Tonight, I saw Weezer for the first time. I've always thought they were a great pop-metal band - all glittery hooks and no filler - but they're the sort of band you don't have to actually buy the CDs, since their music is practically inescapable. You always know someone who already has all the records; it's always playing on the radio. They don't have a great track record live, either. But tonight I got a contact buzz - not only from the old dude smoking a joint right next to us, but from the giddy, electric frenzy of their fan base.
Who knew Weezer had such rabid fans? I know this show is getting some Scene coverage, so I'll leave the particulars of the set and show out. Let me just say this: I'm a casual fan, and by casual I mean I've heard pretty much every song and know most of the words. These people know every nuance, every drum fill, every lick, every groove, every vocable. These people are nuts. Some of them are apparently shirtless, muscular and wear gold chains. Some of them drove up from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and want everybody to know about it. Some of them high-five each other and embrace in group hugs after each song. I was nailed in the head at least three times by flailing limbs, and I eventually turned around to see just who this monstrosity was behind me exhaling gusts of hot breath down my back. She looked exactly like I thought she would: like someone who could kick my ass.
But the real point of the post is this: I had a backstage pass. That's right - an insider chance to meet the notoriously remote Rivers Cuomo. Gone are the days when roadies watched for a nod from the frontman to escort lucky ladies backstage to discuss foreign policy after the rock show. Now you need a shiny patch, visible at all times, and a lot of patience.
We waited outside the big black curtain that separates rock gods from ordinary people. And waited. I'm really not that into the celebrity thing. Meeting a celebrity is at worst a disappointment, and at best a blur, a whirlwhind meet and greet that's over in five seconds before you can remember to say that cool thing you were rehearsing all night that would magically distinguish you from every other tongue-tied slobbering idiot in front of you. Well, I hadn't rehearsed anything, but I wasn't going to slobber, and I certainly wasn't going to cry like the young woman next to us who drove all the way from Knoxville, paid 20 bucks for a VIP pass off some girl who was really just hot for the guitar tech, and kept running to the bathroom to check her makeup because she had been tearing up so much just thinking about being in front of Rivers. But really it's pretty cool how rock stars want to mingle with us regular folks sometimes, shooting the shit, hearing what we really think about their new record or how the show went. After all, they're just regular people, too, once you think about it.
Then it happened. The curtain parted, bathing us in a bright ray of fluorescent light. A security guard poked his head out and informed us that the meet and greet was cancelled. The band was hot and tired, and didn't feel like talking. Oh - and could we please leave - immediately?