My first car was a ’92 VW Jetta and I decided to name her Jonas. She was often personified -– after bravely overcoming a heart-attack (the transmission fell out), she died of a broken leg (axle) back around 2004. Nearly every Friday in high-school, my group of 10 to 12 close-knit friends (all guys and one pretty girl named Emily who always brought the pancake griddle) would gather at one of our houses to have breakfast before school – heaps of pancakes, an inevitably smoky house from frying too much bacon (sorry again, mom), hash, dozens of scrambled eggs. Every Friday that we gathered we put on Blue or Pinkerton, usually both, and then walked along the railroad tracks to school. In other Weezer recollections, it was 8 guys packed into a white minivan driving to the Warren Dunes or going to visit the “Concord bitches” -– these are my memories of what was one of my favorite bands for years, growing up in northern Indiana.
This time ‘round, Weezer named their tour “Memories,” playing Blue and Pinkerton in their entirety. I’m sure that everyone who has had a relationship with Weezer over the last 17 years (Blue came out in ’94) has stories and memories similar to mine –- nostalgic and wistful, these memories are vivid for me and remain some of the most fond times of my life. For this, I thank you, Weezer. Feel free to post your memories of Weezer in the comment section –- when you first started listening, where, with whom, what you did, etc.
At the WaMu Theatre, the crowd was decidedly diverse, age-wise. I had “an irrational fear” that it would be a bunch of 17-year old girls shrieking at Rivers. Perhaps the most represented age group was the late-20’s/early 30’s, and this made for some fine company. Quickly, from the intro of “My Name is Jonas” to “Butterfly,” it became a full-fledged sing-along, with frontman Rivers Cuomo directing at times. Rivers, historically nerdy, angsty, and extremely socially awkward seemed more relaxed and at ease than I expected, at times smiling (!) and fist-pumping to parts of songs. Although Rivers refused to play songs from Blue or Pinkerton for several years, he seemed to be enjoying himself.
It was very pleasing to see Weezer stay true to the recorded versions of Blue and Pinkerton -– they rarely strayed, including in the set my favorite quirks of Weezer tracks like the sing-along guitar solo in “Buddy Holly” and the talking at the beginning of “Undone (The Sweater Song).”
An intermission was held between Blue and Pinkerton during which a slide-show was presented of old band photos, narrated by a friend of the band. These photos included the house they had in LA in ’93, the garage that inspired “In the Garage,” old tour posters with artwork by Rivers (mostly stick-figures with oddly shaped noses), recording Blue album at Electric Lady Studios in NYC with Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, and the Rolling Stone article that pinned Pinkerton as the second worst album of the year in 1996. This night lived up to expectations and provided some nice closure on two great albums that defined several years of my youth.
While the night was all about reliving old Weezer, The Thermals warmed up the crowd with a short 30-minute set of upbeat power-chord rock, full of huge, catchy hooks accentuated by frontman Hutch Harris’s straight-forward and unique vocal style. Nonetheless, they knew that the crowd was there for Weezer and kept it short, ending on an energetic note with the opening track of their 2006 album The Body, The Blood, The Machine, “Here’s Your Future.”