Queens of the Stone Age returned to Ireland having made the step up to ‘arena’ shows. The O2 can make for an oddly sterile experience. After a full on body search prior to entry, we were treated to support act Sweethead’s shouty seventies- style glam rock. Fronted by energetic singer Serrina Sims, their set suffered from muddy sound, with Sims coming across like Pat Benatar’s grand-niece. The band finished with something of a flourish, leaving our ears ringing.
Queens of the Stone Age have been through a lot in the last ten years, Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan have come and gone, Nick Oliveri got himself fired and mainman Josh Homme endured a near death experience. None of this appeared relevant when Homme and co launched into the adrenalin rush of You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire, losing just a little minus Oliveri’s screamed vocals. No One Knows incited the first bout of moshing and some powerful drumming.
Keeping mainly to material from ‘Rated R’ and ‘Songs for the Deaf’ at the beginning really ignited the crowd. The more subdued recent material, Like Clockwork and Kalopsia calmed proceedings temporarily, the latter having an almost soporific effect. The slack, proggy Make It Wit Chu worked well, while Sick, Sick, Sick provided some real grit leading nicely into rabble-rousing versions of Better Living Through Chemistry and a somewhat truncated Go With The Flow.
They certainly aren’t the same band as they were in the ‘Songs for the Deaf’ era, too much has changed for them to fully recapture those glories. Two of the slower tracks from ‘…Like Clockwork’ were curious choices for the encore but the band signed off with a real flourish on an extended version of Song for the Dead, sending the large crowd into the night beaming from ear to ear.