When we saw Godsmack and Otherwise were coming to Vegas, we knew that meant another Mother/Daughter road trip with thermometer debates and $10 tattoos! We left San Diego at 7:30AM, scanned our apps for cheapest gas (Costco for the win!) and headed to Vegas! We started a tradition of getting $10 tattoos at Koolsville (right down the street from the “Pawn Stars” shop) before every show. Each one we get has a story and memory attached to that day. This is our third one so far and at this rate we’ll have a full sleeve of Vegas tattoos soon!
We got to the venue a bit early, since it’s new and was their first rock concert, we wanted to make sure we knew where to go. It was a great venue and the staff were so personable and helpful! The District was right across the street with Cheesecake Factory and Whole Foods, so we grabbed dinner before the show.
I was not familiar with the first two bands. Christopher Shayne was a bluesy rock that opened the show. Unfortunately, we just missed them due to credential issues. Moon Fever was next, a Seattle based rock band. Lead Singer Cody Jasper was definitely high energy dominating the stage to get that crowd off their seats. He even went down to the pit and hung half over the rail but the crowd was still just chilling.
As I was walking out of the photo pit, through the crowd, I saw Adrian Patrick, lead vocalist for Otherwise enjoying the set.
I had to calm the inner fangirl and keep walking.
I just discovered Otherwise, last year when I saw them at Rebel Rock Festival (yes, the one that was canceled after day 1). We, also, just saw them at Blue Ridge Rock Festival on September 11. They invited veterans to come on stage with them to close out their set with “Soldiers.” That hit my heart hard and I’ve had them on repeat since that day. On this night in Vegas, they started off with “Die For You”. The first row came up on the rail, but the rest of the crowd was still flat, it felt so weird! Maybe the chairs change the whole energy flow. I was having my own fun, taking photos, and I got to have a little eye contact moment with Adrian singing the words with him. Fangirling! Vegas is their hometown and this was the eve of the five year anniversary of the Vegas tragedy. Otherwise dedicated “Soldiers” to the victims of that tragic night. The “Vegas Strong” energy was felt in every part of me as we all sang “We are the ones who will never be broken.” That was a feeling I will remember forever!
Godsmack is one of my favorite bands and to see them with my daughter was awesome!
Quick storytime: When Kaiya was five, she was the youngest drummer in a group that performed all around SoCal. With a van full of teenagers, Godsmack was the band we all agreed on for the road trips. Kaiya would get so into it, especially to yell “Speak”! I sat in the driver’s seat, watching her through the rear view mirror, thinking how can being a mom get any cooler than this? Well, here we are 15 years later in Vegas at a Godsmack show, working together!
Godsmack had an awesome double curtain drop.
The first curtain was a projection of Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys. Spinning songs like “Tom Sawyer”, “Dream On”, and “So What’cha Want?” to get us hyped up. Curtain drop one happened and there was another black curtain with Godsmack logo. Second drop was a banger! A big bang started off the set with “1000hp” and lots of pyro! We’ve seen Godsmack three times in the last few months and I love that they switched the setlist around a bit and even added to it. A little over halfway through the set, Shannon Larkin’s drum kit started to roll out to the front of the stage. Yes, we got a drum solo! Then another kit emerged from behind the stage and we saw it’s Sully!
It’s a drum battle!
Sully Erna is so talented. He was on vocals, guitar, drums, and piano in one show! It was definitely the coolest and most unique drum solo/battle we have ever seen!
If you’ve been to a Godsmack show, Sully will always bring up old school rock shows and talk about how men would pick up their ladies on their shoulders. Usually, as soon as he starts, ladies know what’s coming and are climbing up on their man’s shoulders. Like I mentioned earlier though, this was a different crowd and not a single person did it. I wanted to blame it on the seats, but those seats would’ve made it easier, so I don’t know… Vegas, what’s up?
For their encore, they rolled out the piano and Sully talked about the Scars Foundation, which is dedicated to providing resources and tools to educate and empower the people that struggle with addiction, bullying, abuse and many other challenges. It was an emotional song, especially live. October is Mental Health Awareness Month so check out their website! Godsmack then closed out the night with “I Stand Alone” and lots of fireworks and pyro!
The lights came on and after a few minutes the alarms went off!
“This is an emergency. Please leave the building, while we assess the situation.”
No one seemed to be worried in the slightest because it was pretty smoky in there and we assumed it was from the pyro! Once we got out, we topped off our tank and headed back to San Diego. Another 22 hour Vegas concert road trip in the books!
Sully has said previously that after they release their new album, they will not be touring for that much longer. Godsmack is currently on a European run but be sure to go see them while you still can!
Photography by Heather Vandemark