For Weezer, ‘Everything Was Alright in the End’ at the Bowery Ballroom

Posted on: October 28th, 2014 at 10:45 am by
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There seems to be 4 kinds of Weezer fans out there:

  1. Fans since the early days.
  2. Fans from the early days who dropped off after Pinkerton.
  3. Fans who may have been too young to like Weezer pre-Pinkerton and discovered them via the Internet.
  4. People who love the band’s dozen-plus hits and are shocked to hear that Weezer still makes albums

Presently promoting their ninth studio album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, Weezer is in the midst of what the industry calls an “underplay tour.” The band has headlined and/or co-headlined arenas for more than 10 years, yet they opted to play to far less than a thousand fans at the Bowery Ballroom last night. There was enough flannel and plastic glasses in the room to make it feel like 1994 again…

Weezer’s first set began a little after 9:00 PM with frontman Rivers Cuomo performing a solo acoustic take on “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly,” a B-Side from the mid-nineties. Brian Bell was then introduced, joining Cuomo for a duet. Then Scott Shriner came onstage with an acoustic bass for a song – hand wrapped in a serious cast. And yes, drummer Pat Wilson followed, joining in on the fourth song, making it an acoustic quartet.

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The opening set featured hits like “Buddy Holly” and “Island In The Sun” yet also long-standing favorites like “No One Else” (which fans voted for instead of “Suzanne”) and “The Good Life.” Producer and Cars frontman Ric Ocasek was pointed out by Cuomo mid-set, standing with a big smile in the VIP area. The playing was great (with Bell and Shriner both getting the chance to sing lead), the crowd loudly sang along to even the most obscure of vocal parts (e.g. the “get crazy now” in “El Scorcho”), and the band seemed to be enjoying every moment of this all-too-short acoustic set.

The stage then went dark for about five minutes; an intro video with a loop of television static came on … Weezer proceeded to play their new album from start to finish.

Some of these new tracks are worthy of posterity. “Back To The Shack” is a great first single; riff-heavy and hard rock-influenced much like its older brother “Hash Pipe.” “Cleopatra” is catchy and very reminiscent of The Blue Album. “Da Vinci,” which Cuomo said was likely the next single from EWBAITE, is a lyrically-cheesy but relatable and fun pop-rock song. “Go Away” had guest vocals from Lizzy Plapinger of MS MR, who filled in for Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, and got the sing-song that it deserved in concert.

But 13 songs from the new album in a row? To quote Bowery Boogie co-founder Elie Perler: “No way, brah.” Or least that’s something he probably said in his college days. Often.

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The encore of “Tired Of Sex,” which followed the band’s second set, was a definite crowd-pleaser. An absolute reminder of how unique, energetic, and exciting Weezer can be. But the setlist’s abundance of new material and its lightness on songs from albums three through eight shows a band that is out of touch with its fanbase.

Weezer, you are an excellent band. You have an incredible back catalog. Your fanbase is both sizable and loyal. When you return to a larger New York venue next year, keep doing what you’re doing … but please limit the new material to a handful of selections, and consider playing any/all of the following not-played songs:

“My Name Is Jonas”
“The World Has Turned And Left Me Here”
“Undone (The Sweater Song)”
“Surf Wax America”
“Say It Ain’t So”
“Only In Dreams”
“No Other One”
“Why Bother?”
“Falling For You”
“Across The Sea”
“Pink Triangle”
“I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams”
“Don’t Let Go”
“Hash Pipe”
“Keep Fishin'”
“Dope Nose”
“Perfect Situation”
“We Are All On Drugs”
“Beverly Hills”
“(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”
“Pork And Beans”

Thanks in advance, Rivers.

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-Written by Darren Paltrowitz

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