Both Weezer and the Foo Fighters had something to prove at the Patriot Center Monday night: that neither was only as good as the last album. Each of the acts released disappointments this year -- Weezer's lackluster "Make Believe" and the Foos' bloated double-disc "In Your Honor" -- giving the headliners more in common than their decade-long careers and alt-rock designations.
On paper, then, the so-called Foozer Tour makes sense. But onstage, the bands showed what a giant umbrella that alt-rock category can be. To wit, take the opening chitchat from each respective frontman:
1) Rivers Cuomo: "We are collectively known as Weezer. And we are here to rock you."
2) Dave Grohl: "AAHHHHHHH!"
But regardless of whether ticket holders preferred Weezer's tortured geek-pop or the Foos' tortured hard rock, chances are no one at the sold-out, three-hour-plus show left disappointed. The bands went to their new albums sparingly, highlighting instead the hits that put them among the few survivors of the '90s pop scene.
Weezer played first, quickly earning the audience's love with the "Green Album's" shimmery lead track, "Don't Let Go," and a cover of their touring partner's lovely "Big Me."
Cuomo, a notorious eccentric, dropped his thick glasses and his stoicism as he paced the stage and pumped the crowd, jerkily throwing himself into "Pinkerton's" anguished love song "El Scorcho" with the abandon of a wallflower finally venturing onto the dance floor.
The foursome kept the momentum going with "Say It Ain't So," "Hash Pipe" and "Photograph," with Cuomo switching places with drummer Patrick Wilson on the latter.
Highlights of the 90-minute set included Cuomo's solo acoustic version of "Island in the Sun" and his invitation to a young woman to contribute some guitar on "Undone (The Sweater Song)"; a low point was his use of a cheesy Framptonian talk box on "Beverly Hills," though the episode was over quickly.
To kick off the Fighters' high-voltage set, Grohl, an Alexandria native, and his three fellow Foos blasted onstage with the title track from "In Your Honor," with its apt opening line: "Can you hear me, hear me screaming?"
For the next 13 songs, Grohl was -- and I mean this as a compliment -- an absolute maniac, bellowing and head-banging and running around the stage as if his early days as a D.C. punk never ended.
Aggressive rockers including "Stacked Actors," "This Is a Call" and latest single "Best of You" got extended treatment, with even softer sides like "Learn to Fly" and "Everlong" turning into a frenzy of drums and guitars. The charismatic lead Foo did stop to catch his breath once in a while, showing off his impeccable ability to chat up a crowd whether the topic is Krispy Kreme or the trouble he got into as a kid.
But Grohl's energy never flagged, with the only bummer of the night being a hint that someday it might: A "demographic check" led the rock veteran to advise the teens in attendance to enjoy their youth while it lasts.
"I'm 36," Grohl said, "and this [bleepin'] hurts!"