Rock Documented had the opportunity to cover the last Godsmack performance of 2017 at MUSIKFEST in Bethlehem, PA earlier this week. Put on by ArtsQuest, a local non-profit organization, MUSIKFEST was a 10-day long festival that featured 14 stages and over 500 acts. MUSIKFEST is the largest free music festival in the country and this year marks its 34th anniversary. It is estimated that a record-breaking 1.2 million people made the trip for the festival this year.
The crowd was warmed up with Another Day Dawns, a group bred in the Lehigh Valley. They were followed by one of my favorite bands, Like A Storm, who are rooted in New Zealand but have been extensively touring for quite some time now. We’re looking forward to the upcoming release of their next album, Catacombs. Needless to say, the anxious crowd was pumped by the time Godsmack hit the stage.
The stage was backed by a colorful version of the classic Godsmack logo. Godsmack was introduced by a video compilation of behind-the-scenes footage of the band to the tune of Dropkick Murphy’s “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” As the montage concluded, the sound of revving engines ripped through the crowd as the band took the stage and led the set with “1000HP.” The energy in the venue was infectious as they proceeded to play one hit after another including, “The Enemy,” “Cryin’ Like A Bitch,” and “Straight Out of Line.” The stage itself was illuminated with multi-colored lights piercing through smoke and an abundance of pyrotechnics blasting up from the stage. Their lineup included 10 of their singles and the audience responded enthusiastically. Erma’s iconic voice was as clear as ever throughout the entire night. Toward the end of the set there was a raging drum solo by long-time drummer, Shannon Larkin. Godsmack finished the main set with an extended version of their 1998 hit single “Whatever.”
As seen below(courtesy of Jim Powers), Godsmack ended the night with a tribute to the late Chester Bennington with an acoustic rendition of “Crawling” (Linkin’ Park) and to Chris Cornell with “Hunger Strike” (Temple of the Dog). Erma was on the verge of tears as he sang and his pain was felt through the entire audience.
Godsmack wrapped up with an explosive presentation of “I Stand Alone” to cap off the night.
Godsmack is taking a break from touring for the rest of this year in order to hit the studio to prepare for the release of their tenth album in celebration of the band’s twentieth anniversary.