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Review: Queens of the Stone Age at The AO Arena is ‘an electrifying, euphoric performance’

The AO Arena in Manchester became a sonic battleground as Queens of the Stone Age unleashed an extraordinary performance, blending their timeless classics with the electrifying energy of their latest tracks.
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Last night, the AO Arena in Manchester bore witness to an unforgettable performance by the legendary Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA).

From the very first chords of “No One Knows” to the thunderous finale of “A Song for the Dead,” the band delivered a musical experience that was nothing short of extraordinary.

Queens of The Stone Age

Frontman Josh Homme, the founding force behind QOTSA, led the charge with an energy that could ignite a dormant volcano.

His vocals, ranging from soulful croons to primal roars, painted a vivid landscape over the arena, capturing the essence of the band’s diverse discography.

But it wasn’t just the Homme show.

The other band members brought their A-game.

Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen’s intricate riffs added layers of intensity, creating a dynamic interplay with Homme’s vocals.

Bassist Michael Shuman and drummer Jon Theodore laid down a rock-solid foundation, driving the rhythm with precision and flair.

The setlist was a rollercoaster of sonic brilliance, weaving through the band’s illustrious career.

The Chats and Deep Tan

The evening kicks off with some cool post-punk from Deep Tan and the high-energy ‘shed rock’ from Aussie rockers – The Chats.

Then, out of the blue, Peggy Lee‘s “Smile” plays, giving everyone a breather before QOTSA unleashes the beast with “No One Knows.”

the crowd erupt with the opening chords slamming around the arena.

The band’s setlist is a mix of old favourites from back in the early 2000s and newer stuff from their recent albums which is warmly received.

In Times New Roman

The new tracks from In Times New Roman, especially “Carnavoyeur” and “Emotion Sickness,” go down a storm. Eight albums deep, and QOTSA still rocks that signature sound, proving they’re as relevant now as ever.

Josh Homme, the frontman, doesn’t chat much between songs, but there’s this one moment where he gets real and says, ‘sometimes I’m too afraid to say how dark I feel’ – a moment that hit home for many of us and was met with riotous supportive applause.

“First It Giveth” and “My God Is the Sun” showcased the heavy, riff-laden sound that put QOTSA on the map and the crowd loved the chaos, bouncing around.

Groovy and Seductive

“Smooth Sailing” brought a groovy, almost seductive vibe, while “I Sat by the Ocean” highlighted the band’s ability to craft emotionally charged ballads.

One of the standout moments of the night was the inclusion of “Little Sister,” a track that echoed the familiar, infectious guitar riff that has become synonymous with QOTSA.

The crowd erupted in euphoria, underscoring the song’s status as a fan favourite.

As the night progressed, the band seamlessly transitioned between old and new, with tracks like “If I Had a Tail” and “The Way You Used to Do” from their more recent albums, showcasing the evolution of their sound without losing their signature edge.

Tour Debut for Long Slow Goodbye

The encore was a masterclass in performance, with the haunting “Long Slow Goodbye” making a tour debut, a treat they hadn’t pulled out since 2018.

Now, as “Go With the Flow” eases things down for a moment, you catch your breath.

But don’t get too comfy because boom!

The full-throttle finale hits, diving straight into “A Song For The Dead” with an epic drum solo and a finale that’s pure energy and flamboyance.

It went on and on, but at no point dragged, continuously mesmerising and the crowd were up for it.

QOTSA gave it their all, and the crowd felt it, making it a night that’ll stick long in the memory.

Queens of the Stone Age proved once again why they are revered as one of the most influential rock bands of their generation.

Each song was a testament to their ability to craft music that is both visceral and cerebral, a sonic journey that resonated with the diverse audience gathered at the AO Arena.

Another fantastic gig at the iconic Manchester AO Arena.

You can check out their listings here

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