Queens of the Stone Age at Budweiser Gardens, May 24th 2018
Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Straight up growth is what fans were treated to at Budweiser Stage in London last night. Compared to the early Toronto date on the tour, this show was a mind-blowing one. Of course, the band has gone through some growing pains since then but if last night's performance was any indication, they've come out the other side stronger. Queens of the Stone Age took the stage for a 22-song setlist that delighted the audience with big hits and back catalogue gems, creating an absolutely stunning flow to the evening.
Towering onto the stage, Homme led the band directly into "A Song for the Deaf", a new opener for this tour and one that set the tone for the night. From there, no fucks were given as the band tangled themselves between new and old. To the left of the stage, Troy Van Leeuwen smoothly moved up and down the neck of his guitar, all the while dancing across the stage and feeling the music. Keyboardist, guitarist and all-around badass Dean Fertita (read my blog on him here and here) swapped back and forth between his two instruments of choice seamlessly, with a glare of old school, gritty rock n' roll. The piece de resistance for the first song however, was one absolute beast of a drum solo from Jon Theodore who plays with so much flare it's absolutely unreal.
I could go on and on about the setlist. Rolling to a triad of darkly sexy tracks, "No One Knows", "If I had a Tail" and "Monsters in the Parasol", QOTSA had the whole crowd dancing and jumping around. From there, the guys launched into my personal favourite jam "My God is the Sun" which has perhaps been abused by radio play but was fantastic nonetheless. Unpredictable, the setlist took a turn into "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "The Evil Has Landed" before Homme paused the show to provide the audience with a little sermon. The message? Be kind. Don't bond with people over the shit you hate. It felt like Homme had been working through his recent troubles in a pretty genuine way.
Other highlights of the evening included "Hangin' Tree" and "Head Like a Haunted House". Closing up the main set, QOTSA hit a predictable note with "Little Sister" to which the crowd responded with crowd surfer after crowd surfer after crowd surfer after...you get it.
Returning to the stage for an encore, the crowd was treated to a three-song set that kicked off with "Regular John". Sliding in easily with that mosquito-sounding guitar and thunderous drums the transition to "Go with the Flow" was silky smooth like your grandma's robe. That was all the upbeat spirit the band had left for the audience though. Passing back into a dark flow, "Song for the Dead" brought the evening to a close as thousands of sweaty fans poured into the streets.
Peace, love & history.