Friday, September 26, 2008


"We're the coolest band ever. Yeah, I said it," declared Rivers Cuomo, the lead guitarist and singer for Weezer, during the opening show for their U.S. Tour in Lowell, Mass. on Tuesday night. Weezer has been one of my favorite bands for years, as far back as elementary school, and at least two of their albums would rank in my personal top ten. This was the second time I've seen the group in concert, the first was back in 2005 when they played with the Foo Fighters and were promoting their fifth studio album, Make Believe. This tour could potentially be their last, since the band split up after the tour in 2005 and then rejoined to make a sixth album early last year. The newest addition to the Weezer discography, Weezer (The Red Album), is the focus of their tour and is something I blogged about months ago because it is clearly their best album since the mid 90's and far surpasses anything they've produced in years.

So, when a generous friend allowed me to borrow a car, I drove to St. Anselm College to pick up my friend from home and then we made our way down to Lowell for the show. The place was completely sold out and it was pretty exciting to be seeing a band that I've admired for most of my music-listening life. It's usually pretty special when you get to see a band perform where you know almost every word to every song they play, and this was no exception.

Angels and Airwaves was the opening band and they were surprisingly better than I'd hoped. I knew of them because Tom DeLonge, former blink-182 guitarist and singer, is their frontman. After listening to some of their music when it first came out, I wasn't exactly enthralled. As much as I loved Tom in blink, he wasn't nearly the same and wasn't producing the same kind of music in Angels and Airwaves. So, I didn't expect much. But, some of their songs were more enjoyable live than on the album so it was a pretty solid opening for the amazing band to come.

When Weezer took the stage, the packed house erupted. Everybody went nuts. The classic band didn't do anything flashy or technically advanced when they walked on stage (like I've seen many newer bands try to do) but instead calmly walked to the center, looked up at the crowd, and started strumming the chords to one of their old favorites, "Dope Nose." They played for almost two hours! and had the crowd completely in the palm of their hand from start to finish. Here's the set list:
  • Dope Nose
  • Hashpipe
  • Dreamin'
  • Undone (The Sweater Song)
  • Automatic
  • Say It Ain't So
  • Suzanne
  • Troublemaker
  • King
  • My Name Is Jonas
  • Pink Triangle
  • Pork and Beans
  • Keep Fishin'
  • Perfect Situation
  • El Scorcho
  • The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)
  • Cover of "Morning Glory" originally by Oasis
  • Island in the Sun
  • Beverly Hills
  • Cover of "Sliver" originally by Nirvana
  • Buddy Holly
To sum up these 21 songs, I would say that they played everything I would have wanted them to. The only thing they could have played to make it better was "The Good Life" from their second album, Pinkerton, because it is one of my all-time favorites but since they played many of my other favorites (El Scorcho, Perfect Situation, Say It Ain't So, and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived), I was blown away. I will say it was disappointing to hear them play two covers because they have such a wide variety of their own songs to perform, but as musicians I'm sure it's fun for them to experiment with things they don't usually play. And, as you can see above, Tom DeLonge came on stage to sing along with the band as they played "Undone (The Sweater Song)" off of their first record, Weezer (The Blue Album). Tom sang the first verse and when he finished, Rivers chimed in with "That was pretty mind if I give it a try?" and jumped right into the next verse. So, the show not only succeeded as a fantastic musical experience but as a general entertaining performance as well.

I know I will be listening to Weezer and singing their praises for many years to come; they've had too much of an influence on me to have it any other way. It was awesome to see them again and I hope that someday, they will be as appreciated in the modern rock world as they are by their loyal fans. I'll be back later this weekend with the recap of the Michigan game...have a good one!

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