As far as the Summer of 2017 music schedule goes, it ain’t over until the final chord is struck at the Budweiser Stage. Though the days grow shorter, night is the optimal setting for a good ol’ rock and roll show. And while the official last show is this upcoming Friday, it was September the 9th that 16,000 fans had circled on their calendar as the last day of summer. The reason: Queens of the Stone Age brought their Villains World Tour to Toronto.
With the UK’s Royal Blood as the opener, the show was more than worth the price of admission. Don’t let the bass-and-drums combo fool you, this UK-duo packs quite the punch. For only two members onstage, it is easy to mistake their sound for a four-piece or more. Seeing is believing for this band, as their live show carries enough energy to make any doubter a believer. Fresh off of the release of their sophomore release, How Did We Get So Dark?, Royal Blood is ready to take their success to the next level. “Lights Out”, the first single off of the new album, helps to display how their sound has matured since their self-titled release. Lead singer/bassist, Mike Kerr, had the whole crowd behind him with his powerful riffs, and drummer, Ben Thatcher, filled the entirety of the Bud Stage with his explosive drum lines. For the third time this year (including The Edge’s Secret Thing and WayHome), Royal Blood’s performance helped to solidify why their name is on the lips of some of the greatest in rock music.
Once Royal Blood had successfully warmed up the crowd, it was time for the main event: Queens of the Stone Age! These staples of modern rock music have been kicking-a** and taking names for over 20 years, and are not looking back. For their latest record, Villains, they teamed up with producer Mark Ronson. While Ronson is known more for his pop collaborations, Ronson helped to take QOTSA’s latest record in a new direction, while still maintaining their original essence. The first single, “The Way You Used to Do”, shows how Ronson’s influence helped to create this demonic-swing piece, that you can both rock out and dance to. But when you think about it, dancing and rocking out to Queens is something that has been with them since “No One Knows”.
For their return to Toronto, Queens of the Stone Age held nothing back, including their distaste for blow-up beach balls. During the first song, someone decided to unleash a giant ball into the crowd, and Josh Homme decided to take matters into his own hands. After fans tossed him the ball, Homme called for a knife to pop it, and announced that he “wasn’t here to play (our) balls.” He was just here to deliver us some gut-busting rock! While the first two songs helped to set the tone for the show, it was during the third song, “My God Is the Sun”, that the crowd was able kick it into full gear. What would follow was a setlist that would make any QOTSA-fan swoon, with “No One Knows”, “Make It Wit Chu”, “Little Sister”, and more! While most shows have a strict 11:00pm cut-off, rock’n’roll doesn’t have a curfew. Just as the bell struck 11pm, Queens of the Stone Age returned to the stage to bust out “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire” and “A Song for the Dead”, much to the fans delight.
For those in attendance, it was truly a special night, with a lineup that payed for the value of its ticket two-times over. Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood both delivered on their promise for an unforgettable night. The Villains World Tour continues on back to the United States, but if they happen to swing back through the GTA, you better get your butts there!