Last Saturday night, throngs of fans packed into the Chastain Park Amphitheater to witness Weezer playing their last show of the touring season. Roughly a month after the release of their latest album titled Hurley, Weezer has been touring the country to put their new sounds on display as well as treat their fans to some classic songs.
The gates at Chastain Park Amphitheater opened an hour later than the advertised hour, and the crowds filled the seats slowly at first. Like many concerts tend to be, there was a great deal of waiting and standing around involved before the show finally started, signaled by the appearance of the opening band taking the stage.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business, an alternative “Southern rock” band with roots in south Tenn. went on first to catch the crowd’s attention with a spirited performance of “Don’t Break the Needle,” mixing a style of forceful singing and lively piano playing reminiscent of classic rock and roll.
A half hour of this high-spirited performance kept the crowd visibly excited, but then Weezer took the stage and the energy level in the amphitheater hit its peak. The band made its big appearance with the appropriately titled “Epic Intro,” which was basically a display of each band member’s role that started with a low-key guitar riff and followed into a suitably heavy rock section to showcase the whole team. They then moved right along into the set list, starting with the bouncy “Hash Pipe” that made good use of lead singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo’s near-manic energy.
There was no denying that he and the rest of the band were utterly psyched to be performing. Whether it was dumping a bottle of water on his head or running through the aisles to give high-fives to the crowd, Rivers Cuomo made the best of his presence to keep the crowd stirred up during and between the songs, riling up even more nerd power when he took someone’s wizard hat and jumped onto the scaffolds.
Many of the band’s classic hits such as “My Name is Jonas,” “Say It Ain’t So” and “Undone – The Sweater Song” were performed, just as familiar to the long-time fans of the band as they are to younger generations.
Though they stayed with a majority of classics, “Hang On” was a highlight from Weezer’s newest album Hurley, which stayed in style but felt more matured in its development. At one point the entire crowd felt confusion followed by elation when “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus was played, though it seemed somewhat impulsive.
By the end of the concert everyone was unable to stay in their seats in an effort to follow along side to Cuomo and dance to “Pork and Beans.” A minor disappointment was that with all the frenetic activity throughout the concert, Weezer did not have the staying power for an encore performance after the climactic rock ending.
Ultimately, the mass of cheering fans had an undeniable blast and remained applauding for well over a minute before dispersing. I eagerly await the next time that Weezer returns to Atlanta.