Weezer makes everything (old and new) sound alright in the end for the faithful at Belasco Theatre



By Ben McShane

“Everything Will Be Alright in the End” is Weezer’s ninth studio release. (Or maybe it’s the 10th. Like everything Weezer, it’s complicated.) Nothing Rivers Cuomo and company do surprises any more, and two decades after “The Blue Album’s” release, the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles (named for David Belasco, playwright of “Madame Butterfly,” which inspired Weezer’s other seminal album, “Pinkerton”) seemed as good as any place to introduce fans to the new stuff on Friday night.

The new stuff rocks. Weezer played the entirety of EWBAITE front-to-back, and every song’s lyrics played on monitors for all to sing along. The best parts live
happen to be the best parts on record. This observer’s theory: You’re probably having the most fun at a Weezer show whenever tatted-up bassist Scott Shriner is having the most fun. “Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Back to the Shack” and “Eulogy for a Rock Band” absolutely slay – and only half as much as the “Futurescope Trilogy” of songs that closed out the show.

The filler between the quartet’s killer opening and thrilling climax was perfunctory. A guest appearance by Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Cosentino to sing on “Go Away” was about as middling as you’d imagine. “Cleopatra” is a skipper on the record, and sadly, the renovated Belasco Theatre is equipped with no such function. Most still-standing Weezer fans aren’t so critical as to care, though.

Before the electric EWBAITE production, members of Weezer came on stage one-by-one for a nine-song acoustic set of Weezer classics (“Buddy Holly,” “El Scorcho”) and obscure B-sides/outtakes (“You Gave Your Love to Me Softly.” “The Other Way”). Weezer’s latter-day tradition of fan-jam “hootenannies” have trained the faithful for these intimate sing-a-longs, and it was a lovely time.

Twenty years ago, Weezer launched “The Blue Album” with a series of California club dates, kicking off at Bob’s Frolic Room III in Los Angeles and wrapping up a month later at the Troubadour. If you’d transported a fan from one of those show’s to the EWBAITE show at Belasco Theatre last night, she’d think she’d gone in a black hole. “Where the heck is Matt Sharp? Why is there an auxiliary guitarist side-stage? What’s with all the lights and video screens? This seems suspiciously … pop.”

The puzzle is Schrödinger’s Weezer: Are they in Beverly Hills or “In The Garage”? The answer is both. Friday night at the Belasco, they seemed to be in warm-up mode: a few band miscues, video monitors on the fritz, and a poorly miked fan chorus exposed the spectacle, but perhaps ’94 Grunge Weezer might have liked it that way. And after the confetti exploded, and a nice little “Getchoo” encore, everything was alright in the end.