Diary of a Geek Rocker

It’s a geek’s dream. Rocking out, a few feet from Weezer, with singer Rivers Cuomo himself standing so close that you can almost feel his breath as he sings.

Who says dreams can’t come true?

I stood gazing at giant “W” behind Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson, taking in the flash and pulse of “Say It Ain’t So.” Around me, a crowd of 50 people joined together jumping and screaming to show their love for Weezer, the band heard six years ago rocking the airwaves with their smash hit “Buddy Holly.”

This concert was not in a stadium or a pavilion, not even a club. It was held on the top floor of GW’s very own student center, the Hippodrome.

Having just released a new self-titled album, and given the bands recent appearance on the MTV movie awards, one would expect to see Weezer cashing in on their big moment in the spotlight. Instead, the band seems to be taking their music back down to its roots.

Earlier in the week, Weezer played RFK Stadium as part of D.C.’s annual HFStival. The band did not, however, play for the throngs of fans amassed inside the stadium, but rather held a special invite-only concert backstage. The event was playfully named “The 1st Annual Weezer Convention” and fans had to prove worthy to gain admittance.

The concert was held for a group of 300 people who begged, dressed up and went to great lengths to get into the show. They each had the chance to get on a microphone and give an argument as to why they deserved to see the band. Once the lucky winners got inside, they had the pleasure of seeing Weezer live as their performance was recorded for MTV2. I was there, outside of the show, trying to get in – but to no avail. I was good, but I just could not compete with other fans, some of whom had gone as far as painting their bodies green to get in.

This was just one of a series of small shows and venues that Weezer has played recently. In their typical low key fashion, they have avoided stadium shows and larger venues. They have proven that they can still sell tickets, after selling out their two D.C. shows this year, one at American University’s Bender Arena and another at the 9:30 Club. But the question is not whether the band can sell tickets, the question is whether they want to.

Despite their new album and their video for their single “Hash Pipe” gaining acceptance on MTV’s “TRL,” it seems Weezer is trying to avoid the spotlight and hang onto the geek rock roots that made them so lovable in the first place. This did not help me though. I missed my chance at the HFStival and was left with little hope of seeing the band in the short term.

Then I heard the outrageous rumor that Weezer was playing the Hippodrome. I immediately laughed it off, not only because Weezer is much to big to play the Hippodrome, but also because a similar rumor had circulated earlier in the year.

I knew they had been doing a string of small, very private shows, but I hardly imagined that they would play for a group of 50 people.

But on one Thursday night, May 31 to be exact, I decided to go bowling with some friends. As we hit the elevators to ride up to the Hippodrome I noticed signs saying it had closed early.

But we were not willing to give up on bowling so easily – my friends and I decided to check it out. I stepped off the elevator into a crowd of people and in the front stood Weezer, the band itself. They were dressed in their sweater vests and jeans, geek rock charisma, playing at full volume in the lounge area of the Hippodrome to an enthralled crowd. So what did I do when I realized that I had just crashed a private party and my geek rock fantasy was becoming a reality? I ran into the pit and screamed my head off as the band played all my favorite songs.

After about an hour-long set, they stopped to sign autographs and gave out two lime green bowling balls, also signed. Lining up, I was overwhelmed by the fact that they were here, at my school. People were everywhere with free posters and stickers and CDs signed by all the members. I also got my CD signed, and left the table where the tired band sat talking to their fans.

Perhaps this is the only way Weezer can maintain their geek rock roots, by stopping short of the limelight. Perhaps they wish to keep a shroud of mystery

For whatever reason they are re doing this, the fact remains that they leave their audiences with an experience that is unforgettable. And no matter how low key Weezer may wish to remain, they are only growing larger by the day, moving across the country one small show at a time.

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