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Weezer Works Blue (Album)

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 10, 2011 6:00PM

Weezer closed out the Riot Fest festivities at The Congress last night with two sets; one focused on a mixture of hits and a second comprised of a run through of the band's classic debut, The Blue Album. The show opened with a dedication to one of the band's previous bassists Mikey Welsh, who passed away in Chicago the day before (and who, we're told, was originally supposed to join the band onstage). As sad as that opening sentiment was, the band soldiered on to play a hugely rewarding set.

For the first half of the show the band presented a two to three pronged guitar attack with the fur main members of Weezer -- Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell and Scott Shriner -- augmented by drummer Josh Freese. The quintet tore through recent hits like "Troublemaker," underrated gems like "Perfect Situation," old favorites like "El Scorcho" and their note for note cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." Cuomo stalked the stage and while he definitely has a new-found self confidence there's still a hint of the scared rabbit in his eyes. This makes his delivery both endearing (you want to hug the guy) and a bit alien (he just seems, off). He is still the nerd playing Dungeons & Dragons in his garage and that's what allows him to just sell the hell out of his songs.

After a brief break the band reconvened to run through The Blue Album as a four piece with Wilson taking his rightful throne behind the drum kit. We're not big fans of nostalgia trips, and many of the recent "classic album tours" leave us a bit cold, but the music on The Blue Album is so perfect we couldn't help but get lost in its charms. You see, underneath it all we are still that nerd playing Dungeons & Dragons in our garage and while we can marvel at the pristine arrangements and melodies Cuomo constructed for The Blue Album, it's the raw and real emotional undercurrent that land the album in the "timeless" category. And while Weezer could have presented a paint-by-the-numbers run through of that album's ten songs they chose to deliver them with the conviction they deserved, and the crowd rewarded them grandly for it. There were moments the audience's single voice swallowed the band whole, most viscerally on "Say It Ain't So," and the bone chilling effect of that was tangible proof of the band's effect on attendees. The band finished with a majestically stretched out "Only In Dreams" and wisely exited the stage sans encore. There was no need for one.

As we exited the venue our concert companion turned to us and said, "When is that cruise? Maybe we should go on it after all..."

[View the full photo set]