Sunday, December 15, 2013

Live Review - Queens of the Stone Age @ Barclays Center

The success of Queens of the Stone Age has been a steady sustained incline since they arrived in 1998. Thanks to their first two albums they became critical darlings, but in 2002, with the release of Songs for the Deaf, they became international rock radio superstars. They managed to keep that momentum going with 2005's Lullabies To Paralyze and then slipping a bit in 2007 with Era Vulgaris. Thanks to a few side projects, a few line-up changes and a six year wait, Queens of the Stone Age roared back this year with one of the best albums of their career and one of the best of the year, the Grammy nominated ....Like Clockwork. To celebrate the triumph of success that their new album brought on, they staged their very first headlining arena tour which landed at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday night.

As the houselights dimmed and a giant screen projected a 60-second countdown for fans to anticipate the arrival of Queens, they strolled on stage with instruments and drinks in hand and ripped it from the get-go. Opening with "You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire," and then jumping right into "No One Knows," to the first ...Like Clockwork single, "My God is the Sun," they managed to extend each song a bit by jamming and feeding off each others playing as if they were an improv jazz group that were using roaring guitars and thick bass rather than trumpets and saxophones. "We were in Boston last night," singer Josh Homme told the crowd, which was met with a chorus of boos, "Boston has a lot of rules. This is New York City, you have no rules. You are at a Queens show, you can do whatever you want," he said just before going into "Burn the Witch." It is with that mentality that has gotten Queens the respect they deserve over the years. They are one of the few rock and roll bands, that still know how to be rockstars. They may not be trashing hotel rooms or discussing their womanizing, but they can surely play as hard as they want and encourage their audience to live as hard as they want. One in a while, you need a band like that to come around and shake things up a bit. In their 90-minute main set they covered a majority of their discography from 2000's Rated R to present, only eliminating songs off their 1998 self-titled debut. Closing with "Go with the Flow," they had all of Brooklyn cheering and screaming for more. As they retreated to the wings, the shouts for an encore were louder than some of the songs the band had played.

As Queens strutted back on stage, lighting cigarettes and taking their places for the encore, something I had not seen in ages at a concert began to happen, as the band began playing the dark and somber "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," most of the arena began to raise lighters in the air. The lighters made a  concert comeback after years of being replaced by cell phones, it was a great old school gesture to show the band. As the somber moments came to an end and the lighters went away, "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," and "A Song for the Dead" brought the energy and rock and roll extravaganza back to the show. Leaving the audience pulverized, it was time to say goodbye. For nearly two hours on stage, they hit us in ways only they know how.

Queens of the Stone Age 12/14/13 Barclays Center Setlist:

You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
No One Knows
My God Is the Sun
Burn the Witch
Smooth Sailing
Monsters in the Parasol
I Sat by the Ocean
…Like Clockwork
I Never Came
If I Had a Tail
Little Sister
Fairweather Friends
Make It Wit Chu
Sick, Sick, Sick
Better Living Through Chemistry
Go With the Flow
The Vampyre of Time and Memory
Feel Good Hit of the Summer
A Song for the Dead