Weezer!

I saw Weezer live in Houston. It was my first time seeing my favorite band live.

by MATT STOKES | OCTOBER 23, 2008

Generally not liking the concerts of my favorite bands that I attend, upon seeing Weezer last Thursday and finding it the greatest concert in the history of man, I was understandably surprised. As such, I will now tell you about it.

It is important to understand that Weezer is by far my favorite band of all time. I have been listening to them since I was 13 years old and singing karaoke to “Say It Ain’t So” in my bedroom. So finally seeing them eight years into my fandom, you can understand my apprehension. Add to that the fact that, having watched virtually every live Weezer clip on YouTube and having consumed the “Weezer: Video Capture Device” DVD, I thought I had a good sense of what they were like as a live band: dull. Not exactly bad, just dull—the performances were stale and the setlists predictable, the band rarely talked, and Rivers Cuomo had the charisma of a box turtle.

But wow, how my expectations were shattered. The whole band was lively, energetic, constantly talking to the crowd and being hilarious throughout, engaging, switching instruments and trading lead vocals, and playing a surprisingly solid setlist. The band came onstage in matching white smocks, and Rivers wore what looked like a white book cover over his face. He actually didn’t sing at all on the first song, “My Name is Jonas” (the drummer, Pat Wilson, and the bassist, Scott Shriner, sang instead), until the last line of the song, when he removed his mask and sang, “Me llamo… Jonás.”I)I had picked the band to open with “My Name is Jonas” for a whole week leading up to the show, UNTIL about 20 minutes before Weezer started, when I cowardly reneged and changed my pick to “Troublemaker.” I just figured, you know, they’re on the “Troublemaker Tour.

The band then knocked me on the floor (metaphorically) by immediately following “Jonas” with… “Pink Triangle”! Can you believe that? Historically one of Weezer’s least-played songs from their 1996 masterpiece Pinkerton, “Pink Triangle” is nonetheless one of their very best songs, as well as being one of my mom’s favorite songs of all time (Even though I still don’t think she knows the name of the song—she still calls it the “Lesbian Song.”). This was a very big deal.

One of the highlights of the show was definitely “Undone (The Sweater Song),” featuring guest vocals by Tom DeLonge from opening band Angels & Airwaves. I was proud of the way Tom remembered all 15 words of the song he was assigned (“I’m me me be goddamn I am I can sing and hear me know me”), then Rivers talked smack about Tom and his shitty band, and everyone had quite a larf. How iconic I would have found this moment, if only it were still 2005 and DeLonge hadn’t completely defecated all over his legacy in his post-Blink career. The bastard.II)I’d write about the Angels & Airwaves performance, but I only have 20 minutes left before class and I’d need about four solid days of typing to completely explain to you how bewildering and confusing that show was. Let’s just say it’s eight days later and I still feel like they’re playing (They’ve just finished their fifth song!).

The big surprise was when Weezer brought out about 30 teenage-and-younger kids from the Houston area to join them onstage for an acoustic mini-set. The kids played guitars, banjos, cellos, tubas, trumpets, trombones, bongos, etc. Together they played “Island in the Sun” and “Beverly Hills.” It’s just something you have to see, but take my word for it: awesome. Especially considering those are just about the two songs I was least-looking forward to seeing.

But I’ll say the biggest surprise was the band bursting into an impromptu cover of Nirvana’s “Sliver,” (Which for some reason I know to be the first Nirvana song Rivers ever heard), which is also my favorite Nirvana song! How quaint! Unfortunately, only about ten people in the whole Reliant Arena seemed to know the song, although by the end they were singing along (Because the end of the song is the line “Grandma take me home” repeated 50,000 times.).

If I had a complaint about the show I guess it would be the band’s lack of material from Pinkerton and a reliance on their big hits. Also, I feel they played “Say It Ain’t So” way too early into the night (If it were me, I would always close with this song, but then, they’re not me because they don’t have to blog about their own shows.), and I would have picked a different closer than “Buddy Holly”.. maybe “The Good Life” or “Holiday,” or maybe even “Only in Dreams” (Only in my dreams I guess.). But these are miniscule complaints compared to the laundry list of problems I usually have with my favorite bands. Try seeing Brand New in concert and see if you still like them the next day.

Awards:
Best Performance: “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”
Biggest Surprise Song: “Susanne”, complete with a barbershop quartet intro.
Dullest Performance: “Say It Ain’t So”… their best song, performed very matter-of-factly. It just seems like it should have been much better.
Second-Dullest Performance: “Troublemaker”… I don’t know, it just wasn’t that good.
Dullest Moment of the Evening: The whole set by the first band, Tokyo Police Club. I thought I kind of liked them going into the show but boy do their songs not translate well to the live setting. They seem nice enough people though.
“Holy Shit We’re Never Ever Getting Out of Here” Moment: When Angels & Airwaves launched into “Breathe”, aka, “Long Shitty Love Song No. 3”, the third song of their evening… 25 fucking minutes into their set! Jeez!

So all in all, a great night. My favorite band playing my favorite concert I’ve ever seen, in a great concert venue with ample parking, clean facilities, and nice (albeit smelly) people. Previously, Green Day coming to the UNO-Lakefront Arena in 2001 was my benchmark for a great show. Almost eight years later, I finally eclipsed that show.

The Set List:
“My Name is Jonas”
“Pink Triangle”
“Perfect Situation”
“Say It Ain’t So”
“Susanne”
“Keep Fishin'”
“King”
“Undone (The Sweater Song”)
“Pork and Beans”
“Dope Nose”
“Troublemaker”
“Automatic”
“Hash Pipe”
“El Scorcho”
“Time” (Pink Floyd cover)
“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)”
(encore)
“Island in the Sun”
“Beverly Hills”
(encore)
“Heart Songs”
“Sliver” (Nirvana cover)
“Buddy Holly”

Footnotes

Footnotes
I I had picked the band to open with “My Name is Jonas” for a whole week leading up to the show, UNTIL about 20 minutes before Weezer started, when I cowardly reneged and changed my pick to “Troublemaker.” I just figured, you know, they’re on the “Troublemaker Tour.
II I’d write about the Angels & Airwaves performance, but I only have 20 minutes left before class and I’d need about four solid days of typing to completely explain to you how bewildering and confusing that show was. Let’s just say it’s eight days later and I still feel like they’re playing (They’ve just finished their fifth song!).