18 January 2013 (gig)
19 January 2013
by Tim Cashmere
It had been about eighteen years since Weezer had last played in Melbourne and they sure as hell weren’t playing to the many thousands of a near-sold-out Myer Music Bowl in the mid-90s, but there is something about The Blue Album that brings people out in droves.
The band hit the stage at 9pm and blasted straight into Memories from the 2010 album Hurley. The band’s power-pop sound of their latter albums whipped the crowd into a frenzy, but it was clear that many people hadn’t listened to the band’s later records. “That song was called Memories!” front man Rivers Cuomo shouted. “We call it that because this is the memory show!”
Before we knew it we were being taken step by step through the band’s back-catalogue. We didn’t hit every album, some albums got two songs, but it was clear that the band’s sound was gradually changing back to the dorky indie pop we all knew and loved. This first set did feel like we were watching the band’s life story in reverse.
The band belted through a bunch of hits, including Pork and Beans, Beverly Hills, Hash Pipe and eventually closed the set with the song everyone who bought tickets to the Blue Album night was secretly disappointed that they might not get to hear, El Scorcho. (The band played Pinkerton the night after). Perfect Situation gained a crowd-singalong, if only for the chorus consisting entirely of the words “Woah ohhhh” repeated.
A twenty minute intermission ensued where a guy who claimed to have been working for the band for twenty years took us through a slideshow of the band’s early years. To be honest, I found this to be the most interesting part of the show. He showed the band’s early houses, studios, vans, girlfriends, gig posters and even said it was (to paraphrase) “ridiculous that people thought we were ripping off The Feelies with our album cover. We had never heard of The Feelies. We were ripping off a Beach Boys cassette.”
So the band had brought us from their recent singles to The Blue Album and this guy brought us from their formation up to The Blue Album. All that was missing was The Blue Album.
The band came back on stage. Cuomo had changed from his suit to jeans and a t-shirt and it was on. My Name Is Jonas, Buddy Holly, The Sweater Song, Say It Ain’t So. The album was there. There was nothing unexpected about the album, no changing of the order. Just the album from start to finish.
I feel like I should bang on about it. I feel like I should talk about how exciting it was and how that album changed my life as a teenager. You know what? I loved The Blue Album as a kid. I didn’t even really know what Happy Days was until I saw the Buddy Holly video, but that doesn’t mean that I feel like I have anything to say about this gig.
It wasn’t horrible, it was just an average band playing a bunch of average songs interspersed with a few moments of guitar-pop genius. In a club it might have been amazing, but an outdoor arena? It was strange.
Whilst watching the band play, I realised that Weezer are just Wheatus with the occasional stroke of songwriting luck. They might have been the seminal 90s power-pop band, but they weren’t the first and they’re not the best.
The full set list for Weezer’s Blue Album show was:
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Pork and Beans
Island In The Sun
My Name Is Jonas
No One Else
The World Has Turned And Left Me Here
Undone – The Sweater Song
Surf Wax America
Say It Ain’t So
In The Garage
Only In Dreams
Photo: Gerry Nicholls