“5, 4, 3, 2, 1…” the crowd screamed as that gigantic LED backdrop provided an epic black and white countdown from 30. The Barclays Center surged as Queens of the Stone Age opened with a pulsing drum solo into their heavy hitting “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire.” Their energy didn’t let up as they cranked out “No One Knows” and “Burn the Witch” from Songs for the Deaf and Lullibies to Paralyze, respectively. Eventually, Josh Homme addressed the crowd at the ideal moment – the bass break down of “No One Knows,” – where he added that New York was a place that didn’t “abide by the rules,” before continuing into a guitar solo as the standing crowd rushed forward.
Queens of the Stone Age Play Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Homme and his crew then started on the …Like Clockwork tunes, providing a diverse escape from the hard rock opening songs. “My God is the Sun,” which was neatly nuzzled in the beginning, could’ve been mistaken for a vintage QOTSA tune, but when they slipped into the funk guitar riffs of “Smooth Sailing,” the crowd knew they were venturing into new material. The new record is hailed as their best album since Songs for the Deaf; it’s hand-tailored for QOTSA’s current quintet, who make the new tunes sound exactly like the album, and execute them with the raving energy expected from the band’s live performance.
While Brooklyn’s Barclays Center seems like an ideal venue for Queens of the Stone Age and their arena rock sound, the band’s setup was for a vastly smaller stage. This gave the show an intimate feel, though their sound easily filled the 18,000-seat space. The band didn’t buy-in to any nonessential elements of a live show, outside of lights and the single digital backdrop—a truly simple and raw setup for a band that forces their crowd to just listen.
The crowd at a concert usually reflects the band; the blue collared, bridge-and-tunnel types as well as the Manhattan-ites all shoved and danced together. A fight broke-out in front of me and after security’s attempt to get involved, the gents agreed to just enjoy the show and gave each other a high-five. Every time I have seen Queens of the Stone Age, Homme has always made a comment about how much he condones dancing and breaking the rules at his shows. It was only fitting that near the end, I watched the head of security escort a young gentlemen out for simply dancing in the aisle. As I diverted my attention back to the stage, Homme himself was dancing around in his socks as he played a guitar solo. It was that moment that I realized: if you think rock music is dead, you need to treat yourself to Queens of the Stone Age live.
Article by Mark Ayesh