It’s been a minute since Warped Tour has been the talk of the music biz, but their offspring (no pun intended) sure are making waves. It was a warm evening by any standard of weather prognostication, but the temps were only part of the story. You see, Warped Tour vets Godsmack and Staind were about to share a stage again just like back in the day. This time around, they had Mix Master Mike along for the ride.
It was August 24th and many had their mind on more Trumpian things that day… that is, until this show licked off its boots and took no prisoners. As the show slowly rolled in, the atmosphere became palpable. Then just like that, the mayhem, began with Flat Black.
Hailing from a little bit of everywhere, the band rushed the stage as if their hair was on fire. Sporting what is best described as the best smile in all the music business, Wrex Horton led the band, spinning like a top to “Lightning!”
Despite being the opener, the crowd was immediately into their delivery of their upbeat style of metal infused-psycho-punk: The Five Finger influence was on full display.
With wicked licks, Jason Hook (guitar) and Nick Diltz (bass) crushed it, leading the band into a slew of hits the early birds were into; “Halo,” and “Wash It All Away.”
As the crowd rolled in, Horton acknowledged all the “crazy motherfuckers” in the house as they closed another high-velocity tunes, “It’s Your Lack of Respect.” Drummer Rob Pierce went off, while the entire band simply electrified the crowd to kick things off at FivePoint.
It didn’t take long for the next entertainer to take the stage; he was literally on starting blocks he was so eager to get out there. Known as the fourth Beastie Boy and DMC DJ champ,
Mix Master Mike bum-rushed the stage. Admittedly, it was a different kinda choice for a DJ for this type of heavy rock-metal-whatever you want to call it show, but it worked! Living up to his name, there was mixing and scratching to heavy metal chords to some of the crowd favorites: Slayer, Disturbed, Pantera, and other more mainstream jams, House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” in a mix you had to be there to believe. Mike knew what he was doing and got the crowd hyped and ready for the headliners.
As the sun finally began to sink into the Pacific, Staind took the stage. They came out a little more lowkey than Mix Master Mike, but that was OK, because from note number one, front-man Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April, and drummer Sal Giancarelli shredded with their latest, “Lowest In Me.”
Mushok took no prisoners as he demonstrated his guitar prowess to all comers. With his long hair flowing in the wind, he took command of the stage.
As the crowd watched and listened in amazement, Lewis took puffs off his cig between songs.
Needless to say, it was the perpetual cig that was constantly lit. Yet, it didn’t impact him at all as he crooned to the crowd.
After all was said and done, Staind belted out the songs the crowd came to hear – 15 of them, to be exact. The hit parade included “Not Again,” “Home,” and “Eyes Wide Open.” It was after “Something to Remind You” that Lewis did a solo acoustic of “Epiphany.”
Other set highlights were “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile;” the crowd lost its friggen’ mind to that one. The crowd also appreciated the sounds that Staind put out as they got a standing O to “Mudshovel” as the band bid everyone at FivePoint a good night!
The between set wait wasn’t too bad for the break. It gave you just enough time to do what you needed to before Godsmack took the stage. There was a nice video program that gave history on the band and lead singer Sully Erna. It gave the background on what made him who he is, good, bad and indifferent, and what trials he had to go through to be where he is today.
Then, right on cue, Mix Master Mike came back on the video monitors to amp the crowd with an introduction of the main event, Godsmack!
Immediately Erna went off. The band was electrifying, and the pyrotechnics were perfect for this band. They led off appropriately with “When Legends Rise” and “1000hp,” then after a quick hello, the mayhem ensued with “Cryin’ Like a Bitch!!,” “You and I,” and “Soul on Fire.”
Like a cosmic array from Planet X, strobe lights and other particulates of multi-colored lights filled the amphitheater. What stands out about Erna is deep down, he is a showman. Sure, he comes off as a badass, but he also gives the crowd what they want. He even told all the guys to put their ladies on their shoulders to “make this place look like a party tonight.” Some did, and some didn’t, but it was funny just to see this spectacle and Erna was eating it up as the crowd loved his onstage antics.
Then the serious moments came to pass as the crowd raged to “Something Different,” which Erna dedicated to all the ladies. The only lights that were to be seen for that one came everyone’s cell phones and the moonlight that was dancing in the stars. Also groovin’ was “What About Me,” “Awake,” and “Surrender.” The crowd went off and took it to another level as they somehow knew what was coming.
The show highlight was next; bassist Robbie Merrill started the riff to “Voodoo.” The crowd sang in unison as Erna delivered an eerie and haunting baritone voice only he could pull off. “I’m not the one who’s so far away / When I feel the snakebite enter my veins!”
Also notable was drummer Shannon Larkin’s drum set prowess and when joined by Erna for an epic drum battle worth of Animal of Muppets fame! It was the “Batalla de los tambores,” which in layman’s terms, is drum off. It was the animated and beyond to cool to watch and hear.
The band played bits and pieces of a few covers, instrumental only of course – AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica, and a few others – before going their mega-hit “Whatever.”
Finally, the night was almost complete as they exited stage left to “Surrender.” As all kickass bands with a catalog of hits do, they listen to the crowd and if you cheer loud enough, they will come back out, as the old adage goes. Sure enough, Godsmack took to the stage once again for an encore performance. They started off with “Under Your Scars” and then “I Stand Alone” before slipping into the shadow of darkness to the near-deafening sounds of the near-capacity crowd.
What a show for all to take in; that tells you something when a band can play and play and play as they make you forget about life for a while, and these bands did just that.