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Concert Review: Weezer plays hard, and well, all night

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

Eight years down the road from making America safe for dorks who rock while posing the musical question, "What's with these homies dissin' my girl? Why do they gotta front?" Rivers Cuomo didn't look a thing like Buddy Holly last night at the Mellon Arena.

But then, Holly died before he had a chance to grow a beard and get his hair done like some '80s sitcom character. Imagine, if you will, Jon Cryer as Monroe's new roommate on "Too Close For Comfort."

That was Cuomo.

If the image took some getting used to, musically, Cuomo and company rocked the house the way you would have wanted if you came on board with "Buddy Holly" back in 19-nerdy-4.

They played essential cuts from all three albums, in addition to some tasty unreleased material. And everything they played, they played hard. The guitar sound was massive, especially Cuomo's, and the whole thing rocked with unexpected force -- but in a good way.

Only one song could be heard to suffer from the hard attack. And that was "Don't Let Go," the leadoff track from Weezer's new, self-titled comeback album.

Weezer beat the hook clean out of that one.

But the other hooks were doing fine.

They came out strong with "Island in the Sun," a standout from the new release, then took the fan club higher with "In the Garage," a spirited oldie from the band's first album with such classic insights to the geek scene as "I've got a dungeon master's guide."

From there, the highlights ranged from old to new: "Undone -- The Sweater Song," "My Name is Jonas" and "Say It Ain't So" from the first one; "Tired of Sex" from "Pinkerton"; and "Knock-down Drag-out," "Photograph" and "Hash Pipe" from the new one.

Then came the encore -- a spirited romp through "Buddy Holly" and a version of "Surf Wax America" that ended in a joyous mess of strobe lights, smoke and feedback. As his bandmates wandered off into the night, Cuomo stood there coaxing more and more cacophony from his guitar until at last he left it there on stage to feed back as he vanished for a brilliant sendoff to a brilliant night.

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