By Jane Smith
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
March 5, 2001
At five minutes to seven, a snaking line of multi-colored, ’70s retro T-shirts anxiously inched its way closer to the doors of Bender Arena.
After a several hour wait, Weezer fans shuffled their way through security checks and rushed for the best spots to witness the greatest combination of bands to play American University in recent memory.
The sold-out Yahoo! Outloud tour, covering more than 60 college campuses in 20 cities, featuring Weezer and The Get Up Kids, drew thousands of fans Friday night in Washington, DC.
Ozma, a young pop rock band from Los Angeles, opened with a half-hour, upbeat set, bolstering excitement for the bands to follow. Shortly afterwards, a booming crowd welcomed The Get Up Kids to stage.
Befitting their name, the five members of The Get Up Kids threw the audience into a frenzy. The band’s animated antics and aggressive style prompted surfing in a crowd that cheered long after the act surrendered the stage.
“It was pretty tough,” said Phil Hughes, a former George Washington University student. “The (crowd) surfing was really bad. People kept falling all over you.”
The tour drew together enthusiasts for both Weezer and The Get Up Kids, according to Hughes. At times, such a combination yielded a hostile environment.
Despite solid performances by both opening groups, Weezer took the crowd on an ethereal musical and lyrical odyssey.
Beginning with a new song and moving forcefully into the classic “My Name is Jonas,” Weezer had the crowd captivated. Fans hoping to hear many songs from the band’s second album, Pinkerton, were not disappointed. With a diverse set list of songs from their debut album, Pinkerton and five unreleased numbers, no devoted fan could leave dissatisfied.
Weezer controls the style and intricacies of a mature sound, but clings to its garage-band roots in lyrics and performance. With its unique guitar riffs and complex rhythms, even the band seems to marvel at its own sound on stage, prompting sudden outbursts of leaping and fueling impassioned instrumental dialogue.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Rivers Cuomo undoubtedly took center stage and the bulk of the audience’s piercing screams and cheers. However, much attention was focused on new bassist Mikey Welsh. Despite the fact that Welsh has played with Weezer for the past three years, this year’s tour marks his public debut with the band. His performance had Weezer fans ecstatic by the end of the show as he jaunted solo across stage and began his bass line that would crescendo into the classic track “Only In Dreams.”
“It still sounds like Weezer, just sounds like new Weezer,” Welsh told U-WIRE. “Any band that has a long career or starting to have a long career is going to progress or change. That’s just natural.”
Welsh gave Weezer’s performance at American University a “B-plus,” citing a lack of personal energy. He said he was looking forward to the group’s performance near his hometown of Boston, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Memorial Auditorium earlier this week.
Weezer enthusiasts looking for a new album must further suffer, as the release date and track details remain unknown.
“I think the new songs are more fun to play ’cause they’re just fresher,” Welsh said. “We’ve played the old songs a billion of times. But as far as old stuff is concerned ‘Only In Dreams’ is always fun, and ‘El Scorcho,’ the ‘Good Life,’ they’re fun.”
Numbers like “Don’t Let Go” and “Island In The Sun,” two of Welsh’s favorites played Friday night, may appear on the new album. The band plans a recording session in Fall 2001.
“They were really good,” said Hughes of the new material. “I was really surprised. They sound more like the blue album (Weezer’s self-title debut album) than like Pinkerton. They’re more poppy.”