Photos and Review by Robert McDonald
There is a new music venue in Boston and I was there to see Godsmack for its inaugural concert Saturday night and both did not disappoint. The MGM Music Hall at Fenway was built in what was a triangular parking lot at the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswich Streets just outside Fenway park, leading to its distinctive triangular shape. On this night, all three levels of this 5000 seat venue were packed to capacity to enjoy Boston’s own Godsmack and their opener Otherwise.
Otherwise, a hard rock band from Las Vegas got the night started with a high energy performance of “Die For You” from their second studio album. The band, including brothers Adrian and Ryan Patrick, slammed through a 7-song setlist including most of their hits and a cover of Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” They wrapped up their set with the anthem, “Soldiers,” the last song Otherwise plays at all of their live shows.
During the stage setup for Godsmack, Mistress Carrie of WAAF fame went on stage to remind everyone that all of the proceeds from tickets and merchandise were to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Scars Foundation. With the rise of suicides within the music industry, The Scars Foundation was established by Sully Erna and Godsmack to raise awareness of mental health issues and funds like-minded organizations to fulfill their missions to educate and save lives. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, you can continue to do so at the Edward Charles Foundation website.
After an intro video featuring Beastie Boys’ DJ Mix Master Mike spinning a medley of classic songs, the curtains dropped and Godsmack hit the stage. They opened the night with “1000hp”, the heart-pumping song that tells the story of their journey from an unknown band in Boston to the mainstream band they are today. The hometown band then proceeded to delight the audience for over an hour and a half, playing a greatest hits setlist from their 27 year career. Through crowd-pleasing songs like “Keep Away,” “Cryin’ Like a Bitch,” and “Whatever,” Erna’s stage presence energized the crowd and kept them on their feet.
Though the stage was stripped down compared to previous tours and lacked pyrotechnics, they did delight the crowd with the dueling drum solo, “Batalla de los tambores.” Whether it was the acoustics of the new venue or a well-rested band, being 2 years off the road due to the pandemic, the band sounded tight and Erna’s vocals were unwavering all night.
To begin the encore, they wheeled out a piano and Erna sat down and reminded the crowd to not take things for granted as the past couple of years have shown us all. He then sat at the piano and dedicated “Under Your Scars” to a young boy, and friend, who had recently lost his battle with cancer. The night ended with two final encores, “Bulletproof” and “I Stand Alone” before sending the thankful crowd into the night. It was a great opening for the MGM Music Hall at Fenway, and I look forward to seeing many more shows at this fabulous venue.