Concert Reviews

Queens of the Stone Age, 8/15/13

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE @ RED ROCKS | 8/15/13 Drawing liberally from a broad range of its catalog, Queens of the Stone Age planned its Red Rocks set out especially well last night. Everything rolled forward with ample momentum, but the band and the crowd both had plenty time to breathe. The song choices, some of which had minor changes in the delivery, were perfectly complimented by the visuals, as columns of light danced across the stage and projected into the crowd and shot though the fetching nighttime sky.

See also: Photos: Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks, 8/15/13

Homme tackled the songs with confidence and power. His masterful turn of "Burn the Witch" was particularly captivating. The lush "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," meanwhile, had an early '70s R&B sensibility to it, which was fitting as much of Homme's vocals carried a soulful edge, and his signature falsetto was so finely controlled and vibrant that it notably enriched the sound of each song. This might seem simple, but it's difficult to make sound right, much less compelling.

During "If I Had a Tail," the projection looked like an animated short from an updated Heavy Metal: The Motion Picture with a Mad Max-esque visual plot. "Smooth Sailing" followed and inspired the crowd to sing and dance along enthusiastically into the main set's closing number, "Go With the Flow."

See also: Photos: Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks, 8/15/13

Homme and company didn't make us wait too long for the encore. When the Queens frontman returned to the stage, he said, "I wish you could see what we see," he marveled. "I don't have the words." After a beat, he added, "I do have the goddamn tequila." Then the familiar opening, "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," more than it lived up to its name with virtually everyone helping out with the chorus. That was followed by the psychedelically tinged R&B of "I Sat By The Ocean."

See also: Photos: Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks, 8/15/13

Before playing the final song, Homme said, "This might be the best song we've got right here. I'm proud to play it for you tonight." Naturally, the tune that followed was "A Song For the Dead" from Songs For the Deaf. An endless flood of abstracted flying creatures like small birds came flooding forth on the screen, first in black on white and then white on black.

See also: Photos: Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks, 8/15/13

As the sounds wound down, Homme saluted the crowd with horns and said, "Even hippies worship Satan, you know what I mean?" After that, he laughed and the music came flooding back in and the electricity of the band faded out as the guys left the stage with a heartfelt thank you from Homme.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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