Review by Mary Ritch, Photos by Jenna Hughes
Weezer has gotten a lot of flack over the last 15 years for producing albums not as good as their first three. In fact, some fans even tried to pay them millions to break-up. But, like all bands who thrived in the 1990’s, it’s hard to stay relevant through the boom in “you know you lived in the 90s if” quizzes on websites like Buzzfeed.
For many, Weezer got them through those rough adolescence years. Rivers Cuomo and the gang know this while surprisingly staying in the spotlight over the years with promise that with each year their material would be different. Fortunately, the band’s latest effort, Everything Will Be Alright in The End (EWBAITE), is up to Weezer par. There are no collaborations with Lil Wayne (Weezy) and more importantly, there are glimpses of the old Weezer those who take those Buzzfeed quizzes will certainly enjoy. That said, like everything in life when it ages, there is also a lot of welcome change on EWBAITE to ensure that Cuomo isn’t bored, senile or going through a mid-life crisis.
Those in attendance witnessed this change at the sold out show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 6. The band did not have an opener. Instead, Cuomo came out in a very pricey looking blue cardigan and acoustic guitar and greeted the crowd awkwardly with the lights on and the rest of the band followed. With the lights on the entire time in front of a black curtain, Weezer played an incredibly fun stripped down acoustic set of their old hits. These hits included, “Buddy Holly,” “El Scorcho,” “Island in the Sun,” “The Good Life” and others that got the crowd singing along. This was the only time the audience in its entirety knew the words to the songs being played for them.
After the acoustic set, Cuomo and the band changed out of their cardigans into costumes similar to the ones worn in the music video for “Back to the Shack” and revealed the EWBAITE album logo on a giant tapestry was behind the black curtain the whole time. After the introduction, the band then thanked Radio 105.7 for sponsoring the show and allowing them to play their new album in its entirety for a sold out crowd which was the only time Cuomo interacted with the crowd.
For what the band lacked in crowd communication, they made up for in guitar shredding, balloons and confetti cannons. Considering the fact that many in the crowd didn’t do their homework and listen to the new album, the band incorporated televisions with lyrics of new songs so the crowd could sing along which was nice.
Although, it was a slight disappointment not to hear any of the Weezer hits from the 90s during their second set, not even during the finale (with the exception of playing “Surf Wax America” as the encore), the performance was refreshing and fun. It is apparent 42-year old Cuomo still has it in him to shell out a hit and deliver with that same energy he had 20 years ago. The band should stick with this creative path because they have finally triumphed with this album. Other highlights include the live renditions of “Cleopatra” (which had a Pinkerton feel to it), “Lonely Girl”, “The British are Coming” and “Da Vinci.”