Moline Gets Godsmacked

Moline, IL, USA; November 5, 2006

by Paul Hanson

The question asked by thousands of bands in thousands of arenas for many years was asked first by Hour Cast’s Patrick McBride. The lead vocalist wanted to know “How are you feeling?” The crowd in the Mark in Moline, IL answered with a respectable roar, but it didn’t satisfy McBride.

“That’s not going to cut it,” he told the crowd, continuing a night where his band had to get a crowd riled up that was there to see fellow Bostonians Godsmack. Judging by the riffs by David Henriquez, the band’s dreadlocked-hair guitarist, and the pounding of Jerry Clews, the band’s drummer, Hour Cast has a strong future in front of them.

But before Godsmack came out, Breaking Benjamin took the stage and kicked off with “Polyamorous,” the current single “The Diary of Jane” and previous radio single “So Cold,” which got the loudest response. The band was clearly having a good time, and when they asked to see cell phones the crowd responded by waving them, lighting the arena with a glow. We sang along to “Sooner or Later” and enjoyed the upcoming single  “Breathe,” which contains a strong guitar riff and catchy vocal melody. Look for it on the radio soon.

Finally, the house lights went out for Godsmack -- which any rock fan knows is named after an Alice in Chains song on Dirt. The opening strains of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” began through the PA. The giant video screen on stage suddenly showed the band backstage and a video montage of different elements of their career, such as concert footage and their crazy antics on tour, as the song progressed. As the song ended, the band arrived to the stage and the screen went dark before showing military helicopters as the intro to “Straight Out of Line” began, prompting a “USA! USA!” chant from the audience. Drummer Shannon Larkin’s tribal intro patterns launched the band’s set list, which sprinkled their recent material from their current IV release among standards like “Whatever” and “Go Away.”

Photo by Brian Struchen

The inspirational “Realign” was the highlight of the show, which was followed with the anthem “Awake.” The mystical “Voodoo” prompted cell phones to be removed from pockets and to illuminate the arena. Similar to their last tour, the epic drum solo ‘battle’ between vocalist Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin commenced after “Voodoo.” A door behind Larkin opened as his drum riser moved to stage left and Erna’s drum riser was positioned at stage right. Following the same basic flow of what they did last tour, the band quoted the great drum songs “Back in Black” and “War Pigs,” with lyrics to the latter song onscreen so that the younger generation could read along to a classic Sabbath song.

Guitarist Tony Rombola, bassist Robbie Merrill, and Erna paced the stage throughout the band’s intense set, which was often enhanced with video images on the screen and good old-fashioned pyro. The groove in “Speak” was loaded with Merrill’s bass line and Larkin’s impeccable timekeeping. To showcase the musical talent of the band, at one point, Erna left the stage and the remaining members played an interesting instrumental. Another high point in the show was the audience singing the chorus of “Whatever.” By the time they launched into the closer “Go Away,” there was not an ass in any seat in the arena. Erna promised to return soon and with that, the lights came back on.

It was a great show and checking it out at a town near you is recommended.

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