At the beginning of the month I drove down to Richmond to catch Weezer at the National with a cadre of fellow Weezer Cruisers from the DC area and Pennsylvania. Thanks to the generosity of another Weezer Cruiser and Rivers, we all got VIP passes to hang out with Rivers after the show, which was amazing. But we’ll get to that.
The Last Internationale opened. I’d never heard of them before but they were good. It’s Brad Wilk’s new band (drummer of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave). His drumming in this setup seemed more simplistic compared to Rage but it was still very powerful. The female on lead vocals and bass had a great voice. The lyrics and titles of the songs were as political as you would expect with someone from Rage in the band, i.e. “Workers of the World Unite!” and such.
Weezer kicked things off with “My Name Is Jonas” (one of their go to opening songs along with “Hash Pipe” and “Memories” – both of which they’d play later in the set). I got to Richmond early enough that we were right up in the front. Other than the theater shows on both of the cruises, this was the smallest venue I’d ever seen Weezer play in, which was a cool experience. I love the National as a venue. If it wasn’t two hours away I’d go more often.
The boys were on point, delivering a hits-heavy set with some special treats thrown in like Scott singing “Dope Nose” and Pat singing “Photograph” and a cover of “Song 2” (which I’d heard bootlegs of but never seen live) while Rivers took over for him on the drums. Weezer has been picking a different song each night to have the audience film. This show’s song was “Surf Wax America” which you can check out here. They are using an app that mashes up everyone’s video into one video, which is neat. My phone was almost dead otherwise I would have joined in.
Weezer busted out their new song “Back to the Shack,” which I enjoy more each time I hear it. About halfway through the set we noticed Rivers’ son rocking out on the side of the stage with his ukulele. I’m not a big kids person, but it was adorable. He was just jamming on stage with his dad, making the devil horns hand symbol to the crowd and trying to get further and further onto the stage with his mother occasionally pulling him back closer to the side. He can’t be more than three years old and he already has great stage presence.
They ended a two-song encore with a great rendition of “Buddy Holly” before everyone in the band joining Pat on the drums for a percussion jam session to round out the show.
After the show, we headed upstairs to meet with Rivers. I’ve met him several times now and this was the most relaxed he’s been. We chatted for a good 40 minutes about the new album, his kids, how we became Weezer fans, the cruise, and lots of other stuff. It was an awesome experience, other than the drive home to DC at 12:30am. Thank God for 24-hr Wawas to late night road trips.