In Focus: Legends Rise As Godsmack and Staind Rock Lakeview Amphitheater

It was a reunion of sorts on Thursday at the Lakeview Amphitheater in Syracuse, as hard rockers Godsmack and Staind joined forces for an impressive twin bill. The pair of Massachusetts-based bands have toured extensively together since 1998.

The tour was designed in part to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Godsmack. The band, who released Lighting Up the Sky (2023) earlier this year, has announced that this will be their last studio release, however, lead singer Sully Erna has gone on record to state the band will continue touring. Boasting an impressive resume of eight studio albums with over twenty million albums sold, the band has maintained the same four members throughout the twenty-five years of existence. Frontman Sully Erna (vocals, guitar, percussion) is joined by Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass guitar), and Shannon Larkin (drums).  

The evening’s festivities kicked off with a thirty-minute set by Mix Master Mike. Known for his years as the turntablist with the Beastie Boys, Mix Master Mike was able to fill the amphitheater with early energy and excitement, as he played a mixture of Beastie Boys tracks along with other hit tracks primarily from the 1990s.  

After a brief set changeover, the back side of the stage was illuminated to show various screens and projection monitors. As Staind took to the stage the screens would display cinematic-style scenes and images tying in to the songs being played. Staind launched into their new single “Lowest In Me” from their forthcoming release Confessions of the Fallen. Aaron Lewis (vocals, guitar) quickly put his signature vocals on display, showcasing one of the more familiar voices in rock music. His bandmates proved to be no slouches either, as Mike Mushok (guitars) jumped, thrashed, and head-banged throughout the set. 

The band would perform for 75 minutes with a set that included several hit tracks from the early 2000s, such as “Outside,” “It’s Been Awhile,” “Fade,” and “Epiphany.”  As the set neared a close, the amphitheater filled with the familiar bass guitar rumble of the song “Mudshovel,” the band’s breakthrough track in 1999. This brought the crowd to their feet, singing and screaming along with Lewis, as he strutted about the stage.  

After the set a white sheet would drape over the stage, hiding the set up behind. As it came time for Godsmack to take the stage, Mike Master Mike was projected across the screen.  \Several arena rock anthem tracks were played to further build excitement. Eventually, the sheet would drop to reveal a black sheet with the familiar Godsmack sun logo. A few seconds later, and with a burst of fireworks, the headliners would take to the stage. Godsmack immediately launched into the high-energy title track of their 2018 release When Legends Rise.  

The band would keep the energy going as they moved on to 1000hp, playing in front of a slew of flames and other pyrotechnics.  During the band’s hit track “Voodoo” the flames would again make a return, as fireballs would rise from the stage, almost as if they were dancing with the song’s cryptic rift.  As the set moved on, Larkin’s drum riser would to the front of the stage, and be joined by a second drum set. Erna would then take a seat behind the kit and the pair would then put on an impressive percussion battle on “Batalla de los Tambores.”  

After a brief encore break, Erna would return to the stage and take a seat behind a piano. He talked about the importance of community and discussed the band’s charity, the Scars Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to provide mental health services to local communities. Erna would then perform the beautiful track “Under Your Scars.” The song not only showcased Erna’s talent as a songwriter but also his diverse musical ability and his strength as a person. His bandmates would then return to the stage for the evening’s final two tracks, “Bulletproof” and “I Stand Alone.”  

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