–by Sean Derrick
Hard rockers Godsmack finally returned to the Saint Louis area after seven years with a show at The Family Arena in Saint Charles.
The show was the tour finale for the band, who have been touring virtually nonstop since their latest album When Legends Rise came out in the spring of 2018.
Vocalist/guitarist Sully Erna was at his usual top-notch form, growling through classic Godsmack songs like “Awake”, “Keep Away”, and “Whatever”.
Decked out in all black, save for a white headband, Erna let the music do most of the talking throughout the night, only addressing the crowd in between a few songs. Most notably before the song “Under your Scars” where Erna talked about the increasing loss of friends who took their own lives and how nearly everyone has been touched in one way or another by friends or family that have taken their own life, or died due to addiction or mental health issues arising from a myriad of things. He mentioned artists like Layne Staley, Chester Bennington, and Chris Cornell.
The band started a foundation this spring called the Scars Foundation , a non-profit charity that deal with depression, bullying, addiction, suicide prevention, PTSD, abuse and more. The idea is to bring awareness of mental health issues and remove the stigma that is attached to it. More information can be found here.
Erna also talked before “Whatever” about the digital age. “I get it, I do. We live in a digital world. You want to keep some memory of the show for yourself.” Erna said. “But you can never replicate a live show from a computer screen.” And he is right. It’s so easy to whip out your phone and try to take a video, but the vividness cannot be replicated, the moment. the smell, the bombastic recoil of the bass or kick drum, or the heat of flames (of a band uses pyro). I can’t truly replicate it here, I can only tell you how it made me feel and what some of the highlights were.
What the show did make me feel was invigorated and excited. Excited that a rock show was truly like a rock show and not a watered-down showpiece for the eyes only. Godsmack has that special knack that incorporates the music with the feel and attitude of a real rock show, highlighted by “Batalla De Los Tambores” the drum-off between drummer Shannon Larkin and Erna, who came out on a second set of drums. This is always a highlight of Godsmack’s set as they incorporated several classic songs like AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Metallica’ “Enter Sandman”, Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”, and Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” into the drum off.
Over the course of the 90 minute show Erna and the band (which also includes Tony Rombola – guitars and Robbie Merrill – bass) were tight and full of energy, without any indication that they have been on the road for most of the past year and a half.
Successful tour that kicked ass? Check!
Halestorm supported with Monster Truck opening.
Halestorm, who made their third appearance in the Gateway City in the past year, gets better every time I see them. Siblings Lzzy and Arejay Hale anchored the lively hour long set with extended jams and solos from guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist John Smith showcased their individual talents.
Monster Truck opened with a bluesy/southern rock set that won over the crowd. A Canadian band performing southern rock may not be the first thing you think of when you think southern rock, but with this band maybe you should.
Check out pics from the show after the setlists below.
When Legends Rise
Say My Name
Cryin’ Like a Bitch
Take It to the Edge
Batalla De Los Tambores
Under Your Scars
Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover with Jon Harvey and Jeremy Widerman of Monster Truck, and Arejay Hale of Halestorm. Jon Harvey sang lead)
I Stand Alone
Do Not Disturb
Love Bites (So Do I)
I Get Off
Freak Like Me
Here’s to Us
I Miss the Misery