Mother nature was kind to Weezer fans who turned up to celebrate WEND 106.5 The End’s birthday bash Friday night at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre. A constant spray of mist hung in the air practically all night, but was barely much more than humidity that, caught by the stage lights, gave the illusion of a magical shimmer in the air.
It was only once the parking lot had emptied out after the show (which takes a lot longer than it used to with the new parking lots) that the mist gave way to heavy rain.
A little less than 11 months since its last stop in Charlotte – at PNC Music Pavilion in June – Weezer’s show was an abbreviated version of last year’s set list. With the omission of a mid-set medley and five other songs, and the addition of the new single “Feels Like Summer,” the songs were played in the same order.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Weezer is a consummate live act that kicks out hit after hit without the aid of glitzy production or props, aside from the indelible flashing “W” that hangs over the stage. It’s an old-fashioned pop-rock show with no additional musicians, just the guitar, bass, drums and occasional keyboard played by the band members that appear in press photos and record the albums. That in itself is refreshing. However, some fans leaving the venue voiced disappointment that the hour-long set wasn’t longer.
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The night kicked off with recent alternative radio staple Dreamers, which has released some of the catchiest anthems of the last two years in “Wolves (You Got Me)” and “Sweet Disaster” – and graced Charlotte stages as an opening act several times in the past 14 months or so.
The New York trio was followed by another act that’s not new to the Queen City, Catfish and the Bottlemen, which played WEND’s annual Weenie Roast in September and gave Charlotte musician Benji Hughes a shout-out from the stage. The Welsh group’s set was met with approval from familiar fans, many of whom stood, some dancing and singing along.
Weezer, still boyish even at its 25-year mark, bopped through “Hash Pipe,” “My Name Is Jonas,” and “Pork and Beans,” with guitarist Brian Bell (dressed in a traditional Columbo/Pink Panther-esque tan raincoat) seeming to take great pleasure in the earliest hits, smiling and occasionally assuming a guitar hero stance. All the members appeared to be having fun, with Rivers Cuomo throwing a “W” sign to the crowd as he left the stage following the encore.
It wasn’t only those big ’90s hits “Buddy Holly” and “Undone (the Sweater Song)” that had the audience shouting along in unison. Everything from “Beverly Hills” to last year’s “Thank God for Girls” incited big group-singalongs. Heck, even the announcement of the new single – usually a call for a beer run – ignited ample cheers.
Maybe Weezer checked the weather and didn’t want to be out there in the pouring rain. Or maybe the radio station bash didn’t call for a lengthier set (which the band played as recently as last week in St. Augustine). But the audience would have been happy to stick around for more.
The band has really been prolific since 2001’s “Green Album,” and has 10 records to pull from (11 with the release of this summer’s “Black Album”), each one with its own fan favorites and at least one hit single per record. Even last year’s 17-song set seemed somewhat brief considering their catalog.
While fans clearly appreciate the appearance and spot-on delivery, there’s certainly room, and a desire, to hear more.