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Godsmack : Show Review : Milwaukee : 05..31.2003

by Dave Dalka

Flames of Warmth

On May 31st, 2003, Godsmack headlined the 2nd annual Lazerfest at the Marcus Amphitheatre in Milwaukee. Several opening acts on the bill: Revis, Cold, Ra and Trapt were all worthy of more time than the half hour that they were allotted, hopefully the festival organizers will have the event start an hour earlier next year to bump up the set times of the opening acts. Noteworthy of the opening acts I saw was Cold, who was without the bass playing services of Jeremy Marshall. Larry Melero, part-time Cold (full-time Incubus) guitar tech, filled in for him on bass while Jeremy still sang his normal parts. Ra and Trapt played good sets, and then came the wait for Godsmack.

Godsmack hits the stage and plays their new hit "Straight out of Line" to a rhythm of cheers, blazing pyrotechnics and explosions! From this point onward, the crowd seems engaged for the rest of the night. One could argue that was just waiting for the next blast of warmth from the stage the next time there was fire as this festival has always proven to be abnormally cold. However, Godsmack's consistent song writing formula seemed to please and warm the Milwaukee crowd. There is no typical Godsmack age group as I saw young teenagers to forty-somethings. I even saw one family, not that I would suggest Godsmack as family-oriented entertainment though.

Godsmack's live music performance takes you to a different place in fun and kind of an escapist way. The substantial theatrics (4 semi-trucks of gear to unload for each show) which include pyrotechnics, explosions, dancers and bongo drum players were only the beginning. After "Voodoo", they played a very different drum solo. It was unique in that not many twenty-first century bands feature drum solos at all and that it the only one I can recently recall that featured two drum sets and featured a Rush song prominently within it! When combined with well-choreographed effects during the Godsmack set, this was definitely the highlight of the show and had the place buzzing afterwards! At the start of the encore, Godsmack teased the audience with the entire intro to Pantera's "Walk" and then went into "Awake" and the hit "I Stand Alone" from the DareDevil soundtrack to close out the show to an appreciative and ecstatic crowd. Godsmack seems to resonate a following in their fan base, as judged both by the fact the crowd was really into their show and that the new album "Faceless" debuted at #1 on Billboard it's first week, quite an accomplishment for a hard rock act. As long as Godsmack doesn't stray from that song writing formula too far in the future, I have a feeling this won't be my last encounter with Godsmack.

Related Link(s):
Official site www.godsmack.com
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