Friday, August 14, 2015
Perfect Vodka Amphitheater, West Palm Beach
Better than: Actually being 14 again.
The music that defines a generation is hard to quantify. You know who your favorite band is at any given moment, and as the years pass, you know which ones kind of fall into the category of “kind of embarrassing” and which ones stay pretty reputable.
You can’t tell right away though which ones have become iconic. That is something only time can tell. Friday night, time told us in a big way that Incubus have proved themselves worthy of generational hero status. Some thousands of voices rang out under the stars in West Palm belting every like from teenage memory. It was really quite impressive, and heart-warming, and at that moment, we were all happy.
Things didn’t start off quite so magical. Two-man opener Death From Above 1979 happen to be one of the greatest rock bands in modern history (and if you disagree, well, you’re wrong), but Friday afternoon, no one seemed to give a shit.
The singer, who is also the drummer, made no attempt to hide his let down, calling out some girls in his line of sight for texting and sarcastically promising that “Deftones are up next, don’t worry, all this bullshit will be over soon.” I and the other seven die-hard DFA fans walked around in complete disgust for the next 20 minutes. You people really need to figure it out.
All was right again when Deftones took the stage. Those crunching, angst-ridden guitar vibes sound angry, but nothing makes a person happier than listening to the music they used to cry to in the safety of a well-adjusted adult era. The band sounded absolutely incredible. When I saw Deftones about a decade ago, I swear Chino was more tone def than Deftone, but this time around, the whole performance was pitch perfect.
They ripped through a cascade of hits and old favorites. “My Own Summer” and “Passenger” were big crowd favorites. We didn’t see any moshpits breaking out. Something must happen to a person as they approach 30. If this were actually high school, we’d all have had whiplash by the end of “Knife Party,” but alas, the crowd raged internally. Shout out to the little girl who couldn’t have been much older than 6 getting down as fuck on the lawn, though. I’m sure you’ll grow up to be a musician or a critic or something or other.
There was real magic in the air as we all sang along together. The sun setting behind the stage was something quite glorious to behold. By the time Deftones let the familiar junkie-ring of “Change” fill the air, we were all pretty high on the fumes of our collective past. Sure, we’ve all changed, but at that moment, we all felt “so alive.” They finished up with a rowdy rendition of “Headup,” and then it was time to pee and refresh on beer.
At the time, it felt like the crowd had been pretty into the Deftones. Like, that was a great show, but what was about to happen with Incubus was going to put that little pow-wow into perspective. When Brandon and the boys hit the stage at 9:21, the energy was nothing short of electric. It might as well have been 2002 the way we were screaming as they ripped into “Nice to Know You,” and yes, Brandon is still hot.
Once again, the band sounded absolutely amazing. The setlist was well chosen, capturing a few of the many shades of Incubus through the years. We were all getting groovy to “Are You In?,” a song I absolutely love but never thought of as a giant hit. Mike Einziger is an even greater guitarist than I remember. He went HAM on “Sick Sad Little World,” right before the guys gave us old school fans a real treat in “Vitamin.”
For “In the Company of Wolves,” Brandon donned a totally crazy demon mask, complete with glowing eyes, so you know they’re still trippy as fuhk. After that, it was a barrage of sing-alongs, not that everyone hadn’t been singing along to everything already. Now, it was just really, really loud. “Wish You Were Here” turned into a lighter-waving moment with “I Miss You,” and by the time “Pardon Me” came around, I was pretty much floored. Looking out at the sea of heads made me really proud to have been so obsessed with these guys between the ages of 13 and 16. Honestly, they’re fucking great. They deserve all of this.
By the end of the show, Brandon had his shirt off and we all got to relive the magic of “Drive.” No one wanted it to end, but as the last chords of “A Crow Left of the Murder” echoed in our ears, we knew we’d all shared something really special.
In 2002, there were a lot of bands, but as it turns out, none of them were quite so special and unique as Incubus. This music is time tested and has not been found wanting. Maybe it’s because Brandon wrote lyrics not about being angry but about being intelligent and questioning and hopeful. Maybe it’s because Mike Einziger is a fucking guitar god. Incubus is about all these different things and more coming together in celebration, as long as they are around, I’ll continue to go see them. I’ve got a feeling the rest of my generation will, too.
- Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
- My Own Summer (Shove It)
- Diamond Eyes
- Rocket Skates
- You’ve Seen the Butcher
- Digital Bath
- Knife Party
- When Girls Telephone Boys
- Swerve City
- Change (In the House of Flies)
- Nice to Know You
- Anna Molly
- Absolution Calling
- Are You In?
- Sick Sad Little World
- Trust Fall
- In the Company of Wolves
- Wish You Were Here
- I Miss You
- Love Hurts
- Pardon Me
- A Crow Left of the Murder