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with Godsmack 
10/09/04 - Pepsi Arena - Albany, NY

by  Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

This past year I got into some real head bangin’ music courtesy of metal gods Metallica and their offspring Godsmack. The opportunity to see them live sounded exciting. I ended up with nosebleed seats but they were good just the same, besides, a 46-year-old man with arthritis in his back does not need to be in a mosh pit! I had a good view of all the crazies from above, which was just fine and dandy with me, I would much rather be an observer of the insanity than participate in it.

The stage was a circular rotating stage with members of each band positioned at different parts of the stage during the course of each set so everyone attending had a bird’s eye view of their rock heroes at some point during the evening. 

p07.jpgGodsmack kicked the night off with raucous and hard-hitting tracks from their catalog and the lead singer Sully Erna got the crowd worked into a foaming-at-the-mouth frenzied craze. He stated at one point “Get off your ass, this isn’t F… MTV!” 

Besides all of the pyrotechnics that the band is known for, animated drummer Shannon Larkin was one of the main features of the night, his playing was jaw dropping. A highlight of the evening was when Sully (who played drums in a band long before Godsmack came to be), and Larkin paired off to put on a p08.jpgpercussion show that rocked the house down. I was so impressed with the multi-talented Erna, not only is he a great front man, he is a good guitarist and drummer. They paid their respects to Metallica, giving them kudos before they came on. It is has been obvious to me that Godsmack takes a page out of the book of the metal kings. When you listen to Sully sing you can hear the influence of James Hetfield. 


The Metallica show started with all the lights off and a scene from the “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Do you remember the scene when one of the “ugly” is running scared through a huge cemetery? Well, that is the way it started, a very theatrical opening for a metal band I must say.

p23.jpgI really did not know what to expect from this band, I did know that I loved their music but never saw them live, even though the have been around for over 20 years now. James Hetfield sounds fantastic and the band is as tight as it has ever been. The pyrotechnics continued on their set, except Metallic kicked it up a notch, setting off seat jarring balls of fire frequently. I could actually feel the heat way up on the third level. I cannot imagine the intense heat down on the stage. There was big screen videos surrounding the upper part of the stage where the scoreboard and clock is for sporting events, and you got some nice close-ups of each band member, all in black and white. 

After seeing one of the best rock shows in my life and three hours of total captivation, nothing else mattered. Metallica and Godsmack are two of the tightest and most impressive bands in the world.


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Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck is a veteran syndicated music critic, his reviews appear in over 35 publications world-wide. To read more of Keith’s work visit

Photos Copyright 2004 Rob Grabowski / All Rights Reserved

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