L.A. power-geek rock band Weezer is enjoying the fruits of an unexpected comeback, following successful shows on last summer’s Warped tour. As anticipation continues to grow for the band’s long-awaited third album, the quartet headlined this year’s edition of the Yahoo-sponsored Outloud tour package.
The band seemed to go out of style after a chilly reception from radio and MTV to its second album, 1996’s “Pinkerton” (DGC). But with each show of the coast-to-coast tour a quick sellout (most tickets were purchased over the Internet), Weezer’s imminent commercial resuscitation now seems certain.
At the packed Palladium on Friday, the first of three California shows that closed the tour (with San Fran and San Diego to follow over the weekend), Weezer played its melodic pop-rock on a stage decorated like a downscale basketball court, complete with two hoops and painted court lines, included a Van Halen-style “W” logo at center court.
Creating its own March madness, Weezer elicited a thunderous response with tight versions of songs from its two albums, including seven from the band’s excellent 1994 debut, as well as a few compelling new tracks. Weezer opened with an untitled new number that had an acoustic guitar and a cappella vocal intro that quickly exploded into a blaze of distorted electric guitars and driving rhythms.
“You told me that you’d always love me,” sang bespectacled frontman Rivers Cuomo as the sardined crowd shouted its approval.
In a humorous acknowledgment of the challenge the 9-year-old band faces in regaining its earlier success, the evening’s onstage set lists were modified so that top-selling rock band Creed’s name appeared in all of the song titles: “Tired of Sex” became “Tired of Creed” and “Undone — the Sweater Song” became “Undone — the Creed B-side,” and so on.
The 75-minute show peaked in the homestretch with a winning five-song closing run of still-fresh sounding music from the first album, including the charming coming-of-age ode “Buddy Holly” (whose video director Spike Jonze watched from the balcony); “In the Garage,” which retains all of its youthful exuberance; and crowd fave “Say It Ain’t So.”
Weezer is among the acts (Jane’s Addiction, Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold, the Orb, etc.) scheduled to perform April 28 at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, two hours east of Los Angeles.