I love Weezer. Sort of. Well … it’s complicated.
It’s probably more accurate to say I’m in love with the idea of what Weezer could be if, as one Facebook group puts it, they “got their s— together.” The releases of Make Believe and The Red Album have demonstrated Weezer’s contentment with mediocrity and safe radio play. Translation: They’re boring and lack the suppressed introvert-rage many of us loved.
Yet one thing remains constant: If Weezer comes to town, I’m there.
Sporting white jumpsuits at their performance at the E-Center last Tuesday, Oct. 7, the band started their set with the song that started their first CD, “My Name is Jonas.” “Pink Triangle” followed, with the audience engaging in singalong all the while. Pop gems “Perfect Situation,” “Pork and Beans,” “Troublemaker,” and “El Scorcho” were also played. Throughout the set, instruments and vocal duties were sometimes exchanged between band members.
Eventually, the band shed their white jumpsuits, revealing red jogging suits. Tom Delange of Angels and Airwaves, who opened for Weezer, then came onstage and helped sing the fan favorite “Undone — The Sweater Song.” “Dope Nose,” “Hash Pipe” and, surprisingly, the b-side “Susanne” were then performed, and Weezer showed that they can still give an impressive, high-energy performance.
Cuomo seemed to be having a delightful time despite his awkward history. A subtle capriciousness informed his stage presence as Cuomo rallied the crowd, delivering exaggerated guitar solos and sliding across the stage on his knees. At one point, a record player was set onstage, playing the song “Heartsongs” off of the The Red Album. When the lyrics came to a part where Nirvana is cited as being an influence, Cuomo ran onstage and kicked the record player over. The band then proceeded to cover Nirvana’s “Sliver,” much to the delight of many.
Perhaps the most unique part of the whole show was when local musicians were invited to perform onstage. Selected prior to the show, roughly 20 local musicians performed “Island in the Sun” and “Beverly Hills” under the guidance of Cuomo. The instruments ranged from an accordion to an Irish tin whistle, and the musicians hit every note and solo. While somewhat unusual at the onset, this creative gesture by Weezer developed something of a bond between audience and band.
Toward the end of the show, Cuomo walked offstage and appeared no more than a few feet away from me. He held out his hand, as if he was giving something away.
Desperately, I reached for it, until I realized that it was intended for the guy in the wheelchair next to me, who earlier had successfully crowd-surfed in his wheelchair. For these reasons and more, he deserved Cuomo’s guitar pick more than I. Cuomo laughed at me, as I continued to reach and beg for my own Cuomo guitar pick to no avail.
So, although I cannot change Weezer’s musical direction, I can at least enjoy the idea of Weezer. I can enjoy the moments when their greatness again springs to life at a live show. But beyond all this, I was able to get laughed at by Rivers Cuomo. Somehow, in a way I can’t explain, that made the whole experience existentially fulfilling.