"It’s going to be one of those nights..." declared WEEZER frontman RIVERS CUOMO, "it’s been 100 years since we’ve been here." A slight exaggeration, but sixteen years after the band's only other Auckland show ever, Weezer finally returned to our shores to entertain an enthusiastic Vector Arena audience.
As the old saying goes, good things take time... and Weezer’s two-part set - as part of their reflective 'Memories' tour - was pretty much perfect.
But before we get to that, note must be made of the two opening acts. As well as a 45 minute set by New Zealand’s own Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kiwi crowds were also treated to a performance by Australia’s Cloud Control.
Nominated for two Aria Awards, the four-piece alternative rock band were a great opening act for Weezer, at times reminiscent of Local Natives. Vocalist Alister Wright and keyboardist Heidi Lenffer had great vocal harmonies and their track ‘There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight’ was one I’ll definitely be listening to again!
And then, it was the moment we had all been waiting for. Weezer. Live. Right in front of our faces.
Introducing themselves as "the artist professionally known as Weezer" the four-piece kicked off a 45 minute ‘greatest hits’ trip down memory lane, beginning with ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’ followed by a special rendition of ‘Pork and Beans’ complete with each band member showcasing their own vocal talents singing a line each from the second verse.
Weezer’s talent and years of practice shone throughout the entire set, with perfect harmonies between Cuomo and guitarist BRIAN BELL, as well as effortless stage presence that was thoroughly entertaining without needing any fancy stage props or extreme lighting set-ups.
Throughout ‘Troublemaker’, Cuomo [fittingly] surprised the audience by jumping off stage and making his way to the back of Vector, pausing to stand on top of the back bar surrounded by fans, stating “I want to party, but I don’t drink... does anyone have some water?” before accepting one fan’s offer of french fries and returning back to the stage high-fiving fans along the way.
“Let’s jump back in a time machine, to 2005..." proclaimed Cuomo, before launching into ‘Perfect Situation’ off their album ‘Make Believe’. The only stage prop of the night made its appearance during this song, the crowd erupting when a Weezer logo emerged at the back of the stage lit up in perfect time with the music.
Moving into the hit single ‘Beverly Hills’, the song received loud cheers and a massive sing-along, as did ‘Dope Nose’, sung by bassist SCOTT SHRINER.
‘Hash Pipe’ earned the first crowdsurfer of the night, and as the band ended their first set with ‘El Scorcho’ and ‘Tired Of Sex’, the crowd on the floor of the arena were in full party mode.
Leaving the stage for a brief intermission, one of the special highlights of the night was ‘Karl’s Corner’ - a slideshow of photos presented by the band's unofficial fifth member, Karl Koch. Documenting the band's early days, including behind-the-scenes moments from early concerts - Rivers Cuomo playing in an unknown Christian rock band, anyone? - and early recording sessions, it provided great insight into the band's early days and was a great reminder of what headspace they were in when writing their debut album and their humble beginnings.
Following the twenty-minute intermission, the band returned on stage - complete with a casual outfit change - for the best part of the night... their debut, and arguably best album, [nicknamed] The Blue Album, in its entirety.
There were no surprises, just no frills pop-rock performed to perfection. All the hits received great applause, ‘My Name Is Jonas’, ‘Buddy Holly’ and ‘Say It Ain’t So’ were personal highlights of mine... there is something special about hearing songs from your childhood being sung loudly by a packed arena of equally excited fans.
Closing their second set with ‘In the Garage’, ‘Holiday’ and the amazingly epic ‘Only In Dreams’, the ‘Memories’ tour was exactly that - a great chance for not only the band to take a reflective journey through their own discography but an opportunity for the audience to take a musical trip through their own lives, reminiscing the moments in life that each song accompanied whilst singing their heart out with one of the legendary bands of our time.
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Pork and Beans
Island In The Sun
Tired Of Sex
My Name Is Jonas
No One Else
The World Has Turned And Left Me Here
Undone - The Sweater Song
Surf Wax America
Say It Ain’t So
In The Garage
Only In Dreams