Weezer at Fall Frenzy Last Night

Luke Holwerda
Weezer on stage at Arizona Fall Frenzy.
New York magazine put it best: "There are few things more terrifying to longtime Weezer fans these days than the prospect of a new Weezer album."

That review of the band's latest album -- sarcastically headlined, "Is Hurley Weezer's Best Album Since Make Believe?" -- is thoroughly and enjoyably steeped in the same staunchly "it's no Pinkerton" (those exact words are more or less used, actually) attitude I've adopted since, oh, 2002 or so, when I bought tickets to see The Strokes open for Rivers Cuomo's band at two shows and decided to stick around for the headliner.

Even Sublime's new singer, Rome, made a comment about the phenomenon before his band made way for Weezer on the second night of Arizona Fall Frenzy at Tempe Beach Park.

"I wouldn't mind if they only played Pinkerton songs," he said to a notable un-roar from the crowd. For good measure, Rome then played about 30 seconds of "In The Garage," which isn't technically a Pinkerton song but is, you know, close enough.

Luke Holwerda

Here's the thing, though: Weezer was actually totally fun to watch without the critically-acclaimed, slightly-serious stuff. Sure, last time I saw the band in this condition I was shocked and horrified, suggesting the fans stage an intervention. This time? Meh, it's cool. Maybe it's the lowered expectations; maybe the band is getting better at this sort of thing; maybe the show was just less creepy without the human rickshaw.

It was kinda cool how Rivers Cuomo -- close up he's a tiny and frighteningly frail little man, traits emphasized by his choice of attire, what looked like a pink Members Only jacket and Dockers -- bravely pushed his way to the back of the crowd during "Beverly Hills." He stood on various tables and barriers and other assorted stagey-type stuff and rocked it. A cover of MGMT's "Kids" may have been the best song of the night, and was made only more enjoyable by an interlude where Cuomo put on a blond wig and inserted a verse from "Poker Face."

 I think I might like the shitty new Weezer. They're kinda fun.

Luke Holwerda

The record says Weezer actually played one Pinkerton track, "El Scorcho," but, to be honest, it sorta got lost in there. Who remembers hearing it, let alone pointedly getting noticeably more excited, maybe even singing along a little while swiveling your head to give knowing nods to fellow members of the Cult Of Pinkerton? That certainly feels like something I would (or should) have done, but I did not.

Actually, that old frat-party standard "My Name Is Jonas" and the defiantly populist "Pork and Beans" (actually the band's most successful single ever, if you can believe it) seemed like the highlights of the night.

Sure, I might prefer to see that Blinkerton tour, where the band plays The Blue Album/Pinkerton in their entirety, and because of this concert it's unlikely Phoenix would get a stop on a short version of that tour when it kicks off in a couple months, but this was a nice show nonetheless.

Like ol' J.P. Woodbury I once felt betrayed by the band.

I'm sorta over that now, I guess.

Personal Bias: Evolving; see above.

The Crowd
: Not a lot of teenagers, surprisingly. The crowd was mainly 20-somethings and 30-somethings.

Overheard in the crowd: "It's only 197 days to Coachella -- not that I'm counting or anything."

Random Notebook Dump: Free Mojo froyo in the New Times VIP tent = expectations for Fall Frenzy far exceeded.

Set List: This one appears to be more complete than the one I cobbled together.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar