I’m woefully behind on concert reviews. So I’ll start on the most recent, which just so happens to be probably be the best show that I’ve seen my favorite band perform.
First off, Weezer’s new album is awesome. Like, really awesome. Certainly their best since Maladroit. Potentially their best since Pinkerton. It’s getting awesome reviews. Give it a listen.
About a month ago, the band announced a special mini-tour in which they would play the new album in its entirety. Three east coast dates, three west coast dates, all in small venues. Despite the high ticket prices, every show sold out instantly. Luckily I was able to nab two tickets to the Philly show via the fan club presale.
The Philly show at the Trocodero on Saturday was the first of the mini-tour. The venue was cool – kind of like a smaller 9:30 Club but with two balconies of stadium style seating. I nabbed a spot near the front center along with dozens of Weezer cruise alumni. There wasn’t an opener, which was a bit of a bummer. Given the hardcore fan nature of the audience at these shows, I was hoping that they’d bring along (ideally) Ozma or (more realistically for the east coast shows) Ash. So other than being a little short, the evening was perfect.
Rivers kicked things off with a solo acoustic performance of one of my favorite b-sides “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly.” The crowd sang along so loudly, you knew the night was going to be epic. The opening nine-song set was all acoustic – something I’d never seen from them before. Next Brian Bell joined Rivers on stage for “Why Bother” (they traded verses). Then Scott Shriner joined Rivers and Brian on stage to take lead vocals on “King” – a bonus track from the red album. I’d missed the one show that they’d previously played “King” at (indoor show two on the second Weezer cruise) so I was thrilled to see it live. Scott had a huge cast on his right arm, having cut his pinky finger badly earlier in the week while cooking. What a trooper for still doing the shows! Finally, Pat joined the band on stage for “El Scorcho.” They busted out “The Other Way” for the first time ever live (an underrated song on an underrated album, Make Believe) before launching through “The Good Life,” “Island in the Sun,” “Susanne,” and “Buddy Holly.” Aka the opening set was a perfect mix of rarities and hits and the all-acoustic nature of it made it extra special.
The band disappeared for a few minutes. Daniel Brummell from Ozma and Sanglorians came out on stage dressed as Joe Laffoley (a character from the intricate video promo series that Weezer made for the new album) and set up shop as the fifth musician in the band. Roadies in white lab coats (also a nod to the video promo series) got everything situated. Then the band remerged in their outfits from the “Back to the Shack” video to rock through all of Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Even the songs that I’m just okay with on the album ("The British Are Coming" and "Da Vinci") sounded great live. It’s a very strong guitar record. “Ain’t Got Nobody” is their best opening track since “My Name is Jonas” and it set the mood for the rest of the show. "Eulogy for a Rock Band" and "Lonely Girl" were probably the highlights for me. On “Go Away” Frances Quilan of Hop Along joined Rivers to sing the female vocals. I was hoping that they could get Bethany from Best Coast to join them for the mini-tour (preferably with Best Coast opening) but Frances did a great job filling in. For the choir part of “Foolish Father” the band pre-selected 20 fans to join them on stage. I was tempted to apply, because that would be a random and awesome experience, but I didn’t want to risk missing a chunk of the show.
The band was planning on ending the show on the Futurescope Trilogy (aka guitar heaven) but were eventually peer pressured into an encore of “Surfwax America” after a lengthy break even though the venue had turned on the lights and other music. It was great to see them in such a small venue, playing such a unique setlist, and with such an awesome crowd of fans. It will def. go down as one of my most favorite Weezer shows. Maybe even my favorite.