Dads relive the ’90s at concert for rock band Weezer
MELBOURNE, VIC – Two 30-something dads were transported back to the ‘90s – officially the greatest era of human existence, jaded sources say – at a rock concert at the Myer Music Bowl on Wednesday.
Though it’s been a while since their wives let them out on a school night, the pair – one of whom prefers not to be named – were granted special leave to attend a concert by US nerdcore act Weezer. In Australia for the first time since 1996, the four-piece were playing their seminal 1994 self-titled debut (nicknamed “The Blue Album”) in full, along with a greatest hits set spanning their entire career.
After putting their respective children to bed, the men reportedly set out from their suburban homes, grabbing a quick beer and meal from a gourmet burger chain, before leaving their car at a train station. They arrived just in time to hear Sydney band Cloud Control’s cover of Butthole Surfers’ ‘Pepper’, which sparked some early reminiscing about the “good old days” when they were teenage malcontents that couldn’t get laid.
“Man, that song really takes me back,” said one of the men, 32-year-old journalist and father of one Darren Levin. “You just don’t hear crossover hits like that on triple j anymore – and it’s a damn shame,” he explained, immediately qualifying that he hasn’t actually listened to triple j since finishing school in 1998.
Taking full advantage of the four-beers-per-person allocation, the pair took their $10 Heinekens to their seats, where they looked comfortable and relaxed among people their own age.
“They just seemed to be in their element,” said Sally Williams, 34, an IT professional from Berwick, who met her husband Shaun on a bulletin board for X Files fans in 1995. “I overheard them talking about how great it was they were sharing this moment together, and how Weezer really helped them through some awkward teen years. I guess it’s kinda like my husband and I,” she continued, unsolicited. “We could really identify with the couple at the heart of ‘Buddy Holly’. They were geeky, vulnerable and uncool – just like us, I suppose.”
The pair appeared agitated and unmoved during the band’s opening “greatest hits” set, during which one of the men revealed he hadn’t heard a note from the band since their second self-titled release (“The Green Album”) in 2001.
“Was the opening song [‘Memories’ from 2010’s Hurley] a Killers cover?” he asked, “because it sure as hell sounded like it to me! Then again I haven’t really listened to any new music since the nu-rock revolution in the early-2000s.”
While he found it difficult to engage with the first half of the set, the 35-year-old father singled out a moment when singer Rivers Cuomo walked back into the 8000-strong crowd during ‘Troublemaker’ as an early highlight.
“I Instagrammed that,” he said proudly, pointing to a smart phone that had a photo of his child on a family holiday as a backdrop. “You just don’t see bands doing that kind of stuff any more. The last rock gig I went to, I think it was The Pixies at Festival Hall a couple years back, Frank Black was just going through the motions. It was like he was doing it for the money, or something. I was far more impressed when my wife took me to see Pink!. She really puts on a show.”
The pair, however, shared a moment during ‘El Scorcho’ from 1996’s Pinkerton, which the band will perform in full at the Palais in Melbourne tonight. Onlookers report they were mouthing all the words and even attempted to slam dance during that frantic double-time section towards the end. “Goddamn Rivers can really shred,” one of them was overheard saying.
A short intermission and slideshow followed, during which they consumed eight more beers, before the nostalgia trip continued with the “Blue Album” rendered in full. “It was so great knowing exactly what song was coming up when,” said Levin, who timed a toilet break and beer run for ‘Surf Wax America’. “I never really liked that song anyway,” he admitted, coyly.
He said he made it back to his seat in time for ‘Say It Ain’t So’, which began with the diminutive Cuomo playing guitar while standing on a road case. The pair seized the moment, taking a straight-to-Instagram “selfie”, which they hoped to get nostalgic over in another 15 years time.
“It’s easy to be cynical about these kinda gigs, but that song, in particular, gave me goosebumps,” said Levin. “I guess there’s something quite powerful about hearing music from a really pure time in your life blasted out at full volume among people that are there for the exact same reasons as you. All those memories come flooding back, and you’re powerless to stop it.”
Asked if he thought it was strange to be nostalgic for a time in his life when he lived with his parents, had no job, no money, no girlfriend and didn’t really fit in, Levin shrugged. “I guess that’s what drew me to Weezer in the first place.”
After the gig ended with the eight-minute-long ‘Only In Dreams’ (“It’s like they somehow knew they’d be playing this album in full one day,” joked Levin), the pair were spotted drinking shots and dancing to ‘90s hits at Cherry Bar. They reportedly made it home just in time for curfew.
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Pork and Beans
Island in the Sun
The Blue Album
My Name Is Jonas
No One Else
The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
Undone – The Sweater Song
Surf Wax America
Say It Ain’t So
In the Garage
Only in Dreams