Weezer @ O2 Apollo Manchester
Manchester Apollo was treated to an outstanding night as 90s alt-rockers Weezer blasted through a set full of classic songs and all new tracks.
First to take to the stage were the indie rock fivesome The Orwells. Mostly playing songs from their recent album, Terrible Human Beings, the crowd seemed mostly unfamiliar with many of the tracks from their 9-song set. However, most were almost instantly lulled in by the band’s enigmatic performance, and frontman Mario Cuomo’s acting as if he was almost in a haze, belting out lyrics while clad in a tank top and bright red boots. Much praise must also be given to the band’s guitarist Matt O’Keefe, who’s blazing guitar solos and rhythm were a clear focal for the many people enthralled by the band’s set.
Weezer finally took to the stage at 9, but not before teasing the audience with the sudden illumination of the classic Weezer ‘W’ on the background of the stage. Kicking off with their Blue Album classic, The World Has Turned and Left Me Here, many of the audience were pleasantly surprised. Having not been heard live since 2015, myself and others felt especially lucky. Fans of the band’s darker sophomore album, Pinkerton, then gave a massive cheer as rhythm guitarist Brian Bell delved into the opening chords of The Good Life, an absolute belter.
The rest of the setlist was filled with Weezer favourites, old and new. Fans of their self-titled debut album, such as myself, enjoyed a selection of classic 90s rock as the band played eight out of the ten songs from the LP. Last year’s much acclaimed White Album was also showcased as Rivers passionately dived into his Beach Boys-inspired anthems such as King of the World, and Thank God for Girls. The band also presented the audience with a couple of songs from their newly released record Pacific Daydream, an album much more synth-based and power-pop inspired than their other recent efforts. While this move has been considered controversial for many hardcore Weezer fans, the band still performed the tracks confidently and with gusto. It must also be noted that before leaping into their most recent single, Happy Hour, Rivers promised Manchester the band will return to tour at least once a year, which of course drew a wild positive response from the crowd.
Weezer continued their setlist with an extremely surprising choice for a cover, I Took a Pill in Ibiza, giving the song an unexpected, yet fun, alt-rock twist. Quite understandably, this move took a little while for the crowd to get into, but everyone came to enjoy the strange setlist decision. Other hits followed while the mosh pits grew larger and more enthusiastic. These included new hits such as Feels Like Summer, and classic belters like Beverly Hills, before topping off the set with an engrossing rendition 1994 hard-hitter Say it Ain’t So. The band then quickly rushed back to blast arguably what is their signature song, Buddy Holly. The crowd’s excitement was amplified by the sudden blasting of red and white confetti in the venue, while Rivers enthusiastically reached his mic towards those of us in the mosh pit. The unintelligible chants that followed clearly showed the impact of Weezer’s excellent performance, as the atmosphere glistened with a mutual love between band and fans. It was an outstanding ending to a top-notch performance, and I certainly look forward to seeing them next year.