Godsmack, or even God himself for that matter, simply could not manage the irony that I was at Saturday night’s Anger Management Tour. None-the-less, the heavily glorified national tour rolled through New England again, attempting to unite a generation of rage filled misfits with music (and $43.50 tickets).
Unlike the last time Anger Management was in the area when Eminem, Papa Roach and Xzibit joined Limp Bizkit, there was much less of an emphasis on the “anger” part of the tour, and more on the fact that it was a genuine rock show. In the three months that Limp Bizkit has been on tour promoting their new album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, they have clearly evolved in almost every aspect of their performance style. The songs from the new album were played much better than they were at the beginning of the tour, and Limp Bizkit’s lead singer, Fred Durst finally seems to have a grasp on how far his limits can actually be stretched before he has crossed the line.
At the last show that Bizkit put on in Worcester, Durst showed contempt for everything surrounding him. He disrespected the Worcester Centrum by asking all of the fans to rush the floor, causing chaos. He called Christina Aguilera a, “f–king Bitch.” He babbled about how the Anger Management Tour was a cover-up for allowed violence and glorified it.
Saturday’s performance by Bizkit was simply much different. Though the insane pyrotechnics and the stage, which included a forty foot tall transformer, and two accompanying robots was the same, Durst created a much more friendly atmosphere. He really came to play, much more than to make a statement.
In fact, one of the only times that he did use the microphone as a soap box was to perform an unknown song that he dedicated to Kid Rock’s sidekick Joe C, who died last month. “We should be grateful we’re alive,” Durst proclaimed. The entire crowd rose and cheered.
Limp Bizkit played almost the exact same set as they did in Worcester. They opened with the fast paced, “Hot Dog” from the new album, and followed it with an unknown new song where Durst mentions former anger manager, Slim Shady.
After a long stint of radio hits that included “Rearranged,” and “1999” from the band’s second album Significant Other along with “Faith” and “Counterfeit” from their first, Three Dollar Bill, Durst brought a fan out of the crowd to bask in the glory of the stage with him on “My Way or the Highway.” He similarly did the same thing at the MTV Music Video Awards with Christina Aguilera a few months back to the same song.
Much like every performance on the Anger Management Tour, Limp Bizkit brought out Mr. Wiggles, the break-dancer from the “Rollin” video to strut his moves for that song. The show ended with “Take a Look Around” from the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack, and of course, what has become the staple Limp Bizkit closer, “Nookie.”
Godsmack added their high-octane energy as a replacement to what Eminem carried for the first half of the tour. Though Godsmack put on a tremendous show, they simply did not develop the same vibe that Eminem had. When Eminem was on the bill, many fans went just to see him. It is doubtful that there were too many people in attendance willing to pay an extravagant price for a ticket to see Godsmack, even if the show was in their home area.
Godsmack’s show was excellent. Their stage was extremely simple bearing two lions with gleaming eyes on both sides, and a huge banner with their name on it in the back. They opened with the extremely popular first single, “Awake,” from their new album of the same title. “Awake” proved to be a very good choice for an opener. Their set was short and displayed only two songs from Awake, and a lot more from their first self title album. However, despite the brevity of the gig, lead singer Sully Erna was able to really get the crowd into it. He even had the quote of the night when he said, “This tour is so great. It brings all types of music together and people don’t care about races. All racism is ignorant bullshit.”
Erna has a distinct way to entice a crowd. He yells at them with his strong Boston accent, and demands response. The crowd almost always looks at him as the born leader of the stage. Throughout their set, it was the most recognizable Godsmack material provided the fans most fun. After a strong opening, they kicked into “Bad Religion” from the self-titled album, and the audience seemed to get louder.
Unfortunately, I was unable to see DMX’s show. Which, while I have to floor, allow me to complain how pitiful the Hartford Civic Center is to see a show. While DMX was on stage, I was in a tunnel underground fighting to get the photographer into the show. The people behind the ticket counters were utter idiots, and the security guard who spent more time flirting with a representative from Hartford radio station WCCC than he did doing his job should be fired. He was rude and seemed to get a sadistic kick out of having people stand in the cold and worshiping his royal ability to get us into the show. It is his fault alone that I have no review of DMX, and if I could apologize to the rapper personally I would.
To make matters worse, unlike every venue in the entire country, the Hartford Civic Center will not allow photographers to watch the concert while they are not shooting. Not only did they not let the photographer stay for the show, but the nitwit in charge of photography at the Civic Center didn’t even know which photo passes went for which band. Not one person at that arena cared in the least bit about what was going on, and no one was helpful. The Hartford Civic Center and everyone affiliated with it should be utterly ashamed of the way it operates. I urge anyone to think twice before seeing a show there.
As for me, and my repeat appearance at the Anger Management Tour, it was an uncomfortable experience to say the least. Like I mentioned before, I was certainly willing to have my anger managed when I was there, and what I got was even more distress. After fighting with the worthless employees of the Civic Center, I found myself pushing through a sea of people in the lobby unable to move. Lines for everything from T-shirts and food to free mobile phones intermeshed everywhere. The people seemed to come from almost everywhere. An overwhelming feeling of negligence seeped through the air. They all acted like immature hooligans just looking for a reason to start a fight. People were yelling at each other, and causing scenes in the hallways. There were radio stations blasting Beastie Boys songs, causing people to stand around and act as a massive obstacle impossible to break.
Anxiety filled in my chest as a fifteen year old punk with a red baseball cap blew cigarette smoke in my face. My eyes began to water, my head hurt and I couldn’t see straight.
I am the least violent person alive, and would never fathom the thought of acting any differently. However, I felt trapped and alone and suddenly I felt the urge to do something that I have never done in my life before. I wanted to punch someone in that crowd, and I wanted to hurt them. Thankfully I didn’t act on these desires.
Anger management? More like anger production.