While virtual live stream concerts are becoming the new normal for now, there are many different ways to put on a show all your own. American rock band Weezer took to the challenge and teamed up with the LA Philharmonic. From The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, California, Weezer, along with the LA Philharmonic and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), performed an unforgettable evening filled with new songs as well as old classics.
This show was complete with a fan-generated audience and chat to the right of the stream, as well as many different merch options below. Sometimes, during live stream chat sessions with other fans, people can really get a strong sense of community. It can even get overwhelming actually. There’s nothing like going to a live concert of your favorite band and seeing all the other fans there, it’s a very unifying experience. With a few simple comments in the chat during the stream, the same sort of thing happened. Just a simple “this is my first concert” and “I’m glad I could share this with you all” was all it took for that unifying feeling to be created.
This show was distinct and fun for several reasons. The first being that Weezer performed on the concert hall stage with a conductor and the LA Philharmonic. The orchestra was located directly behind the band, only separated by plexiglass. Some of the different camera angles would focus on the conductor, and some would even zoom in on the sheet music at the individual music stands of the musicians. The musicians were spread out throughout the stage, and if they were playing a string instrument, they performed with a mask on. It was a very COVID-friendly evening.
Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Rivers Cuomo began the night screen right, seated at a piano. The show kicked off with the entirety of Weezer’s newest album, OK Human (2021). In the center of the stage, just on the backside of the plexiglass and the conductor was drummer Patrick Wilson. Bassist Scott Shriner and guitar player Brian Bell were also there on the stage, perfectly distanced and spaced out from each other.
Opening the show was the first track from OK Human (2021), “All My Favorite Songs,” and it was great to blend the rock feel with the classical vibe of the orchestra behind them. This song from the album definitely has the same kind of feel as an AJR song, the same chords and fun lyrics that kind of bounce around. It was a very fun and light way to start off the show.
As Weezer and the LA Philharmonic transitioned into the next tune, it was very seamless. Moving down the set list, the next song in order was “Aloo Gobi.” This song was just as fun and energetic as the first, and there was a great connection between Weezer and the orchestra behind them. For this being the first time performing these songs, it was very well executed, and the fans agreed that they cannot wait to hear these songs more often.
As the show continued and Weezer continued through the track list of OK Human, the transitions between songs became even more seamless. It’s definitely a fun feeling while listening to an album, and the track you were previously listening to fades and blends so effortlessly into the next.
Later in the show, Weezer hit the slower songs on the album, like the song “Bird with a Broken Wing.” While it was slower, it was still one of those songs that fans in the chat really enjoyed because of the lovely lyricality of it. The camera very elegantly moved around the room to make sure the audience could see the violins, cellos and viola’s being conducted. The lighting for this song had changed from the normal concert hall setting to a little bit more intense and had darker blue projections. It reflected the sort of melancholy feeling that the song was giving.
Following “Bird with a Broken Wing,” the next song was “Dead Roses.” Fans in the virtual audience talked about how this was a favorite because it was still on the slower side and had some beautiful lyrics. The lighting faded and changed for this song just as seamlessly as the transitions between songs. The lighting on stage was a little bit more red and maroon now. It was a very rosy feel for this one.
The next two tracks—“Everything Happens for a Reason” and “Here Comes the Rain”—were fun. “Everything Happens for a Reason,” while only being about 23 seconds in length, was kind of a quick interlude for “Here Comes the Rain.” “Here Comes the Rain” was a very bright and upbeat song that helped close out the album just before the last song. Having these two songs paired together was great, the first part introduced the second part in such a way that made it feel like a very quick instrumental break.
Once Weezer had finished all of OK Human, fans thought that was the whole show and the rest was over. But to their excitement, they were wrong! As if to say, “ha, you didn’t think that was it did you?” Weezer began the intro to the song “Hero,” which is the second single released from their upcoming album Van Weezer, coming out in May. This song normally is a very guitar-heavy and intense rock song, but tonight, they played it more on the acoustic side. Fans in the chat were loving this choice and started commenting things like, “please release this version!” Taking this song a little bit slower and less rock-heavy was something of a treat for everyone.
Continuing along with the list of Weezer hits, there was an outdoor aerial shot of The Walt Disney Concert Hall, which then a cut back to the stage, and Rivers Cuomo had picked up an acoustic guitar and walked closer to the center of the stage. There was a single spotlight on him as he began to play the 1994 hit “Say It Ain’t So” (from the self-titled album Weezer). Fans were losing their mind as he played very candidly and acoustically. This was another little treat the fans were not expecting, and they could not be happier to hear it tonight. A fan had commented, “’Say It Ain’t So’ is one of my favs, and haven’t heard acoustically in so long. Thank you for this, I needed it!”
Continuing to surprise the fans and kicking the energy back up with a fun fan favorite, the band and the orchestra reunited onstage to perform the band’s most popular tune, “Island In The Sun,” from the 2001 album Weezer (Green Album). This fun, beachy anthem made everything feel so light and free. It’s definitely one of those feel-good songs, and you can’t help but just nod along to it. The fans were commenting sun emojis throughout the song, which really made it feel like that summer beach party.
To finish out the show, there was one final camera angle that was a close-up of sheet music on a stand. When it quickly came into focus, it read “Buddy Holly.” Fans were going crazy in the chat and were so excited for what was to come. Just as the sheet music alluded to, Weezer and the LA Philharmonic closed the show with “Buddy Holly” (Weezer, 1994). This was a fun and upbeat song that was the perfect high energy closer for the evening.
With an extensive and fun set list, Weezer, along with the LA Philharmonic and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, put on a show that was high energy and showcased so much talent in one room. There were very talented musicians and individuals side by side (while 6 feet apart of course) throughout the room. OK Human, along with some older popular Weezer songs, was the perfect way to keep the show just as energetic and exciting as always.