Weezer, Everything to Everybody
Recently I listened to an unknown satellite station in a bar, where I heard an entire Weezer concert set from their current tour. It made me think I should check out this year’s Spring tour with the Pixies. During their March 20th performance in Columbus, Weezer played music picked from their entire discography. There were a few LPs omitted, that I have only recently gone back to find I really enjoy, but you can’t please everyone all of the time. There are so many songs that I love by Weezer, it is naive of me to believe they could play a show of just my favorites. I don’t think they have that much time to perform. They would have to continue playing even while the workers are going home.
I’m one of those fans who enjoys Pinkerton the most — The 34 minute record that took 20 years to go platinum. In 2001, I had to drive to the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee to see that era of Weezer music performed live. There, they played songs from their first two releases, some touching b-sides, and a few songs set to release on their upcoming Green album. This was part of the Yahoo! Outloud tour (Also coined as the corporate sellout tour) where I was also introduced to opening acts The Get Up Kids, and Ozma. Rivers Cuomo didn’t say a word. No one introduced the band members. No one said, “Hi, we’re Weezer.” They played their songs, and I loved them for it. I’ve seen them several times now with narrowly a word spoken from Rivers Cuomo. Since their first hit, he has been uneasy with their success. He pushed through this tour to be more lively and engaging. You wouldn’t know it by the frequency in which he tweets, but Rivers is a laconic performer.
20 years ago, they were my favorite band. Since then, they’ve added Scott Shriner to their line up, evolved from Geek to Pop, and made a lot of new fans across generations. I went from liking every song on their album to just a few songs with each new release. It’s not that Weezer is focusing on a certain demographic to boost sales. My generation buys the most music and goes to the most concerts (According to a casual Google search I did 15 minutes ago). This is just the direction Weezer has decided to go as they mature.
In the lyrics to Eulogy for a Rock Band (2014), Weezer commemorates the impact a rock band has had, (or in my eyes, rock music has had). They are celebrated without mention of hope for a future successor, or why their time has come to an end. Hip-hop has surpassed rock to become the most popular music genre (John Lynch, Business Insider, Jan. 2018 https://www.businessinsider.com/hip-hop-passes-rock-most-popular-music-genre-nielsen-2018-1). There’s not as many influencers and options from the rock genre performing any more. Weezer is one of the few keeping it alive for the masses, and they can take it in any direction they see fit.
Yes, I am complaining. And yes, there’s still rock out there for me to listen to. My challenge is that I have had to resentfully change my taste in music, so I don’t spend the remainder of my life only listening to music from my salad days. Like a parent sending their child off to college, I wasn’t ready for the sudden change of noise in my house. Rock isn’t gone for good, it’s just not around all that much. I thought I had more time. And now I take what I can get.
Weezer mainly performed their hits, marbled with their covers of other people’s hits, from their new Teal album. They started their set dressed as a barbershop quartet singing an a cappella version of Buddy Holly, set to a backdrop of a 50’s diner. Later, they hosted sing-a-long ballads, and flame-throwing pyrotechnics. Their performance was an informal acknowledgment of the history of rock, not just Weezer, and I loved them for it. Weezer attempted to be everything to everyone, and it worked! They even reassured an old man like myself, Everything will be alright in the end.