Two of rock’s biggest names bring their co-headlining tour to Boise and I enjoy an evening of pyrotechnics and amps turned up to eleven.
Opener: Asking Alexandria
Although I had heard of this band, I was not at all familiar with them. Seven songs and about a half hour later, I don’t think they are a band I’ll be spending any time on, but they were fun enough. For their acoustic performance of “Someone, Somewhere”, they asked for the house lights to be turned off and the crowd to shine their phone lights. The Pavilion became aglow with thousands of lights and turned into a sing-along to a tune I didn’t know.
At first I was bummed out that the Boise stop didn’t feature Godsmack as the headliner, but in the end I got to see one of my favorite bands perform for an hour and twenty minutes, which is tough to complain about. Taking their name from an Alice In Chains song, Sully Erna and crew hit me hard way back when their eponymous 1998 album was released. I have been a big fan ever since, through their ups and downs, and this would be my third time seeing them perform. They are touring in support of their fantastic seventh record, When Legends Rise, which is easily their best since Faceless.
This set was very similar to their 2014 stop in the same venue, except the new material this time was far superior. Unfortunately, the band only played two songs from that new album, opening the night with the title track and busting out “Say My Name” three songs later. In between, we got a very rowdy version of “1000hp” that induced widespread crowd participation, as well as the classic fuck you that is “Keep Away” and the childish but still enjoyable “Cryin’ Like a Bitch”.
After tearing through “Awake”, which always makes me think of the Navy (deep cut), Sully introduced “a song for the ladies”: “Something Different”. Side note, for those who have not seen these boys perform: they sure love their pyrotechnics. Aside from Metallica, this was the most explosive fireball assault I have seen, and hit a crescendo during their slow starting but steadily building take on “Voodoo”.
Yes, I was close… and yes, that shit is WARM.
What came next wasn’t a shock, as I saw them do it before – but I still loved it as much as the first time. A second drum kit rolled onto the stage, and Sully took a seat for a ten-minute drum off with his kitman Shannon Larkin. They took turns blowing our minds, and the ever-present pyrotechnics were really not necessary. Let’s just say that Dave Grohl is not the only frontman who is a better drummer than guitar player, I can tell you that.
The closing string of songs was the highlight of the night, starting with the band’s now twenty year old breakthrough, “Whatever”, and when Sully told us that he is “doing the best I ever did, doing the best that I can, doing the best I ever did, now go away!”, it sounded as though he was singing it for the first time. Shinedown’s Zack Myers joined the band for a cover of ACDC’s “Highway To Hell” that looked like about as much fun as grown men can have on a stage, and then “I Stand Alone” sealed the deal.
Who has the most #1 singles in rock and roll history? Shinedown (tied with Van Halen), believe it or not. Yes, these guys have been cranking out radio rock for two decades, and it has been a minute since I saw them at the Western Idaho Fair back in 2001. If Godsmack loves their pyro, Shinedown loves them some lights and lasers.
On an elaborate stage with ramps, platforms, and smoke machines, the sheer number of lasers and lights was almost trance inducing. In all honesty, I was exhausted on this Tuesday night and called it a day about halfway through the set, but there is no doubt that they rocked the house. Aside from “Kill Your Conscience” and “Attention Attention” I did not recognize the songs they played, but in truth I am only that familiar with their first and most recent records.
Yes, my review of their set is lame, but I came for the Godsmack and I got what I came for.
When Legends Rise
Cryin’ Like A Bitch
Say My Name
Double drum solo shenanigans
Highway to Hell (with Zack from Shinedown)
I Stand Alone
Godsmack Spotify playlist link:
My Best of Godsmack Spotify playlist: