Weezer Wows Fans with an Epic Concert at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine

I have always been an alt rock devotee. Back in the days when alt rock didn’t exist I was a new wave fanatic then grunge then alt rock. In the early ’90s, I listened to my fave station KROQ in my first cool car an Acura Integra. And it was in that era that I discovered Weezer and in no time at all I ordered the CD “The Blue Album” in this mail order catalogue called Columbia House. The first Weezer song that caught my attention was “Undone – The Sweater Song”, followed by “Say it Ain’t So” then “Buddy Holly”. Since then, I was hooked.

Connor from Corona celebrated his 18th birthday on the front row of the Weezer concert

Although Weezer performed at countless stages, I never had the chance to see them in person. Life gets busy and the next thing you know it’s 2023. On Sept 2 at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, I witnessed the timeless music of Weezer. I was so fortunate to do a review of one of my favorite alt rock bands since the beginning of the 90s. There I was about three feet away from Rivers Cuomo (lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of Weezer), and it was surreal. The weather was just perfect on a Labor Day weekend. FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine was packed and proved why Weezer is one of the strong and lasting alt rock bands of all time.

Belting out the lyrics of every Weezer songs

The Angeleno band kicked things off with “My Name is Jonas”. The band entered the stage doing the groove walk while the background audio was a sound effect of the knob/dial used to tune into different stations in the early 90s. On the stage you’ll see the road trip theme. The backdrop was an animation with props of dash board, steering wheel and a radio where Cuomo would play with the volume knob to make it louder.

Following “My Name is Jonas” was “Beverly Hills” which was was nominated for Best Rock Song in 2006 at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. It was also number 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The backdrop started to display an animation of a gate that says Beverly Hills with Palm Trees. The props were all retro just like some of the videos of the band from “Buddy Holly”, “Keep Fishin'”, “Pork And Beans” to “Africa”.

The third on the set list was “Ithaca” followed by the “Good Life” then “Pork and Beans”. Midway through the set, Cuomo unleashed “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here”. Although Cuomo graduated from Harvard, he revealed his days in Santa Monica College in the early 90s. “I ended up on a weight training class, last guy you expect to see in there. But there was a girl, also scrawny like me. But she was really cute. I looked forward to seeing her a couple times a week. But we never talked, until the very last day of the semester she came up to me and said ‘You look like Anthony Kiedis.’ And I wasn’t sure how to take that. It seems like a good thing. We ended up hanging out. In her bedroom she had a poster of the Chili Peppers. So she must think I’m cool. We had a great week. We saw the original Beavis and Butthead in the theater. But then she had to leave. She moved to San Diego when the semester was over. I went home and turned on the cassette with the music written by Patrick. This is before we came together. So I started writing these lyrics and melodies over this music. I got all my feelings out. So sad cause you meet somebody so cool and then they’re just gone like that. This song is so cool. It’s from Weezer and became one of our first songs. You can hear it on the blue album. And goes like this.” Cuomo started to sing the acoustic version of “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here”. The legion of fans started to sing along with Cuomo.

After the “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here”, Cuomo asked the band to come back. While waiting on stage he started to entertain the audience by mimicking the song Baby Come Back, “Any kind of fool could see I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you. Weezie come back!” And the audience chuckled.

Cuomo continued to tell the story about the song Susanne. “Here’s one …. right after we got a record deal we were nobody at Geffen. They had like Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, White Snake and Weezer …. we didn’t have a record out. No reason for them to even pick up the phone when we called but the secretary there was super nice. She helped us out, so we wrote the song for her. It’s called “Susanne”. After that it was followed by melancholic track called “Only in Dreams”.

During “The Greatest Man Ever Lived” Cuomo wore a cowboy hat like the cover of their red album. The video backdrop was an animation of the Mount Rushmore except with the four members of the band. I thought that was clever.

And there was the Tai Chi movement that Brian Bell rendered with a new age background music. I was thinking are we going to do a sound bath or tai chi session? It was an introduction to their biggest hit “Islands in the Sun” which evoked an eruption from the audience. Legions of fans started shrieking and singing in chorus. It was like magic or should I say enchanting? Towards the end of the song he added “hip hip in Irvine.”

They followed it up with the dynamic sets of “Perfect Situation” and “All My Favorite Songs”. After “All My Favorite Songs”, Cuomo asked the crowd, “You enjoying the road trip so far?” He brought the polaroid camera and enthused “It’s not an official road trip until dad takes a family photo. Smile kids!” After he took the photo, he tried to fan to himself to dry it up and said, “While waiting for that to develop we’ll play another song.” The minute the chords strum with a very familiar tune, the crowd started roaring. The fans sang every lyrics to “Say It Ain’t So” feeding their emotion within. According to Readers Poll on RollingStone.com, “Say it Ain’t So” widely seen now as one of the greatest songs of the decade. The opening chords alone bring a smile to most everyone that was a teenager in 1994.” But that wasn’t the case on this sold-out concert, a teen with his mother was at the first row, showing me the drum sticks he got at the Weezer’s previous concert. He also said it’s his actual birthday on that day. Another 18-year-old boy I encountered was belting out the lyrics of every song.

The banger “Hash Pipe” energized the crowd with featured heavy bass and punky guitar. I was dancing my heart out with the Weezies. And so upon playing the “Thank You and Good Night” I thought that was the end of the high-octane energetic tune. Weezer came back for an encore and played at the elevated space that seemed to be a dashboard of a car. They wrapped things up with “Buddy Holly”.

Indie Rock Road Show was thrilling and eclectic. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my summer. The upbeat sound, pounding drumbeat and impressive wailing sound of guitar got everyone moving. One of the best rock concerts I’ve witnessed.

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