On Sunday July 27, 2008, my friend Nate, wife Danika and I went to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, for a local radio stations ‘Big Day Out’. We had purchased $20 lawn tickets and 6 Bands scheduled for the day, including Godsmack as the headliner.
Despite the fact it was pouring buckets of rain in Albany, every radar I checked showed it was not raining in Saratoga, so off we went.
We arrived at about 2:30 or a few minutes before the first band, Split 2nd Alibi took the stage. These are a local band, who won the radio stations “most original band contest”. But soon some sort of noise started coming from the stage, whether it was poor sound or they were really just that bad it was hard to tell. People were more dismayed that the Beer Garden did not open till 4pm.
About 3:45 the next band, 12 Stones took the Stage, which was also about the time the heavens opened up and it poured, soaking the crowd. Couple that with the Beer Garden opening and 12 Stones had a limited audience. And again the soundwas poor, you could hear everything instrumentally, but couldn’t hear a single lyric or anything the band said (not that it mattered). By the time they were done, the rain had stopped, the crowd had a nice alcohol buzz andwas getting ready for the next band.
Nonpoint was next and again you couldn’t hear a word they were singing, and like the previous 2 bands were actually getting feedback from the speakers at times. All that in mind Nonpoint, gave a lack luster performance until their final song “Bullet with my name on it”, when suddenly they got the sound right, were able to connect with the crowd and closed strong.
Up next was Alter Bridge, which is comprised of several members of the former band Creed. The next hour was probley the most painful of the entire day. The sound was better, but they played songs that no one knew (or had even heard of) and their style was a nice bluesy rock, which bore no resemblance to the hard rock before or that followed, couple that with them saying I think 100 times “We are the Band Alter-Bridge” and it was at this point that the crowd really started to get bored and almost out of control, but cooler heads prevailed.
At this point it was starting to get dark and large video screens were lowered so that those of us out in the hinter land could see what was going on. Sevendust was next and they turned in a good performance and really got the crowd worked up. However I am not one for long winded speeches between songs and Sevendust was guilty of this. Sevendust loves the crowd, they love our troops, they love themselves (they took a page out of Alter-Bridges book and let us know who they are 100 times). Less love and more music, would have made their performance even better than it was.
Finally just after 9pm, the main event was announced. After a length lead in, complete with fireworks, Godsmack took the stage with thunderous applause from the Crowd, which had swelled to nearly 14,000 people. They opened with some of their more popular hard stuff, followed a profanity laced tirade agains the people sitting inside in the balcony, who I guess were not standing up and being good rock concert participants. The crowd waited patiently for some of their hits such as “Voodoo” and “Serenity”, but got them and all was well. Lead singer Sully Erna did a couple of Guitar Solo’s, which were impressive, but lacked the ‘wow’ factor.
Towards the end they spent a significant amount of time splitting the crowd into thirds and seeing who can sing loudest. I’m not a big fan of this gimmick and I see it as nothing more than a stall tactic to lengthen the concert out, but that is about the only complaint I have about Godsmack. The sound was perfect you could hear every lyric and still hear the music. Watching Godsmack is like watching Major League Baseball, where as the previous bands were Minor Leagues. Sure they are doing the same thing, but the talent difference is huge.
All in all in would return to SPAC for another concert, even with the inflated Beer and Food Prices. However if I got to “Big Day Out” next year, I may come later in the day since the early bands are often not worth it.