Dinosaur Jr. have been with me for quite some time now. When I was significantly younger and way more into indie-rock and grunge music, I used to listen to them all the time. Green Mind was the first Dinosaur Jr. record I ever bought and I'd still count it as one of my favorites among their whole output of albums. Since back then, they have released a considerable amount of other records and have gone through some line-up changes and phases of inactivity. Since 2005 they are back to the original line-up, featuring J Mascis on guitar and vocals, Murph on drums and Lou Barlow on bass. Every present Dinosaur Jr. member has a history in other well-known indie-rock bands besides Dinoaur Jr. Murph used to play for the Lemonheads and Lou Barlow, besides his great solo records (note to self: listen to Emoh later on), founded Sebadoh. J Mascis mostly kept doing what he always did, recording Dinosaur Jr. records and also releasing some solo material that was musically not really that different from many Dinosaur Jr. albums.
So considering the whole wave of reunion bands today, Dinosaur Jr. sort of have a special place. For me they never really went away. I became more and more interested in music that wasn't exactly indie-rock, so I also didn't pay that much attention towards that kind of music anymore.
When Dinosaur Jr. released Beyond in 2007, their first record after officially getting back together again, I was curious and gave it a try. And somehow it worked again. It proved again what I always liked about Dinosaur Jr: The combination of almost cliché rock music parts - fuzzy distortions, endless guitar solos, heavy bass and drums - with delicate melodies that kept the music interesting and gave it a huge pop music appeal. Dinosaur Jr. have never gone after grand rock gestures, they have rather always been the "nerdy guys" playing quirky music for other "nerdy people".
From this point of view, Dinosaur Jr. were really good yesterday. They managed to make me remember songs and records that I used to listen to a long while ago and they did so by just being the band they have always been. Refreshingly unpretentious and without much ado they just played their music.
When they started to play, it seemingly took them (and also me) some while to get into it, but after a couple of songs the sound became great and they appeared to become more and more comfortable. The setlist contained a nice mixture of songs from different records and periods, which I found pretty good.
Yet, I have to say that at some point I got a bit bored. There were just too many songs that were like fillers to me and that's a problem I have with many Dinosaur Jr. records. There are always a couple of amazing tracks on them but the rest doesn't really stick out. Also, I got reminded again of why I'm not really into "rock" music anymore, there's just little variation and the energy they transported during about the first half of the set gradually got lost more and more. I don't want to say this was a bad show, I just think that after a while I had seen and heard enough.
All in all they played about 90 minutes and finished with two encores (one of them being their classic cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven, which I didn't even recognize at first) and the last song finally erupting in an endless wall of fuzzy feedback.
Dinosaur Jr. delivered what I expected they would and although this probably wasn't the show of the year I was glad to have finally seen them. When I got home, I listened to Green Mind again and it still works.