Thank God For Weezer: the best and worst stadium rock band of our time

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Weezer don't belong in stadiums, much as they might like to.

Foo Fighters have spent the past week and a bit packing out stadiums around the country, doing what they do with the proficiency for which they’re renowned.

The band’s Concrete and Gold tour felt in many ways like a facsimile of their previous run of stadium shows in 2015. Long, sometimes amazing, sometimes frustrating, but undoubtedly adored by tens of thousands of devoted fans every single night.

But they have a trump card this time around that makes this tour better. And that trump card is a little band called Weezer.

This strange show, in the strangest of environments, proved that Weezer still have what it takes to fill their fans with unadulterated joy.

As a devotee of Weezer’s first two records, both as a teen and an adult, I welcome any opportunity to see them.

Even if that means being 100 metres away, while the band bashes away on a stage that’s far too big for them to a quarter-full stadium of people who largely seem half-interested.

And even if that means sitting through some of the less-enjoyable (read: kinda shit) new material.

There remains a huge amount of joy seeing this band. That joy lies not just in their best songs, but in the way they approach performing them.

Throughout the set, they pull posturing, douchey rock-moves that go beyond the point of being lame and end up being kinda cute and kinda hilarious.

They cringingly change the lyrics of their songs to get onboard with the crowd (‘Brisbane knows the way to reach the top of the chart’ is not a clever substitution…) and Rivers ostentatiously struts down the enormous runway set up for Dave Grohl’s energetic antics later in the night.

Most bands wouldn’t get away with it. But Weezer did. Through their hour-long set, they acted like the stadium rock band they might have once dreamt of becoming, but never turned out to be. And it seemed like they were at peace with it.

Think back 20-odd years and it could easily have been the other way around. Had Rivers Cuomo stuck with the hard-edged emotional rock and soaring solos that typified so much of Weezer’s earlier material, his band might have graduated to stadium status (though it’s difficult to think of an alternate future in which Dave Grohl isn’t a massive rock god).

And while the turgid ‘Feels Like Summer’ and ‘Happy Hour’ proved as rude reminders of the band’s musical descent, their best material has aged stunningly. ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’ honestly sounded as powerful as it did 20 years ago, ‘El Scorcho’ – tragically the only Pinkerton cut aired – was as strange and beautiful a nerd anthem as ever, and even a cover of Pixies classic ‘Where Is My Mind’ went down a treat.

I’ve long given up any hope of Weezer releasing a record that cuts as deeply as Pinkerton or brings as much joy as their self-titled debut (The Blue Album). But this strange show, in the strangest of environments, proved that Weezer still have what it takes to fill their fans with unadulterated joy.

Rivers Cuomo and Pat Wilson of Weezer Take 5 on Double J this Friday from 10am

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