Weezer: O2 Apollo, Manchester

If any band can cause a lot of debate amongst fans of alternative music in the past few decades it’s Weezer. Whilst their debut self titled ‘Blue Album’ has been pretty universally loved since it was released back in 1994 and it’s follow-up ‘Pinkerton’ has gained a cult following over the years; the rest of their 23 year back catalogue has been divisive. The sound has changed drastically over time, with many fans wishing they’d revert back to the fuzzy power chord days of the early albums. This year’s “Pacific Daydream”, with it’s cleaner and more mainstream radio appeal, feels a world away.

All of this means it’s fairly interesting to see what kind of setlist they play. Tonight starts with the intro of ‘White Album’ single ‘California Kids’, but having always been a band with a sense of humour, they instead kick into fan’s favourite ‘The World Has Turned and Left Me Here’ from the first album. It’s the first time they’ve played this live in 3 years and the crowd go wild for it.

The lively atmosphere continues as Weezer roll back the years with classics like ‘The Good Life’ & ‘No One Else’ though the mood noticeably drops as they follow these up with the previously teased ‘California Kids’. The audience is quickly won back however through with further hits from the first 2 records plus a massive response to ‘Pork and Beans’, one of the bigger hits from the middle of Weezer’s chronology.

Again though, the room’s volume drops as they play back to back songs from last year’s ‘White Album’ plus new single ‘Happy Hour’. It might seem odd to those not familiar with Weezer that they only play two songs from ‘Pacific Daydream’ tonight, though looking at the amount of people who’ve taken this opportunity to go to the bar, toilet or just look at their phone; it’s easy to see why. The majority of the room is made up of fans of the early material, who’ve gamble on watching them now in the hope they play some of their old hits.

They weren’t to be disappointed as more hits from ‘Blue Album’ & ‘Green Album’ follow; with a brief cover of Mike Posner’s ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’ shoehorned in the middle. It feels a little drab, especially thrown in the middle of classic singles like ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’ and ‘Island in the Sun’, but it’s been something of a staple on this whole tour.

‘Feels like Summer’ is the second song on tonight’s setlist taken from Weezer’s latest full-length and whilst it gets a better reception than ‘Happy Hour’ did, it’s still paltry compared to the rest of the set. This is emphasized more so as the set is rounded off with more hit singles from Weezer’s past such as ‘Hash Pipe’, ‘Say it Ain’t So’ and the usually divisive ‘Beverly Hills’ which also gets a big cheer.

The biggest cheer though however is probably during the confetti laden encore of ‘Buddy Holly’ which is just further affirmation that whilst there are fans of the new material, the core will always crave the hits of the past.