Ash Bell – QOTSA_Sydney_HordernPavillion_10
Queens of the Stone Age photographed at their Sydney show. Picture: Ashley Bell

Review: Queens of the Stone Age at Riverstage Brisbane, 28 August 2018

There was rock, there was roll and there were raucous riffs as Queens of the Stone Age tore Brisbane’s Riverstage apart.

Before Queens took to the stage, the night was kicked off by a performer whose name also contained the word “stone” and a form of monarch: veteran bluesman C. W. Stoneking.

The spritely Stoneking unfortunately fell victim to a broken string during his first song, on seemingly his only guitar. Despite this, he soldiered on, to the approval of the growing crowd.

After Stone King departed, a buzz of anticipation turned into an eruption as the floodlights dimmed, and strains of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singing in the Rain’ echoed through the amphitheatre.

Queens of the Stone Age triumphantly emerged and without missing a beat, launched straight into the swamp-stomp of ‘If I Had A Tail’, and thus began one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll onslaughts the riverside venue had ever seen.

Back-to-back cuts ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ and ‘The Way You Used To Do’, taken from the band’s new album Villains, got the crowd and band moving with front man Josh Homme cutting the figure of a ginger Elvis.

Bassist Michael Shuman threatened to steal the show from his fearless leader, violently throwing himself around the stage when not providing pitch-perfect backing vocals.

The first big singalong of the night arrived in the form of breakthrough single ‘No One Knows’ from the bands seminal ‘Songs For The Deaf’ LP. Midway through the track, the rest of the band retreated into the background, allowing drummer John Theodore to unleash a particularly enthusiastic drum solo. Homme watched on with glee, leaning against his amplifier stack, idly puffing on his second cigarette of the night.

As the crowd grew more and more enthusiastic with every song, the five members of Queens were clearly having a ball.

After almost every song, the always-chipper Homme declared how wonderful the audience looked, and how good it was to be back at their “home away from home”.

After the ferocious ‘My God Is The Sun’, Homme gave an impassioned speech about how sometimes life can be hard, but assured the crowd that the rest of the night was going to “smooth sailing” before launching into the single of the same name from 2013’s acclaimed Like Clockwork.

The biggest singalong of the night was saved for the slow grooving desert rocker “Make It Wit Chu”, with Homme and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen showcasing their immaculate guitar chops with a pair of extended solos.

Homme reserved his biggest guitar hero moment however for the outro of sultry ballad ‘Villains of Circumstance’ soaking the outdoor venue in a wall of Hendrix-esque feedback.

The main set was closed with fan-favourite ‘Go With The Flow’, Homme and co raising a glass to the adoring crowd before leaving the stage.

Re-emerging for a two-song encore, Homme gave the screaming crowd a choice between ‘Sick, Sick, Sick’ or ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire’. The crowd bayed for the latter and the band gladly obliged, resulting in the biggest mosh pit of the night.

Before the commencement of expected set closer ‘A Song For The Dead’, the band took one final moment to soak up the adoring crowd’s adulation, with Homme clearly out of superlatives to describe the boisterous audience.

After Queens had left the stage for the final time and the floodlights came back on, it would not have been surprising if members of the crowd had bent down to pick up their faces, because Queens of the Stone Age had done everything in their power to melt them off.

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