Weezer may not have become as gigantic as other American 90's bands such as Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but they're every bit as important setting a new standard for poppy rock music. Their earliest records 'Blue Album' and 'Pinkerton' married strong emotions, intimate and personal lyrics and raw power with huge, catchy melodies. Thus making for a sound that simultaneously felt like Weezer where singing just for you and for millions. Across the several albums they've released this century, they've never lost their knack for writing memorable songs and tonight in Manchester they play their first show on U.K soil in five years, but was it worth the wait?
Before we can find out though, we have Dinosaur Pile-Up who are an example of Weezer's huge influence on guitar music as they too merge relatable lyrics with feisty, fuzzy guitars. They're solid with dirty riffs and forceful hooks, but there's a feeling people just want to get onto the main event, given who's following.
When Weezer do hit the stage, opening with newie 'California Kids' they get off to a decent start. Even though this song has been out for a few months now it doesn't exactly have the crowd going wild, but it's a cool song with a riff that's both warm and galloping. What does ignite joy amongst people is the following 'My Name Is Jonas' which sees almost everyone amongst these few thousand people singing along to every single word of this classic escapist anthem. The moment the iconic opening jovial guitar noodling is played you can feel a ton of smiles suddenly growing in the room. This tends to be how it goes for the majority of this gig. People singing their hearts out to Weezer's instantly infectious songs as the band have many in their arsenal.
It really is the songs that fuel this show as Weezer don't have much stage presence, not really moving much or interacting with the crowd, which is surprising if you saw them at a festival a few years ago where vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo would run down the barrier and climb billboards and such. That being said it doesn't hinder the enjoyment much as the vibe of this gig is akin to that of people around a campfire, feeling close and united singing along together, only it's thousands of people all singing in unison and being brought together by Weezer's pop-rock masterclass.
It's for sure 'Blue Album' and 'Pinkerton' material people get most amped for. 'El Scorcho' is one of the best awkward love songs ever with cute and timid lines like 'I wish I could get my head out of the sand, cause I think we'd make a good team' which anyone can resonate with. 'The Good Life', an ode to feeling old, ironically has plenty of youthful energy with riffs that charge and squeal. 'Say It Ain't So' which stands out like a sore thumb in Weezer's discography as probably their most miserable song, with themes of abandonment and alcoholism, is still memorable and creates an overwhelmingly positive emotion in people who roar along with it.
Of course it's not just the classic tunes that get people going. Even on Weezer's weakest records there's still at least a few incredible songs, so it seems whatever they play will get people stoked. 'Pork And Beans' is a liberating song with its 'I don't care what anyone thinks about me' message. 'Island In The Sun' is a peaceful and relaxing due to summery guitars, but still has room punchiness in the chorus which the crowd booms.
The new songs from 'White Album' are the only ones that don't seem to be loved and whilst the album did only come out the previous day, even the singles from it don't spark mass sing-alongs like older songs do. However, this is probably just due to them not having sat with fans for as long. Give it a few years or even just a few months and people will be singing along to these tracks just like they do with the older songs.
Weezer close with 'Buddy Holly' making for the biggest sing-along of this gig full of giant sing-alongs. This was one of the defining tracks of the 90's that announced Weezer to the world. It's just killer hook after killer hook whether it be the sweet licks, the 'oo oo''s or the quirky bridge. Everything that makes this song magical makes everyone feel magical one more time tonight.
Weezer played a strong 21 song set tonight, but they could probably play twice as many songs and people wouldn't get bored in the slightest as singing with Weezer and plenty of other people is the kind of fun you never want to end. Cuomo stated that they're going to be back more often, as well as saying 'see you at Leeds, see you at Reading, see you at Glastonbury.' He could've been kidding about playing these festivals, he might not have been, but either way Weezer, please don't take another five years to return to the U.K. We need more shows as great as this one.
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