When: Wed 16th January 2013
Where: Sydney Myer Bowl, Melbourne
Memories Tour: ‘The Blue Album’
A lot had been written in the lead up to this gig about the return of Weezer to Australian soil, with particular emphasis being on the fact that this tour was their first visit in 16 years. To say there was a fanatical response when the initial details of the Memories Tour was announced would be a tad short in the understatement stakes.
Just like a host of other artists in recent times, such as the Pixies, Bob Mould and Primal Scream, Weezer are planning on playing their self-titled album, otherwise known as The Blue Album, from start to finish with the Sydney Myer Bowl chosen as the venue for the Melbourne leg.
Arriving for my first visit to the outdoor amphitheatre on what was a balmy evening, I entered the general admission area and found a decent spot on its slopped grassy hilltop. Unfortunately I only managed to catch the tail end of Brisbane act Ball Park Music’s set, but their catchy indie sound swiftly grabbed my attention.
Sydney four piece Cloud Control were up next and played tunes from their 2010 album ‘Bliss Release’ with songs ‘There’s Nothing in the Water’, ‘Gold Canary’ and ‘Ghost Story’ warmly received. New song ‘Scarred’ was tested out and judging by the reaction of its dual keyboard and thumping drum intro, the crowd seemed to like the way the band were heading.
Just after 9pm the 8,000 strong Weezer fans voiced their approval as their heroes took to the stage, with quite a number nowhere near old enough to have witnessed the band on their previous visit. Rivers Cuomo said his hellos and informed us the first half of the show would be a trip back in time, chronologically speaking, with the ‘Blue Album’ being played in part two. Fittingly enough they kicked right into ‘Memories’ from their ‘Hurley’ record and the rather excellent ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’ following suit. A double helping of ‘Pork and Beans’ and ‘Troublemaker’ from their ‘Red Album’ were up next, with Rivers venturing into the audience for parts of the latter, which for me was the only real highlight of that song.
Even though the main attraction of this evening was the playing of the ‘Blue Alum’, it didn’t stop the crowd from showing its appreciation for the bands latter material, with a mass sing-a-long occurring during both ‘Perfect Situation’ and the pretty average ‘Beverly Hills’, from 2005’s ‘Make Believe’. The band were now in full stride and if further proof was needed to showcase River’s penchant for writing radio friendly indie pop gems, a triple whammy of ‘Dope Nose’, ‘Island In the Sun’ and ‘Hash Pipe’ had the crowd in raptures, with smells waffling through parts of the crowd in an ode to the latter of these tracks! The sole ‘Pinkerton’ choice of ‘El Scorcho’ brought an end to the first half, with the band leaving the stage to elated applause.
The intermission arrived with unofficial 5th member Karl Koch speaking over a collage of early era photos, flyers and early gig reviews that were broadcast over the two large screens. I felt as though the time prior to this beginning – which was about ten minutes – to when it ended was a tad bit too long but what came next made up for it in leaps and bounds.
‘The Blue Album’ is as near a flawless indie rock album as one can listen to. The pop sensibilities of its tracks helping propel the band from their indie nerd beginnings into the limelight in 1994 and it’s a testament to Rivers’ song writing that they’re still viewed in the same way, if not even more so.
The opening chords to ‘My Name Is Jonas’ were greeted with a rousing response from the crowd, while ‘No One Else’ and ‘The World Has Turned & Left Me Here’ had them singing aloud with their heroes. The highlight of the evening, was the record’s middle section with ‘Buddy Holly’, ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’, ‘Surf Wax America’ and ‘Say It Ain’t So’ proving why Weezer’s debut is held in such high esteem. The harmonica led intro to ‘In the Garage’ slowed the pace of the evening down, if just a smidgen, while the final two tracks ‘Holiday’ and ‘Only in Dreams’ brought the curtain down on what was a triumphant return to Melbourne for Weezer.