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April 1, 2019 | Robin Hilton — This is probably the loosest you’ll ever see Weezer. Known for meticulously produced — and electric — live shows, frontman Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band settled in behind the Tiny Desk for an entirely acoustic set without the in-ear monitors, click track or vocal separation they usually employ to stay locked-in and tight for bigger performances. The result is surprisingly intimate, with songs that feel lived-in and rumpled, like an old flannel shirt from the ’90s.
Weezer opened with one of the band’s rarer songs: “Longtime Sunshine,” a 1994 track that’s only appeared as a Rivers Cuomo home recording on bootlegs and compilations, and on the deluxe edition of Pinkerton. Then the band performed a stripped-down version of its electro-pop song “Living in L.A.,” from Weezer’s new self-titled “Black Album,” followed by another deep cut, “Across the Sea.” It’s a song Cuomo originally wrote in his early 20s, inspired by a fan letter he’d received from a young woman in Japan. While beloved by many Gen-Xers who’d first heard it on 1996’s Pinkerton, the song’s lyrics haven’t aged terribly well.
Weezer returned to its newest material to close the set with “High as a Kite,” from the new album. A song of innocence and escapism, Cuomo sings about daydreaming and how he wants to disappear — which is exactly what the band did once the song was over, but not before Cuomo told the crowd, “We are Weezer, from the planet Earth. Have a nice life!”
“Living in L.A.”
“Across the Sea”
“High as a Kite”
Rivers Cuomo: lead vocals, guitar; Brian Bell: guitar, vocals, keys; Scott Shriner: bass guitar; Patrick Wilson: drums
Producers: Robin Hilton, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Kimani Oletu; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Adelaide Sandstrom; Photo: Amir Alfiky/NPR