A fundamental of Scripture is there’s something somewhere in it guaranteed to make anyone and everyone squirm uncomfortably. A prime example of this is Ecclesiastes, a book soundly ignored by feel good faith fans for its dour, bleak overview of life as something of a cruel cosmic joke in which very little, save finding contentment in whatever you may have and what you do, is of any meaning.
Which naturally leads to Weezer.
The other night, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I attended a Weezer concert in Oakland. For the uninitiated, Weezer has for some twenty-five years produced a run of solid, ofttimes snarling power pop hits while presenting itself as the four-headed king of nerdville, simultaneously lampooning macho rock excesses and yearning for acceptance among the aforementioned macho rock crowd. Weezer concerts are replete with pyrotechnics, elaborate stage sets, and a fair amount of tongue planted firmly in cheek, much of which was apparently lost on the crowd I saw them with who took matters far more seriously than the band. Not that Weezer lacks in professionalism; the band was tight and focused throughout the evening, and band leader Rivers Cuomo plays a superb guitar although even there a subtle hint is dropped he knows this isn’t a testosterone festival: instead of a ubiquitous Gibson Les Paul he uses the decidedly less esteemed and fashionable Gibson SG.
Weezer, in addition to poking a fair amount of fun at hard rock’s excesses, doesn’t follow the rules that usually govern such things when it comes to concert setlists. The accepted norm is to play as many songs as possible from your latest record; Weezer played exactly one. Instead, it mixed older hits, mostly ignoring most of its catalog from the past decade, with tracks from its surprise album of covers from earlier named the Teal Album which preceded by a few weeks its actual latest album entitled the Black Album. Another accepted norm is to avoid playing anything unfamiliar, so naturally during its set the band trotted out a cover of “Up The Beach” by Jane’s Addiction that it has never recorded. Never a dull moment with these guys.
One song the band performed twice, first as a show opener done a cappella in barbershop quartet style with costumes to match, and later on in its normal state, was “Beverly Hills.” In same, Cuomo portrays himself as longing for celebrity status while acknowledging he has no shot at same:
Which naturally leads back to Ecclesiastes.
And learning how to be content with what you have.
Which, regardless of whether it comes from King Solomon or Rivers Cuomo, is good advice.