Finally, Rivers has cast off the sulky facade to do what he does best – put on an incredible rock show. Madison Square Garden, New York (September 24)
The last time your correspondent saw Weezer back in 2002, they were a let-down of heartbreaking proportions. Rivers Cuomo looked like Grizzly Adams with a guitar, the rest of the band seemed scared/unwilling to do anything they weren’t told to and they started the show with songs that nobody knew. But through his meditation retreats and a comparatively secret family life, a more balanced Cuomo has buried the mardy twat of old to allow the balls-out rock star in him to shine – just in time for the biggest gig of his life.
Playing MSG is what every wannabe-rocker in America dreams of, and the LA quartet rise to the occasion spectacularly by pulling out just about all the arena-rock tricks they can muster – costume changes, two drumkits, a daft jam with competition winners and even a mini-trampoline. What’s more, Weezer are finally happy to mine their fantastic catalogue of alt.rock gems to create a set that only a miserable indie snob could take issue with. Songs such as ‘El Scorcho’, ‘Hash Pipe’ and the ever-gigantic ‘Say It Ain’t So’ still create a communal glee that Cuomo was clearly aiming for when he wrote them.
Their latest effort may have its duff moments, but those too are sidestepped in favour of ‘The Red Album’’s standouts – ‘Troublemaker’ and, of course, ‘Pork And Beans’, which even has the venue’s security team singing along. When Weezer start running out of anthems of their own, they knock out versions of Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’ and a take on Nirvana’s ‘Sliver’ that triggers a mini-onslaught of crowdsurfers who remember Kurt’s knack for a tune as fondly as Cuomo does. Don’t get too excited because, by all accounts, Weezer are unlikely to bring this spectacle to British shores anytime soon:they haven’t completely let go of their awkward streak just yet. But NME gives a Scout’s honour promise that, when they do come to your town, the only heartbroken people this time around will be those that didn’t get a ticket.