Rivers Cuomo has aged well.
The spectacled, boyish Cuomo, dressed in a tie and khakis, opened Friday's Weezer concert at the Mahaffey Theater by strumming the opening chords of "My Name Is Jonas" with a shy, eyes-half-closed affect that brought to mind Woody Allen playing the clarinet.
In that moment, the 42-year-old front-man could have easily passed for the 23-year-old kid on the cover of the band's classic 1994 debut, the "blue album."
Cuomo was so still and subdued at the beginning of the show that the room actually felt tense. Perhaps the crowd was worried that he was going to phone it in.
But, to steal a cliché from politico-speak, Cuomo knows how to play to his base, and that meant playing the shy nerd card for all it was worth. He knew exactly what he was doing.
Watching the concert progress was like watching an awkward teenager find his confidence before your eyes. With every familiar hit that the band cranked out, the singer got a little bolder—dancing, running up into the packed balconies, and at one point, grabbing the giant Florida flag that sits off to the side of the Mahaffey stage and waving it for the screaming crowd.
By the time Cuomo donned a cowboy hat and western-shuffled across the stage to sing "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived," he might has well have been captain of the football team.
And like the man who wrote them, Weezer's songs have aged well too. Bassist Scott Shriner, drummer Patrick Wilson and guitarist Brian Bell all sounded great as they played a range of crowd-pleasing hits from a balance of the "blue album" ("The Sweater Song"), "Pinkerton" ("Tired of Sex"), the "green album" ("Hash Pipe"), "Maladroit" ("Dope Nose), "Make Believe" ("We Are All On Drugs") and the "red album" ("Troublemaker").
They went light on the later stuff from 2009's critically maligned "Raditude" and 2010's "Hurley."
No matter how you feel about the band's later output, (and Weezer has taken more criticism than most) they're still one of the ultimate, sing-along concert bands. Ironically, the thing that they've taken the most flack for in the second half of their career — going for ultra-catchy simplicity — is a big part of what's made that possible.
"My Name Is Jonas"
"If You're Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)"
"Tired of Sex"
"Don't Let Go"
"Across the Sea"
"Island In The Sun"
"Say It Aint So"
"We Are All On Drugs"
"You Gave Your Love To Me"
"The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"
"Pork and Beans"
"Undone – The Sweater Song"