After catching Queens of the Stone Age two days in a row (both with Soundgarden in Vancouver, BC and The Gorge, WA), I wasn’t expecting too much out of their Seattle show. After all, both of their previous sets were amazing and those are hard acts to follow. But the Queens ended up blowing those shows away, giving the hot, sweaty crowd at the sold-out Showbox a concert to remember.
First of all, the Showbox is basically a ballroom, with springy floors that will nearly launch you into the air when the crowd really gets moving. It’s also extremely small. The band could have played at the nearby Paramount Theatre and still sold out their show, but instead they decided to play a small and intimate venue which gave concertgoers more bang for their (relatively cheap) buck. No wonder the line for the doors was around the block.
Second of all, the entire band was in an extremely relaxed and playful mood. Frontman Josh Homme admitted to being a little drunk (what else is new?), which spurred a lot of teasing banter with the crowd. If the giant, burly red-head wasn’t winking at girls in the audience, waving hello to them and calling them sweetie, he was flirting with the men. At one point, he pointed out a guy in sunglasses and said “look at this guy in his sunglasses. He doesn’t give a fuck. Man, I want to suck your dick. Figuratively, of course.” But Homme still acted it out on stage, which sent the audience into titters. He also had a bit of fun with the band, introducing powerhouse drummer Joey Castillo as “The only Mexican in Seattle.”
Then here was the insane setlist. As this was part of the tour for their self-titled album, they played that in its entirety. But when that was over, ending with a raucous rendition of “You Can’t Quit Me Baby,” the band came back and played requests for the next 45 minutes. “We’re just going to play whatever the fuck you guys want us to play. So just shout it out, let us know,” Homme told the awestruck and slightly deaf crowd.
And shout they did. What followed was an encore of epic proportions, with fan favorites chosen by the audience. The rarely played “Turning on the Screw” started off the set before delving into Rated R territory with the stupendous “Lost Art of Keeping a Secret.” “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” really got the floorboards bouncing again, with everyone singing along to the iconic verse of “Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alcohol,” as did the rollicking “Little Sister” and “No One Knows.” On “Into The Fade,” Homme expressed that he was going to try and do local boy Mark Lanegan (who does the vocals on the original song) justice, and he more than succeeded. This was after he called Lanegan “the meanest person I know that I still like,” all done with a wink and a smile of course. And during the melodic and churning “In My Head,” people were even getting a little choked up at Homme’s crystal clear vocals. Homme expressed several times how important and special this particular show was to them, and it was apparent with every strum of his guitar and swagger of his hips.
When the show was over, everyone was ushered out into the still sweltering Seattle streets, feeling exhausted, blissed out and probably a little aroused. Homme and his crew really know how to make a crowd feel good. “I want you to notice when I’m not around” was one of the more heartfelt lines from “You Can’t Quit Me Baby,” and boy did we ever.
Walkin’ on the Sidewalks
You Would Know
How to Handle a Rope
Give the Mule What He Wants
I Was a Teenage Hand Model
You Can’t Quit Me Baby
Turnin’ on the Screw
The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
In My Head
In The Fade
Make It Wit Chu
You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
No One Knows