Twenty-five years ago, Godsmack and Staind shared the stage at the 1998 Warped Tour. In 2023, the two hard rock bands are touring together, doing 25 cities for an epic concert event.
Godsmack and Staind were set to take the stage with opener Nothing More. However, in the middle of the tour – a few days before this show – Nothing More had to back out in an effort to deal with personal matters, specifically those of front-man Jonny Hawkins.
Amidst publicity of the December 2021 domestic violence incident with his then girlfriend, the band decided the most respectful thing they could do for fellow musicians Godsmack and Staind was to remove themselves from the rest of the tour. Thankfully, Godsmack and Staind were able to get secure Beastie Boys Mix Master Mike to help kick off the rest of their concerts.
Mix Master Mike (Michael Schwartz) played a hodge podge of songs like “Go Your Own Way,” “Eruption,” “Jump Around,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” to start the night out, while interacting with the audience. Of course, there were some of his own Beastie Boys hits scratched in with them. The crowd sang along with the wildly-popular song choices, as they always do well with the beer-guzzling 30-50-year-old crowds, which was the majority of the fan base this night.
It was a warm Thursday evening in Raleigh, NC when Godsmack and Staind were set to take the stage. Thankfully, the humidity had laid off so it wasn’t too bad. The venue was packed and the lawn was decorated with chairs and blankets. There was a nice sized VIP crowd standing on the side of the stage, getting ready to see the first headliner of the night, Staind, up close and personal. They all had their phones ready for the band’s big entrance.
Front-man Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April, and drummer Sal Giancarelli all took the stage and started strong with their newest single, “Lowest In Me.”
Mushok was the star of the show tonight. He was on fire with his riffs, his long hair was flinging sweat as he head banged, and he was powerful onstage.
I was close enough to the stage to see Lewis sneak puffs from his cigarette between songs; he always had one lit. It hasn’t affected his voice though because he sounded phenomenal as always.
Staind put on a 15-song set which included “Not Again,” “Home,” and “Eyes Wide Open.” It was after “Something to Remind You” that Lewis did a solo acoustic of “Epiphany.”
They played my two favorite songs, “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile,” before they closed their set out with “Mudshovel.”
Staind will have a new album out later this year called “Confessions of the Fallen.” Lewis has also created his own solo album, and it should be out soon as well.
There was a short break between sets, giving everyone just enough time to rehydrate, wait in the long-ass bathroom lines, and get back to their spots to watch the metal legends, Godsmack.
Mix Master Mike was on the stage, killin’ the turntables. The first of two backdrops fell to the floor, leaving the crowd staring at the Godsmack logo and soon, with a massive explosion that rang over the night, the last curtain fell and the band – in all its glory – started off with their signature opening song, “When Legends Rise.”
The crowd went crazy and continued with that energy level as the band played “Cryin’ Like a Bitch!!,” “You and I,” and “Soul on Fire.”
Godsmack went all out on the pyrotechnics tonight; fire shot up from the stage most of the evening with spurts of explosions taking place in between. The lights were like a solar flare at some points and went into strobe effects at other times, leaving you partially blinded because they were so bright. There were so many lights pointing in every direction, changing colors and illuminating the audience and band.
But fans were there for music and front-man Erna knows this. Erna got rid of all the frills; told the men to put their ladies on their shoulders to “make this place look like a party tonight,” and then had all the lights turned off while they played “Something Different,” which he dedicated to all the ladies. The only illumination came from the flashlights on our cell phones and the moon above.
After “Voodoo,” Erna and Shannon Larkin (drummer) performed their staple, “Batalla de los tambores,” which is when the have the drumming duel. Erna has been playing drums since he was three, so he can hold his own. It’s awesome to watch two talented musicians show off.
To close the set, Godsmack played their newest single, “Surrender,” from their “Lighting Up the Sky” album. Godsmack wasn’t done though; they were being called back out by the crowd for an encore and willingly performed “Under Your Scars” and “I Stand Alone,” before disappearing into the night to their next city, next event.
Lucky for you, they will all be up in New York and New Jersey before heading to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin and then off to the West Coast.
They will be in Irvine at the FivePoint Amphitheatre on August 24th. Both Staind and Godsmack put on an incredible show, but together, they are epic!