My first Weezer concert was the Pinkerton record release show in 1996 at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. Eighteen years and dozens of shows later, I boarded my second Weezer Cruise along with 14 badass rock bands, 3 gonzo comedians, and tons of bootlegged booze, headed out to international waters for a Valentine’s Day Weekend in the Bahamas.
It’s difficult to describe the Weezer Cruise without breaking the Vegas code. This is what i’ve come up with:
Truthfully, my excitement for the Weezer Cruise didn’t begin until I stood jet-lagged and groggy at the JAX airport baggage carousel, and saw Doug Benson get off my flight, stoned as fuck. That was the moment it dawned on me, I was in for a very, very good time…
With the worst southern storm in recent memory threatening the Jacksonville area I bundled up in the airport until finally meeting up with some of the Ozma gang.
We got to the Wyndham Riverwalk hotel, where the party was already well underway. Hipster geeks rubbed elbows while smells of vomit permeated the hotel lobby, and the bar’s carpet stuck to your shoes. After the fatigue of the flights, it was a jarring reality check that the debauchery had only just begun.
The next day we boarded the board our vessel, the Carnival Fascination. Excitement rising with each person who boarded.
The Orwells kicked off the fun on the Lido Deck. Though not yet of drinking age, frontman Mario Cuomo commanded the attention of everyone on the Lido Deck with his lovable angsty antics.
Then the captain himself, Rivers Cuomo, played an intimate “Alone” set, inviting a handful of fans to sing songs with him on stage. His family watched from nearby while Weezer’s “fifth member” Karl Koch meticulously documented the special moment, which ended with a group hug.
Later we all wished Weezer a happy birthday, some of us triple-fisting the free mystery cocktails of ungodly colors.
Toro Y Moi got the dance party started for the night that (despite bars closing down) had only just begun.
Spirits ran high, as did the hangover the next day. But all of us from the Ozma crew rallied early to participate in 10 a.m. yoga with Star. With some delay, we finally reached Freeport, Grand Bahama. The most picturesque tourist trap you’ve ever seen.
After an avid hunt for masks for the Masquerade theme that night, we opted to get back on the boat early to enjoy the hot tub usually obnoxiously filled with inebriated cruisemates.
With the rise of the full moon over the ocean on Valentine’s Day, things were bound to get wacky. Ozma got the crowd all riled up for the rest of the night.
Weezer brought it home with all of the classic crowdpleasers and even introduced a new song, “Back to the Shack.”
After catching a couple songs of Diiv and The Cribs, I found myself back at the bar to catch The Orwells once again. The young Chicago studs oozing sexual tension upped the punk vibe in the casino, where all the best shows happened — in parts because of the intimacy of the space and proximity to the bar.
Late night escapades and absurdity included Ozma family dinner and wild wind mini-golf. The late night turned into early morning room service and after minimal sleep, some sauna yoga with Star.
Then, 1500 hung over fans trying to get off one boat, onto another smaller ferryboat, and onto an island in the abrasive sun. Not a pretty sight. Locals yelling out trying to sell water. Did I say abrasive sun?
Cat Power and her band arrived just in time to bring some fresh energy and catch the next ferry out to the most bizarre private island with stands selling $20 sunscreen and a VIP bar tended by Bahama local Sean who quickly became everyone’s favorite.
Unwavered by some technical difficulties, Chan Marshall hit her stride performing her dreamy melodies with the babeliest of babes backing her up.
Weezer then played each band member’s own favorite songs and an especially fitting, near surreal rendition of Island In The Sun.
Huge beach balls were tossed out into the crowed by the band’s children. Chan herself found volleying balls into the crowd. Rivers’ daughter, Mia confidently joined the stage on keyboards for a song.
After shade and three of the Sean specials (DADT what’s in that shit), I hopped back on the ferry while Weezer blasted simultaneously on both the vessel’s radio, and onstage on the island.
With a disco nap and a beer for dinner, I donned my wig and leather skirt for metal night.
Ash, with their power anthems, and Caveman, with their jangly grooves, kicked off the evening fun. A line wrapped down the grand staircase and into the bar on the next floor 45 minutes before Ozma set in the main room. They owned the room, with fans continuing to chant “Ozma Cruise! Ozma Cruise!” Big thanks to Caveman for returning Ozma’s rider.
I then had my first introduction to Holyf*ck. While not up on my electronica, I was thoroughly impressed by their pulsating beats made by toys, analog film reel contraptions, and effects pedals I’d never seen before. Sincere apologies for grazing on your Stella and Jameson, boys. Oops! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Later that night was maybe the best karaoke dance party I’ve ever been to, run by Jose Galvez from Ozma. I belted with Kenn Shane on Ace of Base and Jenn Clavin from Bleached closed out the party with her rendition of Toxic:
The after hour run around the boat ended in Pat Wilson’s party suite, hanging with all the pretty young things ‘til the wee hours.
The final day was spent drifting at sea.
I got my ass down the huge water slide, only mingled through the “Putt-putt with Pat” [Wilson] and the workout with Scott [Shriner]. Some fans already dawning their superhero garb during the Q & A with the band.
And only on the Weezer Cruise would you hear the entire Lido deck belting Foo Fighters’ Everlong as it blasted on the speakers.
The evening’s hilarity started with comedians Jacob Sirof, Doug Benson, and Adam Devine in the main theater. Tears from belly laughs rolled down my face.
All of the performances on the last night were especially charged with a tangible fervor.
Holyf*ck’s set more intense than the last, and Brooklyn babies Diiv brought the daydream soundscapes topped off with an emotive Cat Power cover.
Bleached, fronted by favorite LA Smell scene darlings Jenn and Jessie Clavin (former Mika Miko sisters), played their last set particularly glammed and amped up.
The crescendo of the last night was Ozma’s final set, which culminated as they were joined onstage by Ash, the Cribs, and several fans and comedians for a nutso cover of The Rentals hit “Friends of P.”
Rivers, in full superhero costume, came out to give high fives to the band after their set. And the after party just kept goin’ thru the night, ‘til it was literally time to disembark the boat and face US Customs agents.
Still intoxicated on the high that is the Weezer Cruise, and maybe some of the previous night’s booze, we did the zombie-walk through the JAX security checkpoint, still so stoked on the magic.
Nothing beats running down halls slapping the ass of a rock star, or walking around day and night with an ice cream cone in your hand. Hard to say whether the weeklong friendships or romances will last beyond, but I for one am still trying to harness the high energy culture that was created on the boat. It’s best summed up in the hypercolor t-shirt they were selling, with 8 inch tall letters that read “I’M ON THE WEEZER CRUISE, BITCH!”