The Time I Cried At A Weezer Show

Photo courtesy of Brianna Griepentrog for Black is the New AP Style. View full concert gallery here


Weezer, Pixies, and Basement. Three amazing bands, all under one roof, for one evening—talk about a dream coming true.

Weezer especially holds a place in my heart. Like every other 20- and 30-something, I grew up listening to every color-coded album. I remember being in the back seat of the car, my mom cranking up “Buddy Holly” and singing, “oooh-weee-oooh”. And that was just the start. Make Believe was there in my rebellious teenage years of love and heartbreak. Pinkerton and the Red Album saw me through college.  But overall the album that will always win hands down and I continue to have the CD in my car: the Blue Album.

When I was offered the job to photograph Weezer, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. When the night came—March 31, 2019—my heart was racing. I would be in arm’s length of the band.

They opened up with a unique barbershop quartet version of “Pork and Beans” which was so charming—including their boater suits and hats. After their opening Happy Days-style intro I headed down to the pit.

“This is it. This is it. I’m finally going to be photographing one of my all-time favorite bands,” was all I could think.  Before I knew it, the moment was here: I was photographing Rivers then Scott then back to Rivers then Brian then Patrick and repeat. In that moment capturing the guys through my lens, the iconic cover “Africa” by Toto playing in the background, in my head I just couldn’t believe this moment was actually happening. Cry number one.

You better believe those three songs (that were allowed to be photographed) flew by in seconds, but that was okay because I was ready to get into my seat to watch the rest of the show. So, I started walking over to my seat, (currently playing: “Undone – The Sweater Song”) and once I found it, sitting in the seat next to me was a young guy, probably mid-30s, sitting alone, super buff and covered in tattoos, singing his heart out—his arms waving up in the air (like he just don’t care) and I stood right next to him, smiled and started singing my heart out too.

They just ended “Can’t Knock the Hustle” and Rivers goes off stage; “Paranoid”, a Black Sabbath cover, starts playing and you see Rivers on a boat floating in the crowd. What?! This was so cool.

Rivers proceeds to sail to the middle of the coliseum before his boat stops. He starts playing a solo acoustic version of “Perfect Situation”. The crowd took out their cell phones and the coliseum lit up. I will never forget that moment; it was just something you had to be there to experience. Harmony and happiness. Cry number two.

The show proceeded to go on, I’m jumping around, the guy next to me is rocking out, I look over and there is an older couple dancing and singing together. I’m realizing how much this band means to everyone.

Weezer’s last song was “Say It Ain’t So” and what a finale. There were flames from the ceiling and all around the stage. The coliseum was so loud at that instant, everyone was singing along. This is epic. Every time the fire blew on the stage the coliseum lit up. I looked around during those moments of brightness and noticed everyone singing, having a great time and was just really inspired how music brings everyone together. Everyone leaves their crazy lives behind for a night to sing to their favorite songs in a coliseum full of strangers. Strangers who you rock out with.

The song ends, the band goes to the front of the stage to say thanks to their fans and take a final bow. Cheering, screaming, jumping. Then to see the entire coliseum slowly starts to throw up the famous “W” hands until the whole place had their hands up in the air. Cry number three.

I’ll never forget that night. A night when I realized how far I have come as a photographer. How proud I was of myself that I was able to photograph one of my favorite bands - a lot of people can’t say they have got to do that in their lifetime. And especially how jealous my parents were. Bet they never thought all those times we were singing Weezer in the car that I’d photograph them and get to have these amazing experiences.  I’ve never been to a show in my life where I knew every single word to every single song that was played.   =W=

- Brianna Griepentrog, photographer