Date: November 28, 2010
Venue: Gibson Amphitheatre
City: Los Angeles, CA
Photos by Nicolas Bates
Written by Michelle Oberg
The kick off to Weezer's 'Memories' tour was nothing shy of eventful. An audience of die hard fans ditched their tryptophan food comas, from the previous evening's holiday meal, to rendezvous at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The two day sold out show featured the "Blue Album" in its entirety on the first night and Pinkerton the following evening. Crowd goers from varied ages paid homage to their idol, Rivers Cuomo, by wearing his signature thick black rimmed glasses. Weezer did the same and honored their current album cover's muse Jorge Garcia aka Hurley, who made a guest appearance on stage during "(If you're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" and accompanied frontman Rivers Cuomo on vocal duties. 'Memories' is more than a tour and record title - it was what was created on that night of themes, dreams, and everything in between.
A fellow fan noted a stage set-up resembling Seattle's Bumbershoot festival in September 2010, but that conversation was cut short the moment the lights went dim and the screams came roaring. The sky-high drum riser was perfectly designed to withstand the inevitable leaping off onto a trampoline sitting below, taking only two songs into the set to witness. Patrons paid a heftier price to be in general admission up front, but that was rendered useless as Rivers ran through the entire venue giving everyone, including the nosebleeds, a front row view. To start the first half of the set off right, the always appreciated fan favorites were played: "Troublemaker," "Beverly Hills," and "Pork and Beans." "Play the hits," as I always say.
Tossing toilet paper through the crowd during "Photograph," Cuomo grabbed a photographer's camera and snapped pictures of the crowd from the stage. Still following through with the random elements of surprise from both Weezer and the fans, Bethany Cosentino, from Best Coast, joined the artists on stage to duet for "Island in the Sun." The guitar solo was loud and electrifying, toilet paper still flying around randomly, the song came to an end with the mic stand being slammed to the ground. In this moment the fans were at their loudest as they felt connected through Weezer's highly energized stage personas.
Post intermission, pre-"Blue Album," we were treated to a history lesson. Flyers and photo stills from the previous 18 years were displayed on the venue's large screens, narrated by Weezer's longtime friend/roadie/webmaster Karl Koch.
The moment everyone was waiting for had arrived – Cuomo, in "Blue Album" cover attire, commenced the historical album while mosh pits, attempts of jumping through the ceiling (had fans been so lucky to have super human leg strength) and crowd surfing took place. To keep the consistency of emulating the album and era the band was in, Rivers did not wear his glasses and played guitar on every "Blue Album" song, whereas he did not play guitar on the previous 10. Drummer Pat Wilson stayed on his kit for the "Blue Album," but moved to guitar while Josh Freese (NIN, Guns 'n Roses, Devo) stepped in on drums for many other tracks.
The highlighted song of the evening was "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here." Having been 14 years since playing this jam live, it was unbelievable; 'memorable' to say the least. Guitarist Brian Bell aka Sass Master, consistently strums loud and strong, and Cuomo plays his solos beautifully. The ultimate musical triumph stops some dead in their tracks while listening to the battle, or union, of the talking guitars. Nothing satisfies the hunger of the music lover better than hearing conversations through notes, a feat Bell and Cuomo master.
As the evening began its final decent into closure, the stage lit to the color of the album title. The musical stories, reminiscent sounds, and history Weezer enthusiastically presented fulfilled the purpose of their tour's title. A mention of Scott Shriner is necessary to round out the performance. Without the longest running bassist in Weezer history and his contribution to penning songs and providing vocals, even lead vocals on some tracks, they wouldn't be the band the fans know and love. Shriner moved his way around stage left, staring out into the audience, and rocked out hitting those low notes. They certainly brought out all the bells and whistles to ensure an unforgettable performance; it was highly successful and triumphant for the band and non-stop excitement for the fans. If you have never seen Weezer live or been in a room with 6,000+ people singing karaoke, this is a must see. With two more cities left on the tour, that means 4 shows, check out their website www.weezer.com for remaining dates, info, and ticketing.
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