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Godsmack's Sully Erna gives fans more than their money's worth at Starland solo show
Last night, hard rock-powerhouse Godsmack's vocalist, Sully Erna, made the first stop on his abbreviated spring solo trek at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. While Godsmack is typically known for their majestic stage-show and bone-crushing distorted tones, fans got the opportunity to get up close and personal with Erna during the intimate and laid back acoustic show.
On a stool, safely nestled between a grand piano and a collection of candles, Erna spent the nearly two-hours of his set doing a combination of playing songs and "shooting the shit" with the crowd, as he affectionately put it. He reiterated several times throughout the night that the love of and appreciation for music was to be the theme of the evening, and asked several fans to share anecdotes detailing ways in which music has helped them to persevere in some way.
As for the setlist, it was a rather interesting one. Having had the chance to see Erna on a date during his 2008 solo tour at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, and also having seen his Avalon tour, I went into tonight's show with some expectations regarding the set. I am happy to say that my expectations were not just met, but far exceeded. The set list, which can be viewed below, truly featured something for everyone. Those who were fans of Erna's eclectic world-music inspired "Avalon" were given treats such as "Sinner's Prayer", "Broken Road", "Eyes of a Child" & "Until Then". Those who lean more toward the aggressive Godsmack side of things weren't left out - Erna performed "Asleep", "Running Blind", "Realign" and "Keep Away" - versions of which come off of 2004's acoustic EP, "The Other Side". Other Godsmack favorites found their way into the setlist, including the most impressive solo-performance of "Voodoo" I've seen to date (I've seen over a dozen) with Erna performing the percussion, guitar and vocal parts simultaneously in a true display of musicianship and coordination.
Just in case there was anyone who happened to wander into the venue not having any familiarity with either Godsmack or Erna, or for those honorable parents who were begrudgingly dragged to the show by their children, some classic covers were broken out, too. Alice in Chains' haunting ballad "Nutshell" was accompanied by a remembrance reel of those musicians we've lost over the years, Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" seemed to hit many crowd members close to home and an energetic medley of Aerosmith's "Dream On" and The Beatles' "Hey Jude" capped the night and had the audience on their feet & emphatically singing along.
Sully Erna @ Starland Ballroom 3/30:
Nutshell (Alice In Chains)
Eyes Of A Child
Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
Medley of Dream On (Aerosmith) / Hey Jude (The Beatles)
Erna gave the fans just what they wanted and he even set their minds to rest on the future of Godsmack. On the topic he simply noted that while people may fear that he's doing the solo tours because Godsmack is not in a good place, the band is in reality getting along and working together better than ever. He went on to bring up the upcoming "Mass Chaos Tour", which brings Massachusetts' own Godsmack & Staind join forces for a co-headlining tour, with support being provided by Halestorm.
Sully left the crowd not only satisfied, but on their feet and applauding ferociously. It is undeniable that the fans who were crowded into the predominantly seated Starland Ballroom on Friday night left feeling like they had experienced an intimate moment with a musician they admire. At the end of the day, we really can't ask for much more than that as fans, can we?