Weezer’s Double Header Slot Feels Like Support At The O2

With LA-hailing rockers Weezer seemingly misstepping with a planned (ans subsequently aborted) 2022 Broadway run in New York and joining the triple-header bill for the Green Day-fronted Hella Mega Tour alongside EMO outfit Fall Out Boy across 2021 and 2022, the Rivers Cuomo-fronted quartet have perhaps struggled to put on the kinds of shows that draw the tens of thousands. And so for their latest tour, they’ve once again joined forces with another rock headliner, albeit an odder matching than those previous shared stages. No one really saw a double-header from the somewhat comedy rock outfit of Weezer joining forces with the goth-hailing Chicago rockers The Smashing Pumpkins, but it’s safe to say that both of these bands, that rose in the post-grunge rock scene of the late 1990s can hold their own.

Weezer @ The O2

Weezer @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)
Weezer @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)

Tonight’s set at London’s packed The O2 leans heavily on Weezer’s now 30-year-old 1994 self-titled Blue Album debut, kicking off with their very first single My Name Is Jonas, but the troupe go on to touch on nine of their fifteen studio LPs, the records famously flipping between a self-titled album name with a different cover colour, and a named record. Dry comedy rock tune Beverly Hills follows: “My automobile is a piece of crap, my fashion sense is a little wack” Cuomo sings. But it’s hard not to get sucked in, even if the bespectacled frontman stands squarely behind his mic, guitar in hand. “I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans” he croons on another Red Album cut.

Coming in from left-field is a truly astonishing cover of the Courtney Love-fronted Hole’s 1998 chart-topping hit Celebrity Skin – Hole and Smashing Pumpkins famously sharing bass player Mellisa Auf ser Maur after she hopped the sinking Hole ship over to D’arcy Wretzky’s vacant spot over in the Pumpkins camp. But even with classic Green Album cuts such as Island in the Sun and Hash Pipe brining some energy into the largely full O2 Arena, Weezer’s set seems a little lacklustre. I overhear a gig-goer on the phone to someone on my way into the arena “the support band are on, I’ll go in in a bit”, clearly not in any hurry to catch the set. There is nothing tonight, for instance, from the band’s more recent LPs such as their truly fantastic 2016 White Album even if we do get an airing of 2021 single All My Favorite Songs and SZNZ:Autumn EP cut Run, Raven, Run.

The set is closed out with biggest hit, Blue Album cut Buddy Holly, a tune which is always met with such tremendous adoration that it lifts the filling 20,000-capacity venue to their feet. “Ooh-wee-hoo, I look just like Buddy Holly, oh-oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore” we sing at the top of our lungs. And they’re gone. Having caught Weezer live before on numerous occasions, I can’t help but feel both the band and their fans have been delivered a huge disservice tonight and only implore the group’s management to find a way to bring them back in a headlining capacity, particularly if they can play to smaller rooms at circa 5,000 capacity.

Weezer played:

My Name Is Jonas
Beverly Hills
Dope Nose
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Pork and Beans
All My Favorite Songs
Pink Triangle
Island in the Sun
Perfect Situation
The Good Life
Celebrity Skin
Burndt Jamb
In the Garage
Say It Ain’t So
Run, Raven, Run
Hash Pipe
Only in Dreams
Surf Wax America
Buddy Holly

Words & photography of Weezer at The O2, London on 8th June 2024 by Kalpesh Patel.

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