Return to Godsmack


Godsmack delivers a powerful Civic Center performance


Monday, October 23, 2006

Portland's sold-out Civic Center got smacked Saturday night with a fiery display of sound and energy from Boston-based hard rockers Godsmack and openers Breaking Benjamin and Hourcast.

Boston-based newcomers Hourcast kicked off the three-hour onslaught at 7 p.m. with a 30-minute set of angst-driven music from the band's debut, "State of Disgrace." Songs included "Sakkara" and "Freeze."

Breaking Benjamin roared onto stage at 7:45 p.m. with "Polyamorous," off the band's 2002 debut, "Saturate." Sonic guitar work from lead guitarist Aaron Fink and frontman Benjamin Burnley reverberated through the air, driven by Mark Klepaski on a five-string bass and Chad Szeliga on drums. Burnley added texture with rich, melodic vocals that that erupted into a guttural growl.

The Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based band delivered an impressive 11-song set with crowd-pleasing hits "Breakdown," "Away," "Sooner or Later" and "So Cold" off "We Are Not Along" and "Topless," Diary of Jane," "Dance With the Devil," "Had Enough," "Until the End" and Breath" off "Phobia," which was released in August.

At 9 p.m., the curtain dropped and a large video screen lit up with images of Godsmack on tour.

Excitement mounted as the clips flashed across the screen. Then the clips stopped abruptly and a single camera view appeared with the words "live at Portland, ME" on the bottom.

The camera snaked through the Civic Center's backstage to find Godsmack's Sully Erna (vocals, guitar), Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass) and Shannon Larkin (drums) lounging in a parlor-like room, decorated Godsmack style.

The crowd's excitement became frenzied as the camera escorted Godsmack onto the stage.

War footage blazed across the video screen, followed by a heart-pumping explosion of pyrotechnics that launched the band into "Straight Out of Line" off "Faceless."
Energy levels were high as the band broke into "Speak," the first single off "IV," which was released in April. The charismatic Erna bounded from one end of the stage to the other, encouraging the crowd to sing along with gusto. Erna's voice rang through the crowd with the force of a man much larger than his diminutive frame.

By the end of "Speak" Erna had goaded the audience onto its feet.

The energy kept building as the band played a powerful set that included "The Enemy" and "Livin' in Sin" from "IV" plus "Moon Baby," "Re-Align," "Awake," Keep Away" and "Voodoo" from the band's three previous albums.

Godsmack also slowed the pace for "One Rainy Day" ("IV") and a beautiful acoustic solo piece from Rombola.

A dueling drum interlude between Erna and Larkin brought down the house. The set concluded with the crowd enthusiastically singing along to "Whatever," off the band's 1998 debut.

Godsmack returned onstage with Erna on harmonica for the bluesy "Shine Down" ("IV") and a red-hot rendition of "I Stand Alone" ("Faceless") that culminated in a scorching series of fireballs.