Queens of the Stone Age make grand return to Boston

Review of the Queens of the Stone Age at House of Blues on March 26, 2011

, Managing Editor

Queens of the Stone Age have been relatively quiet over the past few years as members worked on side projects, most notably, frontman Josh Homme forming the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones. But now it seems as if it’s back to school as Grohl has rejoined the Foos and Homme is back to being the king of Queens. While reported to be working on a new album, the California crew stopped by the House of Blues, currently touring to commemorate the re-issue of their 1998 self-titled debut.

The band took the stage at the oddly early set time of 8pm, kicking off their run through their first album with “Regular John” as fans were still piling in to the sold-out show. The show balanced hard rock and light humor as Homme likes his jokes almost as much as his riffs. He introduced “Mexicola” by saying “At 19 I learned a valuable lesson: do not go to Mexico… but you gotta learn that lesson on your own”.

The band played their debut mostly true to its recording, but mixed the track listing up slightly as they added the heavy-riffing “The Bronze” (featured on the re-issue) and jammed out an extended take on “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” to close the main set, rather than the album’s last song “I Was A Teenage Hand Model”, which came before it.

Homme and co. have been playing their album in its entirety for the main set during this tour and mixing things up for the encore. Boston was treated to arguably the best post-Queens of the Stone Age set as the band reappeared to play some of their biggest hits. “Sick, Sick, Sick” opened the encore with the hanging crystal lights on-stage glowing, and the beer flying through the air. Homme responded to the rowdy scene saying, “Oh I get it, this is a hardcore town… you guys can go with the flow”, alluding to their 2003 hit which would follow. After poking fun with a little jab at the city of Salem before “Burn the Witch” saying, “This is a song about a little tradition you guys have here”, the band took off for one more quick break.

The crowd knew full well what song was missing from the setlist. The Queens strolled back on-stage with Homme mixing the sincere with the silly, saying “I didn’t think we were gonna come back out but you made us… now we’re gonna play Journey’s entire first album!”. The fans expressed some sarcastic (but not really) excitement at this proclamation but were even more excited as the band kicked into “No One Knows”.

Taking in Queens of the Stone Age’s first album in full before a mix of their hits was a clear sign of the progress they’ve made over their 14 years as a group. Although their debut is not their finest work it still played out as an enjoyable, certainly rocking live performance. As they continue to work on their next release, we’ll see if they can keep taking steps forward next time around.

Setlist:
1. Regular John
2. Avon
3. If Only
4. Walkin’ on the Sidewalks
5. You Would Know
6. How to Handle a Rope
7. Mexicola
8. Hispanic Impressions
9. The Bronze
10. Give the Mule What He Wants
11. I Was a Teenage Hand Model
12. You Can’t Quit Me Baby
Encore #1:
13. Sick, Sick, Sick
14. Go With the Flow
15. Into the Hollow
16. Little Sister
17. Burn the Witch
Encore #2:
18. No One Knows

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