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Staind & Godsmack // Live @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater // 7.21.23

Article and photos by: Wendy Podmenik Woodell

VIRGINA BEACH. VA– A power line up for a hard hitting show on a sultry summer night. Featuring famed opener Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys, the crowd was pumped for a fantastic night of music that satisfied the need to rock off the steam from the workweek.

Staind‘s upcoming album release, Confessions of the Fallen, arrives more than ten years after their last album. However, it remains true to Staind’s signature sound, weaving grinding hard rock with Aaron Lewis’ emotional ballads, as if the band never went on hiatus. The two singles “Lowest in Me” and “Cycle of Hurting” touch on themes of relationships, philosophical questioning of self and purpose. The performance at VUHLA was fluff free- simple, direct messaging.

On to the fire, and there was plenty of it- so much pyro, CONFETTI!, fireworks- Godsmack is celebrating 25 years, and the whole audience is invited. Part of that celebration? This year’s release of Lighting Up the Sky, their 8th studio album. Unfortunately for fans, this is reported to potentially be Godsmack’s last album, although vocalist Sully Erna has assured his audience that Godsmack will continue touring for the foreseeable future in support of previous work. In essence, the album ties up loose ends and is a reflection of the band’s journey over the last 2 decades, all in Godsmack’s inimitable driving, at times almost tribal, hard rock sound.

Shouting out to the audience, “Are you ready to have fun tonight, Virginia Beach?’, Sully and company performed to a crowd that was already hyped up and ready to party. Confessing that he had a bit of tequila to drink before the show, it was obvious that spirits were high and the show was incredible. Making jokes about getting older “we are an old school rock band”, Sully was feeling great and it showed. The setlist touched on many older hits and newer material, and featured an amazing set of dueling drums in “Battala de los Tambores”- drumstick tossing, and even Shannon Larkin in jest playing the cymbal with his head at the end. The drum battle initiated with a mash up of popular cover tunes, from Aerosmith to Metallica.

If that’s not enough, a piano was brought onstage for a quiet moment at encore for a touching rendition of a song that remains close to the band’s heart, “Scars”. A QR code and website link were pictured on the side of the piano, as Sully implored the audience to give to the Scars Foundation, in remembrance of loved ones who had succumbed to depression and suicide. In the end, Sully thanked the audience for a beautiful night and for 25 years of support, noting the band has had “great moments and dark moments”, and that the band was proud of developing the Scars Foundation and the ability to help people on a global level.


Cryin Like a Bitch, 1000 HP, You and I, Soul on Fire, Something Different, What About Me, Awake, Bulletproof, Voodoo, Batalla de los Tambores, Whatever, Surrender


Scars, I Stand Alone

Staind tour information:

Godsmack tour information:

The Scars Foundation:

Wendy Podmenik Woodell
Since entering the world of photography in 2013, WENDY PODMENIK has focused her interest on live music. Her ultimate goal is to successfully present the live music genre as an art form which preserves the expression, emotion, and energy of specific moments in time. ////// GLENN WOODELL spends his musical time working both on and around the stage. He's spent decades behind the lens as a visual artist, and for his career, studied human vision as a scientific researcher. His time on the stage these days is either spent holding on to a bass guitar or a camera.