Rob Zombie and Godsmack in New England

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Sunday, October 1, 2006 @ 11:23 PM

At the Tweeter Center

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One of the most exciting concerts to hit New England this fall is the Rob Zombie co-headlining tour with Godsmack. Tonight's concert event was particularly special because it was the homecoming show for both Rob Zombie and Godsmack. Although Rob is now residing in Los Angeles, the shock rocker is originally from the Haverhill area. Rob Zombie recently performed to a sold out crowd in the area at the Palladium in April in support of his latest album, "Educated Horses".

Shock rocker Rob Zombie brought his spectacular rock and roll demonic sideshow to The Tweeter Center in Boston last night, and thrilled the audience from start to finish with a sixty minute set that was complete with tons of pyro, dancing girls, robots, and 5 video screens. The Rob Zombie stage show illuminated the stage and turned the arena into a fire pit that resembled the depths of hell. The stage setting logo had two skull heads on each side, plus tons of strobes lights and special effects.

Opening with "American Witch', Zombie and all band donning skull masks, performed with relentless energy, as the party was just getting started. On the video screens, clips from horror flicks, Frankenstein, Night of the Living Dead, House of 1000 Corpses played on, as the band performed a set of catchy Zombie tunes such as "Living Dead Girl", and ”Let it All Bleed Out."

Rob Zombie said, ”People, ask me if I have a lot of friends here in Boston? I haven't lived here in twenty years. I tell them, No. But there is one friend here tonight that is just as much a dork, as he was back in high school." He introduced the friend as the dorky mechanical robot that danced on the White Zombie tune, ”More Human Than Human." The audience really enjoyed his sense of humor.

Pyro lit the arena stage on "Demoid Phenomen". I witnessed a Rob Zombie show for the first time last July, at the Tweeter Center. Let me tell you, even if Rob did not bring this extravagant stage show to the area, the show would still have been just as exciting. The strength of the band lies in the charismatic performance of Rob and the stellar guitar work of both guitarist John 5 and drummer Tommy Clufetos. Both musicians have rock and roll résumé that would make any rocker proud.

The ferocious pounding of the skins from drummer Tommy Clufetos fuels Rob Zombie’s music. In the past, I have seen Tommy perform with Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper, and his performance tonight was outstanding, as bass player Piggy D and Tommy pounded out the demonic beats that fuel the Zombie hard-hitting sound.

Former Marilyn Manson guitarist, John 5 was a ball of energy, shredding his masterful guitar riffs with such intensity, as he wowed the audience with his precise guitar technique. Highlight of the show included the song "Thunder kiss 65", in which John received a standing ovation on his "Halloween" intro guitar solo. Rob Zombie appeared on stage in his Jason mask, with horror flicks being played on the video screen. The audience never knew what to expect from one minute to another, which prompted the spontaneity of the concert.

Rob Zombie slithered around the stage like a snake on "Foxy Foxy". One thing is for certain, the man can dance. The audience included a wide age range from the new younger Zombie fans to the die-hard Godsmack fans.

It seemed like the show was just getting started as the band performed their encore, "Dragula." Rob Zombie's return to Boston delivered a powerful performance that was fun and exciting. Pyro might have lit up the arena, but it was the catchy demonic fury of Zombie hits that made the night so unforgettable.

I had the opportunity to speak with guitarist John 5 and drummer Tommy Clufetos.

Here’s what Clufetos said about the tour and working with Rob Zombie, ”We go to every show like it is going to our biggest show. Whether it is the Palladium, or Tweeter Center. They are all the biggest shows of our lives. At least that is how I approach it. I know the other guys too. I know they are bumping up the rooms just because Zombie is in so much demand. It is such a great opportunity to be playing larger venues.”

John 5 talked about the recording of “Educated Horses”: “Scott and Rob are a great writing team. Rob says, "Hey why don't you come in and play guitar, so I did. Then Rob asked if I had any ideas? So we all just kind of just started bouncing ideas off one another. I have such respect for Scott and Rob. It was just great to be there. We had such a good time making the record; it was actually a huge pleasure to be part of that. I was just so happy to have that opportunity to make a record with them. It was the first time they asked someone else to write. I was so honored to be a part of it. It was one of the exciting times that I have ever had in the studio. It was a true honor.”

Clufetos added, “The record was done, even before I joined the band. Some of the tracks were being done with Josh Freese, and Tommy Lee, and Wes Bolin. Rob decided to put together a new band, we did the Ozzfest. We got along so good, he has us come in the studio, and it just evolved from there. I ended up playing on half of the tracks on it, and Tommy Lee played on one, and Josh Freese played on a couple. I am honored to be in the same category as those guys, who are unbelievable players, and rocker and jammers in their own right. So after we did the Ozzfest, I came in and did my thing. We tweaked some material. I am on six or seven songs. The album,” Educated Horses", is killer.”

When I asked how the co-headlining tour went with Godsmack, Clufetos said, “It is unbelievable. Godsmack is such a killer band, and Shannon Larkin is such a killer drummer. Rob Zombie is going to put out all the stops. It has been an unbelievable over the top insane rock show.”

John 5 sid, “The tour has been a blast. This is the first time had this much production on the tour. We have pyro, girls dancing, aliens, and robots. I am really honored to be part of such a major production. The tour been going great.”

Rob Zombie Set list

  • Sawdust intro
  • American Witch
  • Living Dead Girl
  • More Human Than Human
  • Never Gonna Stop
  • Let It All Bleed Out
  • Demon Speeding
  • Super Charger Heaven
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Foxy Foxy
  • Thunderkiss 65
  • Devil's Rejects
  • Encore
  • Dragula
Godsmack have come a long way since performing on Wednesday nights at Axis on heavy metal night, in the late 90's. The band certainly paid their dues along the way. It has been awhile the Godsmack toured the area. Tonight was a really special homecoming for the band. Godsmack hit the stage at 9:20 to perform a 90-minute set that had a really modern sound that resembles Creed. Front man Sully Erna has a striking approach to the heavy, gritty sound that the band is known for.

Godsmack had a stripped down stage that featured a little pyro, colored lightning, and stage platforms. One interesting stage concept of the show, was during the opening song, when the band was filmed backstage at the Tweeter getting ready to walk onstage, as it was displayed on the video monitor. The crowd went crazy, as the band made it's way to the stage. Opening with, ”Straight Out Of Line", the band held the audience's attention for the beginning part of the show.

Lead singer Sully Erna announced, ”It has been awhile since we have performed in Boston, The Metallica Tour was great." We put out a new album this year, Godsmack lV”.

Highlights of the set included, "Speak", The Enemy" and "Living in Sin."

Godsmack did not have the polished sound like during the Rob Zombie set. Maybe it was due to the fact that the band hasn't toured in awhile. I have always like their sound on CD's, but tonight in concert the band just didn't have energy to capture their heavy sound live. Rob Zombie is a hard act to follow, with their explosive stage show that captured the audience’s attention from the get go.

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