Last Monday, December 16, Queens of the Stone Age took the stage at The National in front of a sold-out crowd, and they did not disappoint. The venue was packed like a powder keg. And with QOTSA bringing the fire, the conditions were perfect for a rock explosion.
Last Monday, December 16, Queens of the Stone Age took the stage at The National in front of a sold-out crowd, and they did not disappoint. The venue was packed like a powder keg. And with QOTSA bringing the fire, the conditions were perfect for a rock explosion. Under cover of darkness, the shadowy figures took the stage lit with ambient light. Jon Theodore on drums pumped rhythm into the night, and a spiraling blue light descended from the ceiling to illuminate Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar/vocals) to get the night going. The band kicked off the show with frontman and lead guitarist Josh Homme, and the rest of his crew, including Michael Shuman (bass) and Dean Fertita (keys/vocals), cranking out “Millionaire,” and “No One Knows” from Songs For The Deaf, followed by a personal favorite – “My God is the Sun,” from Like Clockwork.
By this point, the crowd was drawn by the familiar hooks and ready to jump in. The mob fanned the flames, singing along with “Burn the Witch” as the crew carved out its dark, bluesy riffs. It was “Smooth Sailing” from then on out, as the band hammered out some newer hits from Like Clockwork and Era Vulgaris, their most recent releases (with “Monsters in the Parasol” from Rated R mixed in for good measure). Throughout the show, Homme reminded the crowd that this was a Queens of the Stone Age concert, and as such, “to do whatever the hell you want!” Homme also made special dedications for the next songs in the set to the “Little Sister(s)” from Lullabies To Paralyze, “Fairweather Friends” from Like Clockwork, and especially for the ladies: “Make it Wit Chu” from Era Vulgaris.
Continuing with songs from Era Vulgaris, the band picked up the pace with the frenetic “Sick, Sick, Sick” and the crowd roared itself into a fever pitch. Mosh pits and crowd-surfing were sporadic throughout the show, but it all converged at this point, and it was tornado season on the dance floor. “Better Living through Chemistry” from Rated R was the next track, and QOTSA let the audience know that they were taking the show to a completely new level. “Better Living” was the highlight and rousing climax of an evening of solid rock performances. QOTSA opened up the track and inserted heavy, challenging and extended guitar solos, bringing the house down. The band fed off the tangible energy in the theater and segued into their closing song ”Go With The Flow,” from Songs For The Deaf, before bowing off into the night.
But the crowd demanded more–and the Queens obliged. The encore began in stark contrast to the previous fiery solos. The band returned to a smoke-filled stage with a single light shining on Homme, who sang the sad melodies of “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” and “I Appear Missing” from Like Clockwork. Then the band ratcheted up the intensity one more time and brought back their extended guitar solos with “A Song for the Dead” from Songs For The Deaf, to provide the finishing blow to an electric show.
Queens of the Stone Age may be one of the last bastions of rock in an Indie-obsessed culture; they put up an impassioned defense of the genre last Monday night.
PS–Thanks to XL102 for all their hard work in putting together the four fantastic Miracle On Broad Street shows, of which this was only one! Richmond appreciates you!