Last saturday I witnessed something very special for any Weezer fan with a true blast from the past. Honestly I think it would of been a treat for any Weezer fan, even those who may have grown cynical after Weezer started recording songs like ugh… “Beverly Hills”. How could one show satisfy all walks of Weezer fan? By playing The Blue Album and Pinkerton back to back in their entirety.
Earlier I mentioned Weezer fans that had grown cynical and even I must admit to being one of those few from time to time. I feel like it used to be cool to like Weezer but now I often feel embarrassed to admit to liking them. Maybe it’s because they’ve gone somewhat cheesy or mainstream (collaborations with ‘Lil Wayne and All American Rejects don’t help), or maybe they’ve just been around too long. Anyway you look at it I don’t think there’s any denying that Weezer’s first two albums contain their best work and some of the best alternative rock of the 90s and that’s what made this night so special. In a way it was like cheap travel and probably somewhat nostalgic for some, I was kind of young back then so I can’t really speak of any nostalgia. I don’t have too much to say about the show but I’ll leave a few comments about what I liked and didn’t and everything in between
Opening Act: The Thermals
After waiting in line for a little over a half an hour the doors opened at about 7:10 and at 8:00 the show began. Going in I didn’t even know there was an opening act, at least I couldn’t find any info about it before the show. Despite being around for almost ten years I’d never heard of the The Thermals, suppose that’s why they were still an opening band. This Pop/Punk trio hailing from Portland gave an energetic performance that was fortunately quick to the point. They kind of reminded me of like an indie rock Green Day which was fun, though I will admit to spacing out in the middle of their set. Though they didn’t drag anything out and seemed fairly grateful to be there so I’ll give em a big sweaty thumbs up, good job.
Weezer: The Blue Album
FInally at around nine, Weezer took the stage to a crowd of anxious fans doing the Weezer hand logo and tore right into “My Name is Jonas”. Right away I was glad to see Patrick Wilson playing drums as I know he’s mostly switched to guitar these days and guess what? He played drums for every single song in both sets, awesome? The arrangements of the songs kept fairly close to the album but with a little less keyboard and no acoustic guitar (until “Butterfly” in the second set.) Rivers Cuomo kept to singing the numbers fairly straightforward, only occasionally pointing to the audience of making Brian Bell sing a part just cause. Though what was really strange was Rivers lack of communication with the audience. Usually he seems to be a pretty interactive and energetic performer but this night it was all business. Maybe he just didn’t feel like it, or maybe he did it for the older Weezer fans who hate what Weezer has become and just came to hear the music? Either way it wasn’t a big deal and highlights from the first half of the show were definitely “In the Garage” and “Holiday.”
After finishing a solid rendition of The Blue Album, Weezer left the stage to let long time Weezer archivist/roadie/unofficial fifth member of the band Karl Koch do a slideshow about the early years of Weezer. Karl really made up for the lack of intimacy Rivers had shown towards the audience and gave everyone a few good chuckles. Some of the best parts of the slideshow were early reviews talking about how bad Weezer was, they’re good sports, I enjoyed this segment verily.
Ah, this is what I was really psyched for and I think Pinkerton may have actually overshadowed The Blue Album. Though it definitely doesn’t have the hits that Blue has, on stage it just rocked so hard. The riffs were crunchy the melodies and backup vocals tight and I felt very fortunate to see these songs that don’t see the light of day to often anymore. Really it was all great but my favorite moments were probably; “The Good Life” (My favorite Weezer song), “El Scorcho” and “Why Bother”. The only downer to this whole show was the lack of an encore. I guess twenty songs is a lot but for Weezer to leave the stage after “Butterfly only to come back and play “Blast Off” was very strange. For those who don’t know “Blast Off” was a Weezer rarity that was eventually included on River’s demo solo album and was actually played live for the first time at this show. I felt honored to be a part of that group but it does seem weird to go to a Weezer show without seeing “Island in the Sun” or “Hash Pipe”. This show really was the closest thing to actually traveling back in time.