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Godsmack had crowd on its feet
By KEVIN PRIDE / Courier & Press Correspondent
Sunday, October 29, 2006

Some hits found success locally, ignored nationally CD review for Montgomery Gentry: "Some People Change" Differing approaches: Godsmack members are split on best venue Heavy-metal fans were in for a treat Saturday night as rockers Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin and Hour Cast each brought their own version of the grinding metal sound to Roberts Stadium.

The show began with a video montage of past performances and backstage hijinks projected onto an enormous movie screen above the stage. AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock" provided the soundtrack to this preshow teaser, with the onscreen show eventually going "Live Backstage: Evansville, IN" before showing Godsmack backstage, making final preparations for the 5,682 fans in attendance.

The movie screen played an integral role in the overall production, which also included an elaborate array of pyrotechnics, strobes, bright colors and moving parts. With separate cameras trained on each of the band's four members, live images of the performance were shown throughout, interspersed with provocative images from movies, historical moments and the band's music videos.

The movie screen, like a fifth member of the band, provided context and eye candy while Godsmack did what it came to do - rock hard.

And that's exactly what the band did. It rocked. Godsmack's performance was an exhibition in heavy metal aggression. Most of the crowd was on its feet throughout, pumping fists and banging their as Godsmack thrashed out one song after another.

Much of the power of the band's stage presence was derived from the constant anticipation of what's going to happen next. As lights flashed and huge pyrotechnic explosions erupted and the band played on, taking full advantage of the large stage, Godsmack had most of the crowd in the palm of its hand.

The group's charismatic lead singer, Sully Erna, is a natural when it comes to pleasing the audience. He took position all over the stage throughout the concert, engaging the audience in numerous call-and-response segments, and even playing the drums at one point near the end of the show.

This was probably the highlight of the evening, when a second drum set came rolling out from beneath a curtain and, with the regular drummer, Shannon Larkin, and his kit positioned at the front of the stage.

A good old-fashioned drum duel commenced, with the drum sets rotating and both Larkin and Erna throwing their sticks high into the air in syncopation with one another. This led into a medley of brief heavy-metal covers, then into a powerful "Whatever," one of the band's biggest hit songs to date.

At one point, Erna chastised the few members of the audience who were seated, saying, "Get up. It's the weekend. Tonight you're on Godsmack time! You are at a rock show!"

Opening bands Hour Cast and Breaking Benjamin warmed up the crowd with their own spin on the hard-rock sound.

Hour Cast's music got heavier as its electronica-tinged set progressed. And Breaking Benjamin almost could have rocked its own show. Many of those on-hand were there to see the band play its drum- and bass-heavy music.

Nick Eskridge, 18, of Cloverport, Ky., was there to see Breaking Benjamin, his favorite band. The show was his first concert ever.

"I'm mostly hearing a lot of loud noise right now," he said. "But it's awesome!"