Deftones fans nervously watching the skies earlier this afternoon may well have expected a cancellation by the promoters. A few, in fact, voiced their concerns on social media event pages but they needn’t have worried. Happily, the skies cleared and the gates to the Riverstage were thrown open for the droves of punters gearing up for a night of alt-metal goodness. The Californian five-piece, led by the inimitable Chino Moreno, were as energetic as ever on what was the final show of their national run. Throughout what might be described as a no-nonsense, straightforward set, the guys reminded us why they’ve earned their reputation as being one of the tightest, most professional bands in the business today. Working their way through a monster of set featuring cuts from their latest album, Gore, as well as tracks from Koi No Yokan, Diamond Eyes, Around the Fur and classic stuff from Around the Fur and White Pony, the guys pretty much served up something for every kind of Deftones fan around.
Opener, Diamond Eyes, well and truly got the crowd primed. Despite having just delivered a gruelling set of performances around the country, Moreno was in top form. His powerhouse of a voice is truly a beautiful thing to behold in a live setting.
The band’s approach on Sunday night might best be described as amicable, if somewhat business-like. Their trademark power and dynamism were certainly on show, as evidenced by blazing renditions of Rocket Skates, Swerve City, and Tempest. And they also stretched out and revealed their more experimental, nature with more spacious, unhurried numbers like Rosemary, Kimdracula, Hearts/Wires, Change (In the House of Flies), and Acid Hologram. For their part, the diverse crowd members were appreciative and rowdy, without going over the top.
Ol’ skool punters lapped up Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) and Knife Party. Our section of the audience exploded into a frenzy (and not a small amount of drunken dancing) at the very opening licks of Headup and My Own Summer, which were nothing short of electrifying.
It has to be said that the lighting was a first-class affair, adding an entirely separate dimension to the show and beautifully complementing the moods of each number. Prince was particularly impressive – a mesmerising purple and gold tribute to the iconic musician. In a venue the size of the Riverstage, such visuals are particularly crucial – and this really was a gig that could be equally appreciated in the mosh pit or back up on the hill.
Throughout the affair, Moreno engaged in fairly minimal interaction. He did extend heartfelt to not only the band members, whom he introduced with great affection, but also their tireless crew who he acknowledged had put in a back breaking effort to set up and dismantle each day while the guys relaxed back in their hotel rooms.
Encores were kept to a minimum in our fair city. Bored and Engine No. 9 from Adrenaline made for a satisfying closing one-two punch, though we admittedly felt a pang of envy when we considered that our interstate counterparts got to hear the Deftones’ version of Purple Rain. All in all, the Deftones once again demonstrated their formidable musical chops, cohesion as a band, and dedication to presenting seriously rock-solid, high-energy performances. Superb.