So I have been a Godsmack fan since their first offering. THis was my 3rd time to see them in concert. As for their 4th and latest CD, it was the weakest, IMO, of all of their releases and, normally, as angry bands stay around, their emotion wanes and the CD’s and stage performances suffer. However, in the back of my mind, I remembered Godsmack’s last show and how good it was and decided I was going anyway.
The concert was held in our Civic Center’s concert hall. All seats (no Gen. Ad. floorspace) and no smoking (hooray), but plenty of $6 beer. The stage had some ramps, lights and one big screen. Definitely more minimalist as headlining rock shows go. The show started with very entertaing tour footage on the screen and AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock accompanying it. The footage went on throughout the song as the excitement mounted and then it flashed to live footage of the band backstage and the camera followed them onstage as the song ended and then lead singer Sully Erna started belting out the first song.
Now for those of you who have little or a passing interest, Godsmack’s lead singer is a devout Wiccan from Boston and when he converses with the crowd, the accent shines. The mysticism flows in and out of many of the songs and his ass-kicking lyrics delivered through neck-vein popping vocals are raw, yet, often times melodic. Listening to the CD is one thing, but showing up for a concert and seeing how it seems like the whole band enjoys what they are doing and screams out with such emotion is something different. It is like this is their first big tour every time I have seen them. In fact, this is their second round of dates in support for this album.
Voodoo, a slower tune, that some of you might recognize, featured a solo on a small drum and bongo set by the lead singer the first two times I saw Godsmack. So they break into Voodoo Thursday night and I see no bongo set and I am a bit dissapointed. I guess they are tired of the same schtick and just do the song. Sully dissappears, the drummer’s drumset moves to the right front of the stage and from directly behind him comes a second complete drum set including, you guessed it, bongos that moves to the left front. They proceed to trade off solos sticks flying, bongos beating, and then the two sets rotate to face one another and they start a dueling drums bit. THis then breaks into a sing-a-long with the audience doing all the words of War Pigs by Black Sabbath complete with words for us on the screen and the 2 wailing on the drums the whole time. I imagine this whole part of the show went on for 15 minutes or so and it was simply amazing. Drum solos can get pretty routine and lame after your 50th one, but the interplay between the two the different “rhythms” (for lack of a better term) made it fresh the whole way through. I was, obviously, enthralled.
Even the guitar solos were good as they broke into and out of them thoughout the entire show with SUlly doing a couple as well as the bass and lead guitars having their turns. Never too long so as to form a lull.
The screen was relied on sporadically to add to the entertainment. I would guess that through maybe half the songs it was completely black. Whereas during the Tool show, I was watching the screen constantly to add to the performance, throughout this show, I barely realized anything else was going on outside of the four people on stage. There is little need to rely on theatrics, lasers, or creative video when the band provides everything you need.
I cannot point to any one thing outside of my descriptions above that makes Godsmack so entertaining. Probably because it is not one thing, but a merging of multiple facets that the band has worked on to make it a complete show that is a joy to watch. The band simply gets up there and does their thing with such fluidity and precision that there is not much time to breathe in between songs nor is their a let-up in the action or intensity. Even the more ballad-y songs (of which there were 2 performed I thin) fit in seemlessly as a brief, but still wonderfully performed respite. Sully conversed with the crowd just enough. They did an encore and I could have watched another 2 hours of them.
If you know a couple or three of their songs and Godsmack rolls through your town, I would highly suggest going if you want to see a band that thoroughly enjoys what they are doing and gives it all they have each night out. Great rock show!!!