Weezer — Blossom Music Center Cleveland, OH

Photos & words courtesy of Harry Acosta — Website | Instagram | Facebook

Weezer’s Indie Rock Road Trip Tour highlights the impact the band has had on rock music through the years at Cleveland’s Blossom Music Center.

In 2019, Weezer toured the U.S. with the Pixies creating an aural retrospective of rock music. Their performance started as a barbershop quartet and ended the night as stadium fillers with pyrotechnics and intense guitar riffs. Now in 2023, the band’s performance chronicles the impact they have had on rock music.

In May 1994, Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Matt Sharp released their first album. Since the addition of Scott Shriner replacing then-bassist Mikey Welsh, the lineup has stayed the same since 2001. Despite a three-year hiatus ending in 2000, they have released more than 15 albums and 40 music videos. They are not pioneers of rock music, but they are still holding the torch for others who may come next. This tour was a celebration of Weezer and the fun they have had while influencing rock music over the last 29 years.

They spent an hour-and-a-half performing 24 of their biggest songs, Rivers’ solo work, a few new songs, and a couple of gems many would not expect to see performed live. The stage was an oversized dashboard complete with a Weezer-branded steering wheel, windshield for the trip ahead, and potentially the most important piece, the analog radio/tape deck and neon dials. Through the windshield, the audience could see the journey Weezer had taken them on over the years as the landscape changed with each song. They took fans not through the meaning of songs as much as the effect the music has had on the radio dial.

They shared some seemingly inside jokes in the screen’s illustrations, and one Rivers made on his Twitter page about being admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They collaborated on “Blast Off,” a Rivers’ solo release. With female vocal help from the opening band Momma, they were also able to perform “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams,” originally recorded with Rachel Haden.

“How’s Weezer doing?” asked Rivers Cuomo after they finished “Undone – The Sweater Song.” He did all of the talking for the band. As he usually does, he started with little to say. Halfway through the night, before his solo performance and tour debut of “I Want a Dog,” he opened up about what the song meant and how it came to be. Ultimately, he wanted a dog but signed contracts and started touring as Weezer’s vocalist and songwriter in the 90s. He has come a long way to being comfortable in the spotlight. On their Milwaukee stop for the 2001 Yahoo! Outloud Tour (coined the Corporate Sell-Out Tour) Rivers had absolutely nothing to say on stage. “Okay, come back, Weezer,” Rivers called out for the rest of the band to return, ending his solo performance. Drummer Patrick Wilson still got a few more minutes of rest as they performed acoustic renditions of “Susanne,” and half of “Only in Dreams.”

The windshield stage continually changed with each song, but there were also a few changes on stage. “Hash Pipe” had the stage filled with fog to give the illusion that someone was now smoking inside the car. Rivers also donned the cowboy hat from the cover of the Red album during, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.” Guitarist Brian Bell and Rivers also wore Weezer merch during the final song of the night, “Buddy Holly” which also had some interesting animation of people dancing through the windshield.

Time is a reflection of change. The Indie Rock Road Trip Tour is a reflection of Weezer’s 29 years on stage together. They have helped carve the path that led rock music to this point. Where it goes from here, they will likely still have their hands in shaping.

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Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. He is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.

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