Weezer with the LA Philharmonic and YOLA at the Walt Disney Concert Hall online
LA alt-rock stalwarts Weezer join up with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra and YOLA (the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall for a special show, for the first time playing their latest album, January’s OK Human, in full. The idea of creating an album with a full orchestra along with rock instrumentation was conceived in 2017. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo cited Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’s seminal album, Pet Sounds (recorded with a full orchestra at Wilson’s behest), as an inspiration. Indeed, Cuomo’s keening vocals owe something to Wilson’s. The title is a play on Radiohead’s 1997 album, OK Computer, and the result is sincere and delicately crafted.
The live stream has the high production values one might expect, the camera swooping over a twilit LA and the band members warming up, before the scene coalesces in the concert hall. The film has been especially designed to be cohesive with the sound. The hour-long set comprises all 12 songs on the album, ending with some classics from a career that has lasted since 1992.
The songs are well-made and thoughtful, with Wilson’s influence especially clear on the beautifully melancholy Dead Roses – a highlight of baroque tragedy with Beatles-inspired chords. Another standout is a cover of Toto’s Africa, which takes a sublime song and pulls focus onto the complex instrumentation that builds through its translation for orchestra. It’s a satisfying expansion on an evergreen power ballad. The show ends with a rendition of their most recognisable hit, 1994’s Buddy Holly.
OK Human has received positive reviews and is worth a listen, however Cuomo’s voice is an acquired taste and, unfortunately, there are some obvious tuning issues here that mean that this concert is for the fans only.
For further information and future events visit Weezer’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Grapes of Wrath here: