Joined by guitarist Brian Bell (garbed on this evening as a modish dandy), bassist Scott Shriner, and drummer Pat Wilson, Weezer's lead singer, chief songwriter, and on-again-off-again recluse, Rivers Cuomo, eased into the opening bars of "My Name Is Jonas" with nary a word of introduction. That he came dressed in a basic navy tee, khaki-like trousers, and thunderbolt guitar strap—largely reprising the ensemble he modeled on Blue's album art—was not incidental, but instead seemed like a concerted effort to recreate the more austere conditions (and era) under which the music was originally conceived and written. Along the same lines, the band largely eschewed any pretense of a stage or light show, opting instead to simply project the album art against the stage’s backdrop.
The album-as-performance format robs a set of its mystery, but in this case it did nothing to diminish the audience's collective excitement (or that of the show's openers, Portland's very own the Thermals, with Hutch Harris confessing onstage that "we're thrilled to open for Weezer!").
Weezer promptly churned out spot-on renditions of Blue's hits (all of them, natch), inciting a sprawling pogo pit and, more tellingly, massive word-for-word singalongs on "Buddy Holly," "Say It Ain't So," and "In The Garage" (see video below). One rabid Portland fan even went so far as to periodically unfurl a huge, homemade flag—emblazoned with the band’s signature visual, the so-called flying W—that had been smuggled into the venue.
Cuomo has morphed into an enthusiastic pitchman in recent years (to the chagrin of many critics and fans), but that persona was largely muted during this performance (again, keeping with the spirit of the source material), save for a bit of guitar hero preening on the aforementioned "Say It Ain't So," and a shared headbutt with Shriner at the conclusion of "Only In Dreams," Blue's epic coda.
Following a short intermission during which the band's longtime archivist and honorary fifth member, Karl Koch, introduced a slideshow of Weezer artifacts and press clippings, the band returned to the stage, with its Pinkerton tracklist in tow. That material has always more outwardly and emo-tionally tortured than that which preceded it (think of it as the tart mustard to Blue's sugary ketchup), but its cult appeal ran equally deep on this night. Notable highlights included "Tired of Sex," "Across the Sea," "Pink Triangle," and the punctuation point, Cuomo's vulnerable, acoustic rendering of "Butterfly." Our heroes returned for one last track, a Pinkerton-era rarity, "Blast Off," before exiting into the night.