Weezer gains momentum at State Fair show

Weezer performed for fans at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum Sunday night during the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix. (Photo by Vince Dywer)

After 20 years of providing alternative rock goodness to passionate rockers, Weezer gathered its musical brilliance and proved to Arizona that age is merely a number. An ample amount of Arizona State Fair attendees streamed into the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum Sunday to watch the band for a meager $10 fee.

The setup of the concert was relatively modest and simple. Purple, blue and yellow lights flickered on the four band members and a large “W” hung behind the drum set.  People who were not located near the stage were presented with a large screen that gave close views.

Raucous screams bounced off of the walls when Weezer assumed position on the stage. Front man Rivers Cuomo was suited in a vest, skinny jeans and thick black glasses.

A lovely bass graciously thrummed through concertgoers’ chests throughout the concert. However, Weezer was surprisingly disappointing for the first few songs. The songs still retained their catchy beats and unique lyrics, but there was an agonizing lack of stage presence.

Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell and drummer Patrick Wilson played their instruments lifelessly, putting the wonderful songs to shame. Only bassist Scott Shriner was able to infuse life into his part by nodding his head and dancing with his bass guitar. It was disappointing that the audience was more energetic than the performers.

The momentum finally began to kick in during the fourth song into the set, “Memories.” The song came from Weezer’s most recent album, “Hurley,” released in 2010. Audience members swayed their bodies and bobbed their heads as Weezer started to portray a livelier attitude.

The ultimate climax was revealed during “Dope Nose.” Cuomo walked into the crowd, crooning into his microphone. He played a mesmerizing guitar solo with a satisfied smirk, acknowledging that it made the crowd swoon.

As the music slowly died down, the band members stared solemnly into the crowd before Cuomo drawled, “Thanks, Arizona. It wouldn’t be the same without you. It would be just the four of us jamming by ourselves.” They swiftly used the change of mood to veer into the tranquil hit, “Island in the Sun.”

Cuomo used the same crowd-pleasing tactic in “Dope Nose” to rile the crowd for “Troublemaker.” He weaved his way further through the audience and ran to the higher seats in the venue. He took the opportunity to high-five fans as he made his way back to the stage. Some fans looked like they were about to faint from the singer’s touch.

The crowd was encouraged to vocally merge into one entity while Weezer played “Perfect Situation.” The joined harmony of the chorus between the band and the fans produced a spine-chilling effect.

Rivers hammed it up in “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.” He donned a cowboy hat for the majority of the song and shrugged it off when he reached a falsetto section. Cuomo’s alteration of talking in some of the verses added charm and a different feel.

Weezer teased the audience by playing another ditty about Phoenix that hinted that the concert was closing. They temporarily glided off the stage, prompting a standing ovation and a steady chant of the band’s name. The crowd went crazy when Weezer returned to perform a few more songs.

Of course, the performance would not be complete with hits such as “Buddy Holly” with a fabulous keyboard emphasis and the wistful “Beverly Hills.” Despite the mass popularity of the two hit songs, “Buddy Holly” and “Beverly Hills” did not garner nearly as much shouting and dancing as some of the lesser-known songs.

In “Memories,” Cuomo took a nostalgic approach and sang, “Memories make me want to go back there, back there.” These lyrics may allude to past favored times, but Weezer’s show confirmed that the alternative-rock band has many more years to create pleasant memories.

 

Reach the reporter at lrogoff@asu.edu