Concerts

Queens of the Stone Age - Memorial Coliseum - 10/30/2014

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So many bands strike gold with their first album or two and then coast on the brilliance of their early work. No way you can put Queens into that category. Every album QOTSA has ever produced contains moments of undiluted rock 'n' roll genius, and ...Like Clockwork stands proudly next to the band's five other albums.

The band played most of the new songs faithfully to the album version, while throwing in some kinks to older songs, "Little Sister" for example, to keep things interesting for both them and the die-hard fans in the audience. On "Smooth Sailing," Homme swapped the word "kisses" for "hickies" in the line, "I've got bruises and hickies, stitches and scars." The audience didn't care, though, and gave a raucous cheer at the end of the song. The band's seventh tune was "Someone's In the Wolf," from the oft-overlooked album Lullabies to Paralyze. It was a killer deep cut; according to setlist.fm, it was the first time the band played the song since 2006 2011. Homme seemed to really get into "God Is the Sun," swaying his hips in a way that makes you appreciate his "Ginger Elvis" nickname. "Make It Wit Chu," perhaps the sexiest song in QOTSA's catalog, featured Homme going absolutely crazy on the guitar solo. The final song of the set, Homme wryly remarked, "No One Knows," Homme wryly remarked, "This is a song that hopefully everybody knows." Jon Theodore, the ex-Mars Volta drummer who joined QOTSA partway through the recording process of ...Like Clockwork, dominated the drum parts Dave Grohl wrote for the song back in early years of the new millennium.

When the band retook the stage for the encore, Homme requested that the venue kill the lights and that everyone turn on the flashlights on their cell phones. The resulting glow illuminated the entire venue. "Isn't that fucking beautiful," Homme commented. "We're all good friends. Not like everyone else, who's a fair weather friend," launching the band into "Fairweather Friends," which featured a guest performance from Elton John.

Just kidding! But Sir Elton did do vocals on the album version of the song, approaching Homme about the collaboration by calling him and saying, "The only thing misssing from your band is an actual queen." The band then did "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire," which isn't the same without ex-bassist Nick Oliveri (Oliveri will perform the song at QOTSA's show in Los Angeles tonight).

"On behalf of all the tequila and the rest of the band, I'd like to say thank you so much," Homme said, before the band ended the night with "A Song for the Dead."

The sound inside the Memorial Coliseum left a lot to be desired. Josh Homme is a genius with guitar tones and production, but the nuances of his guitar work got swallowed by the cavernous confines of the coliseum. Not saying it was terrible -- a few hiccups aside, the sound guys did their job -- but a venue like Comerica Theatre or even US Airways Center would have done much better service to the band's audio.

See the next page for set list and Critic's Notebook.

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David Accomazzo is a music wrangler, award-winning reporter, critic, and editor with more than a decade in the business.
Contact: David Accomazzo