Weezer and Pixies rock Wells Fargo Arena

Weezer lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo performs at Wells Fargo Arena on March 28. Weezer performed “Africa” by Toto, “No Scrubs” by TLC, “Take On Me” by A-ha and their own songs “Island In The Sun” and “Beverly Hills.” Weezer performed as part of a co-headlining tour with the Pixies.

Tanner Owens

The Weezer x Pixies Spring 2019 Tour left Wells Fargo Arena drowned in cheers and applause Thursday night.

Basement, a post-rock group hailing from Suffolk, England, kicked off the night with a heavy dose of punk and alternative rock right at 7 p.m. After completing an energetic 30-minute set, the Pixies took the stage and delivered an immense catalog of new songs and greatest hits. Weezer brought the show home though, with their well-choreographed performance.

Weezer, headed by lead singer and guitarist Rivers Cuomo, stole the show at Thursday’s concert, bringing with them a changing set, pyrotechnics, barbershop quartet garbs and a ship mounted on a tricycle.

After the Pixies’ 80-minute set, curtains descended around the stage during the construction of Weezer’s elaborate set. Before commencing the real action, Weezer playfully skipped to the photo pit in barbershop quartet clothing and sung an a cappella version of “Pork and Beans.”

Performing in front of a sports-bar themed backdrop complete with pennants donning the band members’ last names, Weezer took control over the crowd with their 1994 hit “My Name is Jonas.” Once Cuomo had the crowd under Weezer’s spell, it was time to jam.

Weezer’s setlist comprised of all their greatest hits, plus some wonderful covers from their 2018 cover album “Weezer,” which is commonly known to fans as the “Teal Album.” Covers of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, Toto’s “Africa” and “No Scrubs” by TLC all came up during Weezer’s live show, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.

Cuomo and company have been writing and performing music since 1992. Yet, at Thursday’s concert, it seemed as though it was their debut world tour. The band bounded effortlessly onstage and regularly engaged in banter with the crowd of more than 8,000.

At one point during their non-barbershop-quartet version of “Pork and Beans,” an old box television, complete with VHS player, was rolled onto the stage to show the music video for the song. When technical difficulties arose, the band improvised by having one fan pull the video up on their phone.

Cuomo made sure to get the whole audience involved as well, bringing out a wooden dinghy mounted on 3 wheels to tour around to the back of the venue to perform a cover of A-ha’s “Take On Me.”

During and in between songs, Weezer’s backdrop changed three times. Beginning with the sports bar, it quickly changed into an 80’s jam garage adorned with posters of rock icons such as AC/DC, Mötley Crüe and KISS. For the final portion of the show, pyro-boxes were set out to launch flames high into the air to coincide with the band’s music. A multi-colored illuminated sign in the shape of the iconic Weezer “W” hung from the rafters.

Weezer threw so much material at the audience that it made it impossible for the crowd to remain lethargic. Each song yielded a thundering echo from the crowd and drew loud cheers and applause.

The concert marked Weezer’s first trip back to Des Moines since headlining 2015’s 80/35 Music Festival. Needless to say, the band’s extreme stage presence was met with the same energy from their fans.

“I had last seen them back around 2003 when they played Hilton Coliseum,” Jennifer Smith said. “They have the same great energy and passion for the music. It’s great that one of my favorite nineties bands can still take charge of a large venue and rock it out.”

Legendary alternative rock band, Pixies, preceded Weezer, also performing an 80-minute set that featured no audience interaction. The Pixies have always done things their way, regardless of what audiences are accustomed to. Without speaking a word to the audience, Francis wailed through their set, which included global hits such as “Hey,” “Where Is My Mind” and “Gigantic.”

The performance yielded on-and-off responses from the audience. The audience wasn’t particularly receptive to new material but responded immensely to songs from the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle” albums.

The Pixies feature a unique set which changes for every show. No two concerts contain the same setlist, giving each audience in every town a different show to enjoy. There was no room for nonsense during their set, opting to stand mostly in place for most of the show and choosing to have a reserved light show compared to their co-headliner.

“Here Comes Your Man” became an outlier in the Pixies’ set. Pink and blue lights bathed the crowd in the floor seats and brought many fans toward the front to their feet. Bassist Paz Lenchantin did a superb job at filling in the hole that Kim Deal left and brought the Pixies’ set to a close with powerful bass lines and backing vocals for “Gigantic.”

Both headlining bands left their fans with a bow and a wave.