Weezer deliver show filled with memories to last

A review of Weezer at the Orpheum Theatre on December 15, 2010

, Managing Editor

Weezer have released twice as much material in the last five years than they did in their first ten, including two albums and re-issues this year, and a new album rumored for next year. Still, despite all this new creative output, the band stopped in Boston this week for two shows at the Orpheum Theatre that was a celebration of the past.

Boston was one of the few cities graced with two stops from the group on their current “Memories” tour, meaning fans were treated to full performances of both self-titled debut album (better known as “The Blue Album”) on Tuesday and Pinkerton on Wednesday. The argument could go on forever regarding which is the superior album, but it’s hard to argue that the Pinkerton show was a little more special considering the fact the it’s songs have been omitted from their set lists for years.

So, just a few miles from where a socially awkward 20-something used to hide out in his Harvard dormroom and write songs, Boston got to see just how much that timid young musical mastermind has blossomed some 15 years later. Rivers Cuomo has gone through quite the transformation in his years with Weezer; from social outcast to the life of the party. The party on Wednesday began with their only new song to make the set, which appropriately was “Memories” off their latest album, Hurley.

The first half of the show was like a Weezer time machine as they traced back the years of their career from song to song. Although they haven’t received quite the acclaim for their recent work as they did years ago, Cuomo and co. proved they still have a touch for writing nerd rock anthems the way fans belted out songs like “Pork and Beans” and “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”.

The nostalgia really began as Weezer started to reach back to their more “classic” period, as bassist Scott Shriner took the vocals on Maladroit’s “Dope Nose” while Cuomo made one of his many visits to the fans in the orchestra section. Cuomo began the “Green Album” sample with a solo version of “Island In The Sun”, hunched over the front row after choosing a fan to be his “human mic stand”, with the rest of the Weez returning midway through. After a rambunctious “Hash Pipe”, they even threw in a few B-sides, including the fan-favorite “Susanne”, which Cuomo added to the nostalgia by singing the original line “even Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose” rather than “Izzy, Slash, and Axl Rose” (It was changed after Cobain committed suicide).

The first set finished with the song that closed the night before in thrilling, extended fashion, The Blue Album’s “Only In Dreams”. As the song began, Cuomo raced towards the stage after climbing around in the middle of the orchestra seating during “Susanne”, saying, “Wait, I need a guitar for this one!”.  After Cuomo and drummer/guitarist Pat Wilson traded riffs for some four minutes to end the song the band took a much deserved break during which longtime videographer Karl Koch shared a slideshow of some great moments in Weezer history, including their first flyer, times with friends like departed fan club founders Mykel and Carli, and a touching picture of Rivers and Brian Bell jamming with a fan from the “Make A Wish” foundation.

When Weezer returned they were like a whole new band,  refraining from the fun & games and acting all business as they tore through the cult classic Pinkerton. From speaking to any Weezer fan its clear how much Pinkerton means to them, and with the way the band performed it one could tell the profound effect it has on them as well. It was a dark time for Weezer when they recorded the work in the mid 90’s, and the product was a beautifully emotional album. The antics of the first set had no place during its performance and that was just fine- all anybody wanted to do, Weezer included, was just soak it all in.

Cuomo’s appearance during “Falling For You”, was a fitting metaphor of Pinkerton’s performance. With his empty pockets hanging out of his pants, as if to say, “This is it, we gave it all” before the tender “Butterfly” closed the show in a powerfully serene fashion.

Nevermind the nostalgia, “Memories” is a perfect name for this tour because Weezer put on a show that their fans won’t soon forget.

2 Comments

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