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Flames burn brightly for fans of Godsmack
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
By Erin Hendricks
Contributing writer

When Godsmack hit the stage at a packed Onondaga County War Memorial Monday night, the building seemed to erupt in flames.

The crew greeted a sea of bobbing heads with its trademark display of fireworks, flame pits and beats loud enough to induce palpitations. Banking on the recent debut of the album "Godsmack IV," the band's screams confidently pierced billowing clouds of smoke that descended upon the audience. And by the end, the rock group left no doubts as to its ability to deliver a fully calibrated display of sound and fury.

The crowd: A large majority of audience members fell somewhere in the 20- to 30- something age group. There seemed to be a trend of black clothing and the Godsmack flame emblem. People throughout the crowd pointed and wagged their right hands in a gesture of rebellion during all three performances. A good mix of both headbangers and less fiery onlookers lost in a throbbing beat.

The opening act: The second act, Breaking Benjamin, was more warmly received than the first act, Hour Cast. Fans greeted Breaking Benjamin with flashing phones and greedily snatched guitar picks wheeling through the air. Energetic crowd members screamed the lyrics to hits such as "Diary of Jane," "Breath" and "Until the End."

The set: An elaborate display of pyrotechnics including fireworks, strobe lights and a big-screen television behind the band. The dominating panel stirred feelings of Super Bowl sensationalism. Moving images included a live camera on the band, a naked man with stitches in a bathtub and religious icons mixed with sexual scenes during the song "Livin in Sin."

The songs: Lead singer Sully Erna jacked up the crowds with hits "Awake," "The Enemy" and "Straight Out of Line." He encouraged people to join his vein-popping intensity by berating those sitting down, saying, "You ain't sitting here with a remote control in your hand; you're in the wrong show. Now get the (expletive) out." Erna's face seemed perpetually locked in a grimace, even as he ascended to a raised platform and basked in his ability to intoxicate the audience.