What I experienced at the Nokia Theater was simply phenomenal. Scary in good ways as well as bad. A sign of things to come and remembering the way it used to be.
Setting the tone for the evening, Mastodon opened up and played a very heavy and very evil set that had the crowed frothing at the mouth for more mayhem. Queens of the Stone Age gave more than anyone could have asked for. A great venue for a band known for their extended hypnotic jams, it is possible that on Monday night they even outdid The Boss (who was playing down the street). The acoustics at the Nokia Theater brought this show to a higher realm of reality. It seemed as if all the sound collected at the roof of the venue and would come raining down on all of us in torrential bursts that no one could hide from. Frat boys and business men head-bangied their highs away side-by-side. We were in for a treat as the band was glad to be back in LA, giving us a proper show for the first time since their Lullabies to Paralyze tour, with head honcho Josh Homme mentioned several times how excited he was and how he “he was drinking about it all day.”
The extra-heavy set of songs kept the crowd in a dazed riot throughout. The band behaved like a group of caged animals set free to tear apart the universe by means of massive amounts of head banging, guitar feedback solos and around-the-body, hula-hoop style guitar-swinging contests. Deep album tracks and obscure B-sides were the theme of the night. “I Can't Quit You Baby”, “Into The Fade”, and “The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died” were stellar. Josh and company formed a cohesive, well-oiled rock-n-roll machine. Loyal onlookers studied the show as if it contained encoded messages vital not only to survival, but also instructions for how to have a good time and get laid as much as possible in the process.
Queens gave everything they had, and I could heard a collective cry bellow out from the crowd, begging the Rock Gods to listen to us and not let Nokia Theater-types take over our beloved concert experience. The brand new venue located next to Staples Center, was transformed form from an over-polished corporate music money pit into a sacrificial sound stage and Homme was the executioner. Massive black walls that tower far above each side of the stage were reminiscent of something from The Wall. Maybe, just maybe, Pink Floyd was onto something there.
Some of the most ferocious energy of the night came from the band's new material off their Era Vulgaris release. They recklessly and masterfully maneuvered through “Sick, Sick, Sick”, “Misfit Love”, “Battery Acid” and “3's and 7's”. By the time they encored, ending with “A Song For The Dead”, they had nothing left to say and simply strutted off stage. Guitarist Troy Van Leewen slowly sauntered off with the band , but before he left he poured a little of his drink out. Maybe this was for the homies or for the rock-n-roll experience we lost when the Nokia Theater was built, but that pretty much summed up the night. The times they are a-changin'.