I’m going to put my adoration for Weezer to the side for just a minute.

Weezer is not a band that likes to charm the audience. They get on, they play, they get off. They perform well and with heart, but you don’t feel any connection. They don’t improvise a lot. They said about ten words all night.

At some points, I felt like I could have been listening to their album, overamplified, while crushed against 38 sweaty bodies. According to their Web site, they’ve adhered to practically the same set list on every night of this tour.

But somehow, it was still an awesome concert. Weezer opened Thursday night with a great “Island in the Sun” and followed with a blue album-heavy show. The high-energy, extremely young crowd at Blue Cross Arena adored them.

By the time Weezer ended the set with an absolutely amazing “Only in Dreams,” all was forgiven in my book.

Somehow, I thought there would be more Weezer fans my age ? you know, all the kids who listened to the sweater song every day in the eighth grade. (Of course, I was not one of these people.)

But no, Thursday’s crowd was overwhelmingly indie-geek teenagers in bright sneakers and thick black glasses.

We had floor seats and somehow managed to push our way to the stage barrier, joining the Weezer fanatic contingent of Rochester.

The shoving and crowd surfing started as early as Ozma, the first opening band. I think I suffered internal damage that night. I spent much of the concert hugging a nice boy in a blue sweatshirt, because I had nowhere else to put my arms.

Ozma could play their instruments, but needed some help in the singing department.

This geeky band from California, which formed through the members’ mutual love for Weezer, likes to belt it out screamer-style. The second opener, the absolutely adorable Saves the Day, was unknown to me but apparently had many fans in the audience. Their catchy pop-rock songs included “At Your Funeral,” which I hear is a radio hit.

The crowd got a little ugly waiting for Weezer to come on. One girl fainted from the heat. Two people threw up. The nervous security guys had to help about 20 people over the barrier so they wouldn’t get squashed by the throng. I asked one security guy if he liked his job. “No,” he said. “It sucks.”

Weezer does not in any way resemble my mental picture of them. They look nothing like they do on their album cover.

Frontman Rivers Cuomo is much burlier than I expected. Gone are the trademark emo glasses. In their place ? well, maybe not literally ? is a scruffy beard that I hate. This could be because I am opposed to facial hair as a rule, but it really does not look good.

“Island in the Sun” was followed by a terrific “In the Garage.” By the time they played “My Name is Jonas,” the audience was passing a blow-up doll around the floor.

Weezer played a lot of the old-school blue-album songs, but none of them sounded the same since the departure of bassist Matt Sharp.

New bassist Scott Shriner can rip it up just like Matt, but can’t replace the great falsettos that were conspicuously missing from songs like “Buddy Holly” and “Say it Ain’t So.”

I’m very hesitant to use the word “sellout,” because it’s a word people throw around every time a band changes in a way they don’t like, so I’ll just say this ? after the disappointing public reception of their genius 1996 album Pinkerton, Weezer has once again become the geek-rock industry’s darling with their catchy but clearly inferior 2001 green album.

Weezer did the short, melodic green album songs “Knock Down Drag Out,” “Simple Pages, “Photograph,” Don’t Let Go” and the ever-ubiquitous “Hash Pipe,” which drove the audience mad.

I could have used a lot more Pinkerton Thursday night. The two Pinkerton songs they did play, “Tired of Sex” and “Why Bother,” were among the best-performed songs of the set ? raw, edgy and full of energy.

A number of balled-up shirts landed on stage throughout. Someone threw a book to Rivers, prompting one of his only smiles of the evening. “Camus,” he said, amused. “I like this book. Thank you.”

Two other girls threw their bras, which Scott hung on his microphone. You know life is good when you’re 35 and 17-year-old girls are throwing their underwear at you.

After taking seven years to release three albums, Weezer is reportedly in the studio working on four and five, the former of which, Maladroit, is set for release soon.

I had a hard time getting into their newest songs ? “Dope Nose,” “Death and Destruction,” “Keep Fishin'” ? I was mostly bored by them, to be honest.

The best part of the show by far was the closer “Only in Dreams,” the sexy, often-forgotten last song on their first album.

There is a long jam in the middle of “Only in Dreams,” which guitarist Brian Bell accentuated Thursday night with spine-chilling, echoing riffs. The big silver “W” Weezer uses at its concerts sparkled under hypnotic blue lights. Silver confetti floated from the ceiling toward the end of the song. It was a great finish, especially after they came back for a rocking encore, “Buddy Holly” and “Surf Wax America.”

So although the show was good, I don’t want to have sex with Weezer as much as I used to. I miss the old days of Weezer, when Matt Sharp was still around and Hash Pipe didn’t exist. But I can’t deny that they played their hearts out. And even though they didn’t talk, they were able to work the crowd into an adoring frenzy. I still have the bruises to show it.

Le can be reached at cle@campustimes.org.



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