CW Mitchell Pavilion(Houston)
September 13, 2005
Used to be a Weezer concert didn't contain anything from 1996's "Pinkerton." The rumor is that lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Rivers Cuomo was either embarassed by their personal nature or too emotionally attached to them. On Tuesday night at CW Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands outside Houston, TX, Weezer played nothing off of 2002's "Maladroit." That's no surprise, though. "Maladroit" was a return to the earnest, biting, and critical lyrics found on "Pinkerton." If Cuomo really has a problem singing the revelatory stuff, he would have done just what he did. Too bad. "Maladroit" is a great album, even though most reviews give it a thumbs down.
Since "Pinkerton" was the least played album next to "Maladroit" on Tuesday night, it seems Cuomo still has some qualms about it. During "El Scorcho," Cuomo left the guitar duties to Brian Bell so he could hunch over his mic and stalk around the stage with no direction. A Green Day reference made "El Scorcho" dated while the band was off the radar, but now the mention makes sense again since the band has become MTV darlings. Bell, who also worked the synthesizer, took the lead vocal for "Why Bother," one of the many pop rock masterpieces on "Pinkerton." Bell's got a decent voice. No wonder Weezer harmonies can be so Beach Boy-like.
The band walked onstage to Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star," which went with their "Male Believe" album and tour concept. The people weren't ready to rock, though. Opener Mae, who I didn't see, apparently didn't lubricate the crowd. They applauded the first song, "Don't Let Go," but judging by the amount of people still in their seats, they didn't enjoy it. The band wasn't giving off a fun vibe, either. Seemed like it was another night of business at that point. The band and the crowd didn't invest themselves equally until seven songs in, when "El Scorcho" was followed by "Say It Ain't So." The audience lit up. They exploded in applause and cheers when they heard the first notes, and a sing-along followed.
Next up was "We Are All on Drugs," the band's new single and one of the night's highlights. It's such a sad and funny send-up of the rock star-drug relationship. The only hint that maybe they were coming at you sideways were the "wooo's" that ended each chorus.
"Photograph" was the set closer. Drummer Pat Wilson sang and took guitar duties while Cuomo got behind the drums. It was only after I saw Dave Grohl on the drums and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins singing and playing guitar later in the night that I thought Weezer was showing they could do the drummer/singer switch-up, as well. Cuomo did well enough, and Wilson had his rock god moment when he shredded at the end of the song. As Wilson was going Van Halen, the rest of the band was huddled around the drumkit, pounding away on anything and everything. This was the climax of the concert. The band and the crowd was having fun. Cuomo even smiled.
Cuomo started the encore by playing an acoustic version of "Island in the Sun" to the side of the stage. Since there was little light onstage and the song was deprived of its electric, shiny umph, Cuomo was able to make it somber and serious. The light came back literally and figuratively when the band invied an audience member named Joey to play acoustic guitar on "Undone(The Sweater Song)." The teenager did pretty well, considering the pressure. The band didn't turn him down in the mix, and as a result, gave him a moment in the sun.
The crowd was primed for some no frills, nasty rock. They got it in "Hash Pipe." Weezer closed the show with "Surf Wax America," an up-tempo, lighthearted song from their first album. The song is about the joy of not having a real job. Thanks to Cuomo's consistantly exceptional songwriting, Weezer will probably never have to get one.
My Name is Jonas
In the Garage
Say in Ain't So
Surf Wax America
Don't Let Go
Island in the Sun
This is Such a Pity
We are All on Drugs