Dude 1: “Did you hear Slayer is playing the Pearl?” Dude 2: “Slayer? Already seen ’em a bunch of times.” 1: “They’re doing Seasons in the Abyss.” 2: “Whoa, I’m totally there!”
Once a strange novelty reserved for far-off festivals or rock-opera repertoires, the full-album format has emerged as the surprise concert-industry savior of the new millennium. It seems everyone, from The Stooges to Steely Dan, is doing it, and music fans who can’t be persuaded to pay for new discs have bought in big on the chance to hear their old ones performed live.
Friday at the Joint, alt-rockers Weezer upped the ante on the concept, playing their first two LPs—1994’s eponymous Blue Album and 1996’s Pinkerton—straight-through back-to-back for the price of a $40 ticket. It felt perfect: Along with the promise of hearing every deep cut from both discs, we got a guarantee that we wouldn’t have to wade through forgettable later work to get there. Spontaneity? Hell, I’ll sacrifice it any day not to risk hearing “We Are All on Drugs.”
- The Joint, January 21
Of course, if perfection is what you’re really after, stay home and spin the records. The live Blue Album wasn’t flawless: opener “My Name Is Jonas” suffered from tinny sound (which improved as the show progressed), Brian Bell’s keyboard died during “Buddy Holly” and the band false-started “Surf Wax USA” when Bell forgot “Undone—The Sweater Song” came first. None of that mattered to the sold-out crowd. As evidenced by a fan’s winged-W flag high above the floor, this was a night to celebrate early Weezer, warts be damned.
The quartet tightened up in time for scorching takes on “Say It Ain’t So” (featuring a sharp guitar solo by frontman Rivers Cuomo), “In the Garage” and “Holiday,” then carried that momentum into its Pinkerton set—following a fun slide show by “fifth member” Karl Koch. Cuomo changed from a blue T-shirt into a white button-down, symbolic of the musical shift from geeky pop irony to mature (noisy) sincerity. Quite simply, the live Pinkerton rocked. And then, we got something spontaneous: surprise guest Rachel Haden, who revised her lead vocal on early B-side “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams” for an encore.
Cool show. Nothing post-1996. Go Weezer. And hey, did you see Echo and the Bunnymen are doing Crocodiles and Heaven Up There at Red Rock Resort in May?