Co-Headline GODSMACK/STAIND – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater Virginia Beach, VA (USA) Friday, July 21, 2023

    Review and Photo Credit - Michael Spencer Photography

    We all have bands that we go to see just because they’re fun, we know all the words to their popular songs, and we know that we are going to get our money’s worth. This was one of those nights. Both co-headliners have been solid in my playlist for many, many years. The show was originally booked with Nothing More as the support act, but as is common in the music world, that changed, and I’ll let you decide the reason why they weren’t there, so I won’t address the reasons.

    In replacement, the nod went to Mix Master Mike. Great, a DJ to open a rock show, this should be fun. Wait, you don’t know the name? Well, he was the DJ for the Beastie Boys from 98 until the band broke up. He showed off his skills to the assembling crowd, taking them down memory lane with his mixes of Beastie Boys and other groups he has worked with.

    But… the Co-Headliners were what sold the most tickets this night, and first on the bill were Staind who have a long history for me, having first seeing them over 20 years ago. The group has been stable with the original members, except for a drummer change in 2011. Fronted by Aaron Lewis, and have played a handful of shows of the past 10 years or so. Part of this is because Aaron has a very successful solo career in the country music genre, so there was a hiatus from recording/touring. I saw them in their rock days and was curious as to what their forthcoming album would sound like. I didn’t have to wait long as they opened their set with a rocking ‘Lowest in Me’ off their album set to be released in September. From there, it was a trip down memory lane for everyone in attendance. Having a 15-song set covering their entire catalog before closing with ‘Mudshovel.’

    Stained Setlist:

    Lowest in Me
    Not Again
    Just Go
    Eyes Wide Open
    Something to Remind You
    Right Here
    So Far Away
    For You
    It’s Been Awhile

    Staind Are:
    Aaron Lewis – Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar 
    Mike Mushok – Lead guitar
    Johnny April – Bass, backing vocals
    Sal Giancarelli – Drums

    Next up Co-Headliner Godsmack. Godsmack have been a staple in the hard rock music scene since blasting out in 1998 with their debut album release. Started at the top of their game 25 years ago and have never slowed down. They formed in the Boston, MA (USA) area and three of the four members today are still in the band since forming in 1996, with the exception of the drummer, who’s the new guy in the band. He’s only been on the kit for them for 21 years. With that kind of tenure and dedication to your craft, you build a solid sound and a devoted fan base. And that fan base was present and ready to rock. Starting their set with a quick Pyro shot then launching into ‘When Legends Rise.’ They followed this with ‘Cryin’ Like a Bitch!!’ Up next was 1000hp. This song has been a highlight of their shows for over 8 years or so. It is somewhat an anthem to the beginnings of the band and how far they’ve come, with opening lyrics of:

    “Time to rewind
    Back to 1995 when we were nothing
    Walking through the streets of Boston no one listening
    No one caring about the empty rooms we played
    Until they all showed up one day
    Then we took the stage and everything changed
    Turn that shit out louder
    Make it all go faster
    Playing through the witching hour
    Take it to one thousand horsepower”

    Another nod to this song is the pyro presentation. Lots and lots of fire, all over the stage. In my many years of living in photo pits in front of a stage, this was the first time I left the pit and legitimately looked to make sure my shirt wasn’t on fire. (It wasn’t) From there, they played through their 15 song set before closing out the night with ‘I Stand Alone.’ This was around show 15 of theirs that I’ve caught. It is always a good show. But see them while you can. Lead singer Sully Erna alluded to this years album ‘Lighting Up the Sky’ would be their last. He went on to say that it was time to “enjoy all these things that we’ve earned for the last three decades and be able to have fun with it and not have that pressure of always having to deliver for the label.” What this means in the long run remains to be seen. But I will say that if they come near you, I would suggest going to see them. It could possibly be your last chance. And, yes, the dueling drummers are still an integral part of their show on Batalla de los tanbores.

    Godsmack Setlist:

    When Legends Rise
    Cryin’ Like a Bitch!!
    You and I
    Soul on Fire
    Something Different
    What About Me
    Batalla de los tambores
    Under Your Scars
    I Stand Alone

    Godsmack Are:
    Sully Erna – Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar, percussion
    Robbie Merrill – bass
    Tony Rombola – Lead guitar, backing vocals
    Shannon Larkin – Drums, percussion

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