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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Weezer Focuses on the Hits for Its Blossom Show

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 9:08 AM

click to enlarge SCOTT SANDBERG
  • Scott Sandberg
“My fellow Ohioans!” shouted Weezer bassist and Toledo native Scott Shriner to a packed crowd that filled Blossom last night. “That’s my people right here!” It was just one of many great moments during the enthusiastic, hit-filled set the group played.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

Last year, the band put out a new record, Pacific Daydream, but only played one track from it, “Feels Like Summer,” an electro rock attempt at a more modern sound that was infused with falsetto vocals and a Twenty One Pilots-like hip-hop intro. Instead of focusing on new material, the band opted for a set list of fan favorites and smash hits that dated back to the early ‘90s.

Weezer opened with “Buddy Holly,” during which rainbow streamers fell to the ground. Things don’t usually fall from the sky during the first song of a set, but Weezer has always been the enemy of the usual.

“Beverly Hills,” another one of Weezer’s most recognizable sing-alongs followed immediately. Cuomo, in a sweater, a button-down shirt and a tie, stepped to the front of the stage for his first killer guitar solo.

Starting the set with two of the band's catchiest, most radio-friendly songs was no mistake; Weezer was setting the tone for the rest of the show.

The cool thing about the guys in Weezer is that they are realists; they know what their fans want to hear and they know that it is not their new stuff.

The band’s expermintal new album blurs the lines between pop and alternative. It seemed like an alright plan, but the issue is that Weezer is not Imagine Dragons, and they should be held to a higher standard. But they’re also not the Beach Boys, the group that inspired the new album. When Weezer stops trying so hard to be somebody else and stays true to itself, the magic happens, and that’s what happened onstage last night.

“We have a lot to talk about right now,” said drummer Patrick Wilson. “It’s Scott’s birthday and Weezer’s cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’ went straight to the top of the charts.”

Cuomo’s boast was met with deafening cheers from the crowd, but he made fans wait until the closing number to hear the cover.

“Undone (the Sweater Song)” and “Hash Pipe” followed. Every single mouth was moving. It almost made one wonder if Weezer was on this tour simply to prove how many quality hits they have tallied in their career.

“Perfect Situation,” the band’s obligatory loser anthem, ended with another impressive guitar solo from Cuomo, who held the microphone out to the crowd to prompt the chorus of “ohs” at the song’s peak. The interactive moment was followed by a change in backdrop and a change into a jersey for Cuomo.

“As long as we’re back here in the garage,” Cuomo said, pausing for crowd encouragement, “here’s ‘In the Garage.’”

“My Name Is Jonas,” the decisive Weezer fan-favorite for years, also took place in the “garage.”

“Alright children, I’m gonna take you back to the ‘60s now. This is a band called the Turtles,” Cuomo said before bursting into a mash-up of “Happy Together” and Green Day’s “Longview.”

The highlight of the show came next when Cuomo threw on a captain’s hat and jacket, grabbed his acoustic guitar, hopped on a scooter and headed to a small, discrete B-stage with straw umbrellas. There, he played the band’s vacation theme song, “Island in the Sun,” and a cover of A-ha’s “Take On Me,” much to the delight of the fans.

Weezer’s encore included “Say It Ain’t So,” which was predictable but appreciated and “Across the Sea,” which Cuomo dubbed one of the band’s most challenging songs and admitted to typically not playing it live.

The Pixies, on the other hand, didn’t exchange a single unsung word with the crowd. The infamous garage band proved unfit for such a large venue. At several points in the set, it was hard to tell when one song ended and another began. The vocals were drowned out by the instrumentals for most of the performances. The instrumentals were impressive, but that didn’t make up for the imbalance.

The high point of the set came when they played “Here Comes Your Man” because it was catchy and audible and different from the rest of their catalogue. With its catchy chorus and cool acoustic undertones, “Where Is My Mind?” wasn’t far behind.

Ironically, the current ensemble seems to be at its best when there is more focus drawn to the beloved Kim Deal’s replacement, Paz Lenchantin. Lenchantin, has a much better voice than front man Black Francis, and she complemented him perfectly in the band’s songs that were more duet-style.

Openers, the Wombats, a Liverpool three-piece impressed with their upbeat yet simultaneously tragic dance tracks. “Greek Tragedy” is the band’s coolest song lyrically and musically and was the perfect addition to their set.

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