As the sun went down on the AMD Stage at this weekend’s Austin City Limits music festival, Weezer gave a frenzied crowd what they seemed to want.
Culling from a nine-album canon of hits, the alt-rock veterans brought out the big guns. And Weezer didn’t need the pyrotechnics that have made their way into the quartet’s live performance over the years.
Coming out to the 20th Century FOX theme music, Weezer launched into the familiar “My Name is Jonas,” bringing everyone back to their 1994 self-titled debut with its bombastic bass and pounding drums.
They followed that two songs later with another cut from what has been dubbed the “Blue Album,” a rollicking “Surf Wax America” that slowed down to a snail’s pace before building into a wave-crashing round of “All along the undertow… ” meshed with “You take your car to work… ” towards the end.
It was the perfect way to start a sing-along with a willing audience that spanned as far back as the eye could see.
Flags of real and farcical affiliations popped up throughout the undulating masses, and frontman Rivers Cuomo noticed, imploring everyone to act “like a soccer stadium” for the sweeping “Singing oh ho, oh ho, oh ho whoa” chorus of “Brigntening Day. “
Once dusk crept over Austin’s Zilker Park, Weezer livened up their stage show by lighting the giant winged W that hung behind the band.
That coincided with one of Weezer’s breakout hits from back in the day, “Buddy Holly.” The bouncy chorus had everyone jumping with visions of the Fonz from the iconic Happy Days-styled music video.
Weezer continued to amp up the energy with an especially thumping version of “Hash Pipe” before delighting old-school fans with the Pinkerton single “El Scorcho.”
As the show came to a close, Cuomo donned a cowboy hat for the first verses of “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” a mini-rock opera that was originally produced by Rick Rubin from another self-titled album that bears the color red.
Weezer’s last stand came in the form of “Undone – The Sweater Song.” It was a fitting way to end an evening filled with highlights from their catalog.
Arguably, “Undone” started the whole thing as Weezer’s first radio-friendly single.
Judging by Friday’s set, that song certainly put the band on a path to success.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Dahdah.