Chris Schulz 's Opinion

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Concert review: Weezer, Vector Arena

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Weezer have been prolific at crafting metal-tinged pop hits with singalong choruses over the past 20 years. Photo / Supplied
Weezer have been prolific at crafting metal-tinged pop hits with singalong choruses over the past 20 years. Photo / Supplied

You know who Rivers Cuomo is, right? He's the supposedly awkward and reluctant Weezer front man who writes nerdy guitar pop in his bedroom, never does interviews and only plays shows when he has to.

Apparently not. Just three songs into Weezer's Vector Arena show, Cuomo jumped from the stage, ran to the back of the venue, climbed on top of a small corner bar and screamed the chorus to Troublemaker - "I'm a troublemaker, never been a faker" - while pouring beer over fans.

It was a brave early move that ignited an otherwise sluggish start and helped smash all those shy stereotypes that have built up around Cuomo and the Los Angeles-based group over the years.

And with this being a "memories concert" - a dozen or so greatest hits, followed by the self-titled "Blue Album" in full - it provided a major surprise in a show that didn't really promise any surprises at all.

The real shock was just how good Weezer were, considering their last concert in New Zealand was the infamously awful Pinkerton show at the Logan Campbell Centre in 1996, from which fans and the band reportedly couldn't escape fast enough.

This time, Cuomo and co were full of beans, racing joyously through the greatest hits portion of the set in blistering form, proving just how prolific they have been at crafting metal-tinged pop hits with singalong choruses over the past 20 years.

They included raucous fan favourites like the thrilling guitar crunch of Beverly Hills and El Scorcho, the goofy laidback grooves of Island In the Sun and (If You're Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To, record label backlash Pork and Beans, and superior mid-career rock anthems Dope Nose and Hash Pipe.

A 20-minute intermission - including a lengthy but endearing slide show about the band's early days - led into the Blue Album, the band's 1994 debut that proved to be the blueprint for all those hits they'd played earlier.

Cuomo was loving every minute of it, snarling his lyrics over the bruising riff for My Name is Jonas, striking extravagant rock poses for Buddy Holly, showing off theatrical hand gestures for Undone (The Sweater Song) and Holiday and throwing his head back to deliver the hair-raising riff for stunning set highlight Say It Ain't So.

It may have been a nostalgic two-hour trip down memory lane, but Weezer proved their past is a sweater worth unraveling again and again.

Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A subscription to RTR Countdown magazine as a teenager kick started Chris’ inspiration to become an entertainment reporter. After finishing a grad-dip at journalism school, he discovered the magazine no longer existed. So he instead begged for a reviewing job at Rip It Up, then took over a local news website’s entertainment section in 2004 when no one else wanted to do it. It’s as much a surprise to him as it is to those around him that he’s been doing entertainment reporting ever since, utilising his diehard love of popular culture (specifically music, TV, movies and games). His career highlights including interviewing heroes like Billy Corgan and Trent Reznor, discussing the best sheep-docking techniques with Courtney Love, and breaking his nose during a Shihad concert. The last thing left on his entertainment reporting bucket list is to ride a rollercoaster with Dave Grohl, something he’s hoping to achieve in the next 12 months.

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