Godsmack Bringing the Best of Times to the Oakdale Theatre

Hard rock fans piled into the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut on Wednesday, October 25, where Godsmack brought their Best of Times World Tour. This show is Godsmack’s second show of the four additional fall dates that were added in August in support of their new record, Lighting Up The Sky, which was released this past February.

Godsmack is made up of Sully Erna on guitar and lead vocals, Robbie Merrill on bass guitar, Tony Rombola on lead guitar and Shannon Larkin on the drums. Erna, Merrill, and Rombola have been in the band since the recording of the band’s debut record, with Larkin joining in 2002.

As fans were still finding their seat, the house lights dimmed and EXTREME hit the stage. Like Godsmack, EXTREME is also from Boston. EXTREME is made up of lead vocalist Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger, and drummer Kevin Figueiredo.

EXTREME delivered a bombastic set of new songs off their most recent record, SIX, as well as classic hits like “Get the Funk Out,” and “More Than Words.” Throughout the entire set, Cherone was interacting with the crowd, getting them to sing along while dancing around the stage. Bettencourt shredded away on guitar with a slight nod to the late Eddie Van Halen and the band plowed through their opening set.

As two curtains were raised while the road crew swapped out equipment, a video montage of The Beastie Boys with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” blasted through the theatre, the excitement was building for the New England natives.

When the curtain fell and the first song “When Legends Rise” blasted through the row of speakers, Godsmack took the stage with a thunderous cheer from the crowd. In a theatre that typically doesn’t showcase pyrotechnics, Godsmack showed off their theatrical side with fire during their first few songs. Throughout the hard rock extravaganza, Godsmack blasted through a setlist of newer material from their aforementioned Lighting Up The Sky record as well as classics off of their older records.

Throughout the show, the general admission section became a sea of bodies. From the start of the show till the band said their final goodbyes at the end, concertgoers were crowd surfing, attempting to form mosh pits and fist bumping.

As Larkin’s drums were pushed forward at the start of “Batalla de los Tambores,” a second drumkit was hauled forward and Erna hopped on the drums for a drum battle. At the end of the battle between bandmates, the band jumped into a jam that included short covers from artists like Aerosmith, Metallica, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin. With each new recognizable riff from Rombola, the fans all clapped and cheered in applause. Some fans were so enthusiastic about some of the covers being played that they took out their air guitars and played along.

Towards the tail end of the set during “Whatever” which is off their self-titled debut album, Erna brought up the “future of rock and roll.” Children like one boy, Michael, and his sister Amy joined other kids that ranged from eight to 17. With Erna prancing around the stage, he riled the crowd up hailing the next generation of rock and roll.

The band’s second to last song, “Under Your Scares,” featured Erna playing the piano that had a QR code to a link to Scaresfoundation.org which is the band’s foundation that fights mental health. As the band jumped into the song, Erna dedicated the track to some of the musicians that the music world had lost like Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and Van Halen.

As fans walked out of the theatre, smiles were on their faces as they witnessed Godsmack deliver a hard rock performance that was unforgettable. Fans were leaving the building singing their favorite songs, air guitaring, or looking at the new concert t-shirt they bought to add to their collection as they filed out into the cool Connecticut night.

Setlist: When Legends Rise, 1000hp, Cryin’ Like a Bitch!, What About Me, Surrender, You and I, Red, White & Blue, Awake, Keep Away, Voodoo, Batalla de los Tambores, Whatever, Under Your Scars, Bulletproof, I Stand Alone

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