The past couple of weeks have been a cornucopia of amazing shows thanks to San Francisco being a strategic pit stop on the way to Coachella. The true standout of the mass pilgrimage to the Southern California desert turned out to be the almighty Queens of the Stone Age. The capacity crowd that night at Bill Graham Auditorium was about to witness the performance of a lifetime.
The show kicked off with an old-school, movie-style countdown, and the moment the numbers ran out, I think the Earth moved, as in the big one had actually hit the West Coast. That very second Josh Homme and company made a defining statement through a blast of pummeling rock ‘n’ roll. (Think Maxell-tape-guy-in-the-chair kind-0-blast.) That statement was, “Put your f**king seat belts on because you’re in for a wild ride.”
Holy hell, these guys delivered the goods. Opening up with the classic “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire,” I thought that Satan himself was about to make a guest appearance by popping out of the stage and condemning us all to hell. Luckily that didn’t happen, and the band quickly jumped into another masterpiece, “No One Knows” which continued the celebration of the modern masterpiece, Songs for the Deaf.
The setlist also featured several cuts from 2013’s change of pace …Like Clockwork, including “My God is the Sun” and “Smooth Sailing.” It’s a pleasant surprise to see the band venture from their core sound as it’s only natural that a band this brilliant evolve. Homme continues to move the band into unchartered waters, and from the reaction of the crowd, that was ok with them.
I think the important thing here is that they understand why the fans are there, and the band pushes the boundaries just enough to keep it interesting. I don’t think it’s an ego thing as much as it is keeping the Queens name intact, while still sounding like the Queens. It’s a win-win, as I don’t think the world is ready for the solo albums yet, although an acoustic record from Josh would be interesting.
Closing out the set was a blistering version of my all-time favorite QOTSA song, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer.” It was the perfect way to say goodnight and leave the fans wanting more, but leaving satisfied. Until next time, well done, guys.
Oh, and by the way, how about a full-blown Kyuss reunion? There were more Kyuss t-shirts at that show than were probably sold world-wide back when Sky Valley came out. That would be truly EPIC.
Check out full-size shots in the gallery.