For the final stop on their Best of Times World Tour, Godsmack takes on Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. Being from the Boston area, this show is the closest to a hometown show the band has gotten on this tour. Frontman Sully Erna even mentioned that many of his family members were out in the crowd.
Godsmack – Austin Meade
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville – 28 May 2023
Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk
These Alternative Metal giants released a new album back in February entitled Lighting Up The Sky. After almost five years since their previous release, the band returned kicking and screaming with their eighth studio album and subsequent world tour.
After the brief break following the Austin Meade set, the audience returned, beers in hand, as the lights went down. A mashup of classic hard rock tunes began to play as blue and red lights flashed throughout the packed arena.
The curtain in front of the stage dropped, and the audience cheered… until they realised there was still another curtain separating them from the start of the show. Finally, the final curtain fell, and we were off to the races with Godsmack.
“Alright, Mohegan,” yells frontman Sully Erna as drums begin to pound. Godsmack has quite the light show, and this first song, When Legends Rise, was only a fraction of what was to come for the rest of the night.
After a 4-count on the hi-hat from drummer Shannon Larkin, the group kicked into their angsty hard rock hit, Cryin’ Like A Bitch. “It feels so good to be back home after being on the road the last month,” Erna remarks, “let’s light this place on fire!”
Now it was time for a couple of new tunes from the band’s latest studio album, Lighting Up The Sky. A wall of fire erupted from behind the lines of amplifiers on the stage as the band played Soul On Fire.
Three triangular blue lights descend as the band begins to play the second single from the new album, You And I. Erna then begins strumming the intro chord progression to Something Different and begins speaking to the crowd.
“Get these girls up on your shoulders tonight so Godsmack can see what Mohegan Sun has to offer!” says the vocalist, “let’s get this place smelling like weed tonight, so we can have a party.”
Erna requested all the stage and front of house lights be turned off, and just as the group all began to play Something Different, all the stage lights came back on, and the show continued on full force.
Coming back to the latest release, Godsmack played the album’s fourth track, What About Me. The band maintains the excitement and energy through two heavier tunes; Bulletproof and Awake. Then it was time for Godsmack’s smash hit Voodoo. Fire erupts on stage right and stage left as the group rocks out on the stage and the crowd sings every word.
After Voodoo finishes, drummer Shannon Larkin’s kit begins to move to the front of the stage. A second drum kit emerged, and I realised that now was the time. The time for Godsmack’s iconic Batalla De Los Tambores, where frontman Sully Erna and the group’s drummer, Larkin, duke it out on their respective drum sets.
One of the amazing things about this band is the multiple talents these musicians possess and showcase throughout their live show. After about ten minutes of aggressive drum pounding, it was time for one of my personal favourite songs, Whatever. This tune really embodies the edgy, in-your-face attitude the band has developed over the past 25+ years.
The group closed the set with Surrender, the first single from their final album, Lighting Up The Sky.
But of course, in true rock n’ roll fashion, Godsmack returned for an encore. Erna took a seat in front of the piano and began to play Under Your Scars, the band’s first ballad. This powerful song has reached almost 90 million views on YouTube, and that same passion certainly transfers to the live performance.
These four talents performed one of the most well-known songs of all time, Come Together by The Beatles, with their own Metal flare, of course.
Closing out the night, without surprise, was I Stand Alone. Godsmack has never been a group to disappoint, and that fateful May night at Mohegan Sun Arena was certainly no different.
Kicking off the night promptly at 8 PM, a group who shares management with Godsmack, Austin Meade. Hailing from College Station, Texas, Meade pulls from a diverse group of influences, from ’80s Heavy Metal to Americana to Blues to Emo and more.
The group played a 45-minute set comprised completely of original music. Their music is mostly slow and melodic, with tasteful guitar riffs and lots of southern twang.
Though I found the pairing of Austin Meade and Godsmack to be an interesting one, it seemed the crowd was pleased with Meade’s performance, and he did a stand-up job warming up the stage for one of alternative rock’s most beloved acts.