Weezer continues to 'enlighten'
By Chris Brunt
The Daily Cougar
Rock 'n' roll gods Weezer torched the Cynthia
Woods Mitchell Pavilion to the ground Thursday night, fulfilling their
much-anticipated Houston stop on the
Enlightenment Tour. Music-heads, security
guards, even concession-stand attendants could only weep with gratitude
for the evening of pyrotechnics, light effects, and fan-favorite songs
played with verve.
It may be premature, but many fans speculate
that Weezer is entering a much-deserved golden age. After their fabulous
initial success with self-titled Weezer
(commonly called "the blue album"), they
tumbled into oblivion with sophomore release Pinkerton.
Though it now functions as an indicator
of a Weezer fan's degree of devotion, this album threatened to end the
band's career early on. It was poorly received
and resulted in a multi-year hiatus punctuated
by lead-singer Rivers Cuomo's storied bout with depression.
Slowly, however, fans of the first album
began giving Pinkerton a second chance, and it's now regarded as a darker,
edgier classic, comparable in genius to
the blue album.
Taking two steps back, the band then released
"the green album" in 2000, disappointing a legion of fans now primed for
Pinkerton II. Rather than developing
the emotional intensity of Pinkerton further,
the green album played like a prequel to blue, with polite pop hooks and
trite, unconvincing lyrics.
But Weezer landed on its feet after this
disappointment, opting to furnish yet another collection of songs with
Maladroit has catapulted Weezer back into
rock 'n' roll royalty, and The Enlightenment Tour has only amplified their
fame. Fans at Thursday's concert ranged
from young teeny-bopper types to nervous
baby-boomers, yet all seemed to dig Weezer to the fullest. Performing a
set-list comprised largely from their first
two albums, fans were granted a nostalgic,
celebratory night of music.
Opening the show with "Why Bother," a hard-driving
hit from Pinkerton, the band catalogued many of their most popular tracks
from the first two albums,
totaling six off each. The most successful
tracks off each of the group's releases were covered, including "Buddy
Holly," "Undone," "El Scorcho," "Pink
Triangle" and "Island in the Sun."
The lighting and pyrotechnic engineers
deserve recognition for their work, adding energy and hipness to the high-voltage
Lead singer and guitarist Cuomo has emerged
from his solitary Harvard sojourn as a genuine rock star, achieving that
elusive balance of angst and
glamour. Cuomo proved this beyond doubt
at Thursday's concert. His guitar playing was excellent, taking his solos
at faster tempos and higher registers,
and his singing was consistently satisfying.
The allure of Weezer has never been stronger
than during this show. The energy was at full throttle, even through ballad
encore of "Only In Dreams."
Ensconced by thick smoke and dream-like
blue lights, the band seemed to be urging its fans to sleep well.