Home Gigs Gig Review: Godsmack & Staind at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI

Gig Review: Godsmack & Staind at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI

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Photos & Review by Greg Hamil for MPM

It has been a busy month for concerts, and fun continued at American Family Insurance Amphitheatre in Milwaukee, WI for Godsmack and Staind. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer night either as it was a cool one, but not cold!

The show started off with a short set from Mix Master Mike. He has been a DJ since 1989 and has collaborated with many artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Lee, Rob Zombie, and many more. He is best known for his work with the Beastie Boys. He worked with them on a couple of albums and now realized as the Beastie Boys’ DJ.

With a just a DJ stand on stage, he played music and interacted with the crowd, getting everyone energized for the show. While he didn’t have a specific set list, he did a fantastic job! I would never have expected a DJ for a rock show, but it was a great start to the night!

Next up was Staind. Staind is from Springfield, Massachusetts. The band consists of Aaron Lewis on guitar and vocals, Mike Mushok on lead guitar, Johnny April on bass, and Sal Giancarelli on drums. Giancarelli is the only non-original member having replaced Jon Wysocki in 2011.

As the lights dropped, Van Halen’s “Unchained” blasted through the speakers. The murmur of the crowd grew to loud cheers as Staind took the stage. As the lights came up, the band launched in to “Lowest in Me” from their forthcoming album “Confessions of the Fallen”.

Lewis, with his hands folded over the microphone and eyes closed, belts out the lyrics in his unique voice. Meanwhile, Mushok stands in one place, but sways side-to-side, with hair constantly flying in all directions.

As the set progresses, there is a great mix of songs from every album the band has ever released. The crowd comes to its feet once again and gets loud as the first notes of “Fade” ring out. With phones and lighters raised, arms wave back and forth as everyone sings along with the chorus.

Giancarelli and April leave the stage while Lewis and Mushok remain. We get another roar from the crowd and even more lighters and phones as Mushok plays the haunting opening to “Something to Remind You”. Bathed in purple and yellow lights, Lewis encourages everyone to sing along. He and Mushok both stop at some points so that it is just the crowd singing. It was awesome to hear so many who knew the words!

The latter half of the show turns into a greatest hits performance we are treated to songs like “Right Here”, “Outside”, and “So Far Away”. All of which drew huge cheers from the crowd. It is still amazing how many people know every word to every song. Metal fans are amazing!

As Staind closes out the set we are treated to a slower song in “It’s Been Awhile” and finally the hard hitting “Mudshovel”. The fans in the general admission pit show their appreciation with a mosh pit, while the rest of the crowd is banging head and fists.

Staind set the bar high for the night, but it was only the beginning! The crowd is wound up and ready for more. And they will NOT be disappointed.

Staind Setlist: Lowest in Me – Not Again – Just Go – Eyes Wide Open – Fade – Something To Remind You – Epiphany – Right Here – Outside – Wannabe – So Far Away – For You – It’s Been Awhile – Mudshovel

Godsmack formed in 1995 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The current line up includes Sully Erna on vocals, guitar, and keyboards, Robbie Merrill on bass, Tony Rombola on lead guitar, and Shannon Larkin on drums. They have released seven studio albums and one EP.

As the lights go down once again, a video intro from Mix Master Mike is played on the curtain that is draped over the stage. As the intro ends, the curtain drops to a loud explosion and Godsmack hits the stage with the intro to “When Legends Rise”. The crowd comes to life and immediately starts a mosh pit and crowd surfers begin to float to the stage!

Keeping the energy going, they transition straight into “1000hp”. Just before they are ready to sing the first verse, the music stops. Sully gazes over the crowd and smiles. He asks the crowd ”It is a Sunday night, is Milwaukee ready to F&#kin party?”. The music and fire flies as they pound through the chorus as everyone has their fists in the air pounding along with the music.

As they play “Something Different”, Sully gets the crowd involved in a sing-along on the chorus and gets everyone in on the action. After a brief back and forth with the crowd about how great it is to be back in the mid-west, the band plays “What About Me”. The assault continues with “Awake” with yet another back and forth with the crowd, who are just as loud, if not louder than they have been all night.

After playing their latest hit, “Surrender”, they play one of the biggest Godsmack hits in “Voodoo”. The phones and lighters emerge again raised over heads and waving side to side. There is no need for Sully to ask the crowd to join in as they sing the entire song in unison with him.

This leads to “Batalla de los tambores”; a dueling drum solo (or competition if you will) between Shannon Larkin and Sully Erna. Merrill and Rombola stay on stage playing background music as the solo begins with Larking keeping a beat while Sully taps out a solo on the bongos.

Midway through the solo, Sully’s entire kit spins around, and the battle is on! Each one mirrors the other with the basic beat and as the “competition” progresses they each take turns playing their own drum rolls and solos, all the while tossing sticks in the air and encouraging the crowd to clap along.

As Sully’s kit rolls to the back of the stage and Larkin’s is rolled back to it’s original position, the opening to “Whatever” begins. During the song, there is a break to pull four kids up onstage of varying ages. Sully tells the crowd that one of the things they love to see is the older generation introducing their kids to the music of Godsmack.

He introduces each kid and tells everyone ”welcome to the future of rock-n-roll”! After asking all four if they are familiar with the song (they all are), he tells them all they need to do is remember two words, “go away”. He goes to each kid and sings “I’m doing the best I ever did” to which each kid screams “GO AWAY”. What a great thing to do to make these kids feel special!

After a brief pause, the band returns to the stage. A grand piano has been brough out with the website for the Scars Foundation and a QR code for the same painted on the side. Sully talks about how the song “Under Your Scars” evolved into the foundation. He mentions the issues in the world involving depression, addiction, and bullying.

He also talks about some of the great people we have lost over the years. Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Amy Winehouse, etc. And with that they launch into the song with the entire amphitheater lit up by cell phones.

Bulletproof” and “I Stand Alone” close out the show with a barrage of confetti and pyro. The band comes to the front of the stage for a final bow and thanks Milwaukee for allowing them to do what they have done for 25 years and promise to come back again.

Another great night has come to an end. While they have been around for 25 years, both Godsmack & Staind put on a great show and gave everyone in attendance more than their money’s worth!

Godsmack Setlist: When Legends Rise – 1000hp – Cryin’ Like A Bitch – You and I – Something Different – What About Me – Awake – Surrender – Voodoo – Batalla de los tambores – Whatever – Under Your Scars – I Stand Alone

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