Queens of the Stone Age – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2018
I thought I was cutting it close until I came around the corner to Spark Arena last night and found a tonne of people still waiting to get inside!!! The buzz was electrifying as the excitement was pouring from the crowd. My first ever rock concert, and it’s Queens of the Stone Age on their Villains World Tour!
WORDS BY KIMBERLY JONES | PHOTOS BY BRAD HOLLAND
I quickly made my way to my seat expecting to be one of the last, but there were still plenty of people chilling in the foyer. I could hear the sound check is well underway, but they were almost inaudible over the crowd.
Once in I had not seen Spark Arena so packed before, with only standing room in the main floor.
With no hesitation at all, the lights dim and Singing in the Rain comes through the speakers fading into Clockwork Orange Title Music. The crowd instantly goes wild in expectation of Josh, Troy, Michael, Dean & Jon arriving on stage.
The stage is set up with flexible lighting tubes coming from the floor. Casually strolling onto the stage, frontman Josh Homme launches straight into A Song for the Dead to open the show. Hands are instantly in the air as the crowd start to rise and swell like a tide.
The first thing I noticed was how flawless their musical ability was, drawing energy from each other and the crowd.
Bassist Michael Shuman has the fastest fingers I think I have ever seen! Jon, drums, was phenomenal. No other words could describe the stamina and sheer passion that was fuelling them all.
With scarcely a breath between songs, Queens of the Stone Age go on to play Sick, Sick, Sick and Feet Don’t Fail Me to round out the first 3 songs.
“It’s a pleasure to be in this country!”
Josh keeps the small talk to a minimum the whole show. He knows what to say to get the crowd screaming again before going straight back to business with The Way You Used To Do.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric.
With various people playing their own air guitars or drums, people swaying or bouncing to their own rhythm only to once subconsciously all start moving together as one.
It was mesmerizing watching how everyone quite simply seemed to leave all their troubles at the door and live for the moment and enjoy the pure magic coming from on stage.
“We came a long way to chill with you” Josh yells. “Don’t need parents telling us what to do, just be good to each other! Other than that, have the best time in the f***** world.”
No One Knows has some people on others shoulders to rock away & get a clear view of the band after which, Jon treats us all to a drum solo to rival the best of them.
It was refreshing not to see a lot of phones and that people were enjoying the experience for what it was. Those that did have phones out I had to giggle as they couldn’t sit/stand still long enough to get anything decent.
One song just merges into another with The Evil Has Landed, In The Fade, My God is the Sun leading into Smooth Sailing.
Checking in to make sure everyone was still with them, Josh did a quick sound check throughout the crowd who were more than eager to please. Make It Wit Chu gave Josh the chance to show off his vocal diversity.
Each member of the Californian based band had their time in the spot light that ramps the crowd ever higher. Villains of Circumstance see good old lights come out in the crowd to light the arena. However, there was no need for additional light as this was the best and brightest light show I have seen.
The whole band are so captivating, I don’t know where to look. Dean makes appearances at the front throughout the show to aid in vocals and guitar. Bringing the set to an end with Little Sister and Go With the Flow the band exit stage to thunderous applause.
Back out for the encore with a cigarette in mouth, Josh gives another of his signature lop sided grins before smashing out Mexicola, requested by a fan earlier in the night.
To bringing the night to an end, A Song for the Dead is taken to all new heights with Josh out the front on speakers playing to the crowd and giving them everything they want from a live show! Every one of the band hit the front of the stage to pay homage for such a receptive audience.
A complete standing ovation had the guys saunter off stage and the house lights come up to end our night. But what a night it was, a pure celebration of rock!