Local Lehigh Valley band Harkland got a moment in the spotlight opening for Weezer. An odd fit for them, as their music strays more towards a soulful country vibe, but they sounded decent nonetheless. Vocalist Paulie Knakk was emotional and comfortable on the big stage playing in front of thousands. Shortly afterwards the band went from playing on one of the biggest stages in the Lehigh Valley to headlining a show at the Steel Pub. Talk about a change of pace. And then, on to Weezer.
Fans looking for any deep cuts from Weezer weren’t in for treat at a recent show at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center. It seems the band took LCD Soundsystem’s documentary title (“Shut Up and Play The Hits”) a little too seriously, playing a set almost entirely compromised of hit singles and only one song released in the past three years.
That, however, was not a downfall of this show. Weezer’s classics, of which there are now many, are enduring and still amazingly fresh. Even songs that were initially panned as terrible, such as El Scorcho and The Good Life, have become fan favorites and deep cuts in their own way. Although the crowds still obviously prefer the early Blue Album material, Weezer’s continued success keeps less personal and more frivolously poppy songs like “Pork and Beans” and “Beverly Hills” in their sets, reminding the crowd that this isn’t necessarily a “best of” show.
Rivers Cuomo curated a venue-wide sing-a-long interspersed with piercing guitar melodies played by himself and guitarist Brian Bell leaning on one another, creeped across the side stage while a spotlight followed him, and gave a few shout outs to Bethlehem throughout the show. Weezer’s energy level was perfect for the crowd size at the Sands. Previous shows at larger venues like the Susquehanna Bank Center seemed overwrought and insincere. The singles, the venue, the fans, and the band all crafted the evening into possibly one of the finest one could have at a Weezer show. Sure, maybe a cover song and a more obscure song might’ve been nice, but in reality all the fans would’ve been screaming, “Shut up and play the hits!”