same level as other shows I’ve seen at the venue. Once inside, the mood could be measured by the reactions to the music at hand.
The last time Weezer played New Orleans was Voodoo 2010, and Panic played New Orleans last in 2011 at Tipitina’s. Both Weezer and Panic! at the Disco are touring on albums released this year. Weezer, keeping with their color theme, released their White album back in April. And Panic released Death of a Bachelor back in January. For all intents and purposes, this merged co-headlining tour was, and is, a tour celebrating those albums. Panic’s set weighed a bit more on their new release, while Weezer’s set featured their current White album less so than songs from the monstrously popular and earwig-inducing Blue album.
On both sides, the hits garnered the hugest audience responses, but really that was no surprise considering the size of the crowd. Sing-alongs happened all night long and the crowd went completely crazy when Panic launched into Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" from their debut album. They only played one more from it, “Time to Dance.” It would have been great to get some more songs off of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, but it's also completely understandable that, due to certain personnel changes as well as the fact that the new album released this year, it would be highly unlikely to get more tracks than that. Closing in on its fiftieth time being played, “Victorious” made for a great ending to the set. As the last chords echoed throughout the theater, the great mass exodus began.
It really wasn’t that big of a surprise to see the masses leave. The tween crowd needed to get home and the Weezer crowd that stayed around was a bit older. The stage turn lasted a bit long but was well worth the reveal. Each band member had their positions planted in a steel island resort, surrounded by countless video screens. This was my third time seeing Weezer, second for Panic, and by far the biggest production. I guess I’m somewhat jaded by having always seen them in a club setting, so that the open air experience just didn’t add up right away. It took the band about four or five songs to really get into it. I thought by the end of their third song and my favorite, “My Name is Jonas,” that they might start falling into place, but it really wasn’t until the opening chords of “Beverly Hills” that the crowd and the band finally came together. The rollercoaster ride had officially started and six songs later, the band left the stage to come back for a two-song encore, one from Pinkerton, “El Scorcho,” and their anthem “Buddy Holly” to end the evening.
While the crowd did seem rather split, the fans that stayed for both sets got a well-rounded concert. What could have easily been a downer of an evening, all things considered, was a fun-filled time. Never once did I feel in danger or out of place and the staff at Bold Sphere was beyond helpful and accommodating. Now if only we could have done something about that heat and humidity. Such is the life of an outdoor concert in the post-rain summer.
You can see some Voodoo 2010 shots here.