Weezer is one of those bands that seem to appeal to almost everybody. Their catchy, melodic, light-hearted pop rock, geek vibe, and entertaining music videos have connected with mass audiences since their 1994 multiplatinum debut album. I last saw Weezer in the late ‘90s – at peak popularity – so I was curious how the current day Weezer show would compare.
The concert took place at Gallagher Square, adjacent to Petco Park in downtown San Diego. It’s a great concert location; extremely convenient for concertgoers to enjoy time at local restaurants and pubs, then walk to the show.
I caught the second supporting band on the bill, veteran indie rockers Spoon. Like Weezer, Spoon has been around since the mid-‘90s. I lived in Austin, TX during the time Spoon started gaining popularity in the vibrant local music scene, so now I had a second band to compare their ‘90’s performances to tonight’s show.
I appreciate Spoon’s unpretentious approach. They deliver a traditional rock / alternative / experimental style with tasty, rhythmic grooves often acting as the cornerstone of the song. Impressively, the quintet’s 2022 album “Lucifer on the Sofa” was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2023 Grammys. Co-founder and lead singer guitarist Britt Daniel brings a lot of cynical songwriting and passion to his performance, and the show was polished and impressive.
Spoon is a solid band that I’ll not hesitate to see again. Fans enjoyed “My Mathematical Mind,” “The Way We Get By,” “My Babe,” “The Hardest Cut,” “Inside Out,” “I Turn My Camera On,” and their Cramps cover, “TV Set.”
With Weezer’s showtime upon us, the stage revealed the first look at Weezer’s quirky creativity; a gigantic car dashboard backdrop, complete with Weezer emblem on the steering wheel and dials that lit up. The drums were situated on top of this vintage ‘70s-style dashboard.
The band casually walked on stage with a smiling Rivers Cuomo waving to the cheering crowd. Grabbing his guitar, they kicked off into a great set opener, “My Name is Jonas;” very appropriate since it’s the first song off their first album. Cuomo – the songwriter and heartbeat of the band – was clearly having a blast and looked fresh, despite this show being the finale of a 30-city Indie Rock Roadtrip. Ah – Roadtrip? Now the car dashboard stage set was making more sense!
With the diverse crowd of 20- to 50-somethings still going nuts after the opening number, the band kicked into their sing-along pop hit “Beverly Hills.” Contrasting with Cuomo’s simple jeans, shirt, and nerd glasses ensemble, guitarist Brian Bell proudly donned a loud pink leisure suit as he strutted back and forth across the stage, rocking the riff on “The Good Life.”
The band seemed loose, comfortable, and brought the energy for the packed house. Very entertaining! The stiff, somewhat awkward band I witnessed pre-millennium was certainly a distant memory. The fun, catchy hits kept coming: “Pork and Beans,” “El Scorcho,” “Undone – the Sweater Song,” “Island in the Sun,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Hash Pipe” … wow! How can you not have fun at a Weezer show?
Sandwiched in between all the big hits, Cuomo squeezed in some lesser-known acoustic numbers for an interesting change of pace. The first encore was the fun emo jam celebrating surfing versus going to a “rat race” job – “you take your car to work, I’ll take my board”- “Surf Wax America.”
Of course, the end to a perfect evening was when the 6,000 fans all joined Weezer singing the all-time classic “Buddy Holly” – the song (and memorable video) that started Weezer on the road to rock n’ roll greatness.
It was a great night for both Spoon and Weezer, proving once again that many rock bands who first rose to popularity in the ‘90s can continue to draw big crowds and thrive in today’s music scene.