Words: Miljan Milekić
There are some days when nothing goes according to plan, and this one can easily fit into that category. Among the three bands on the bill, we only got to see one, but with the set they delivered, there was nothing more we could ask for. Especially when that one band is Papa Roach. It’s been two and a half years since I saw them in Antwerp, the only time so far, and I was more than ready to do it again, especially after the release of their most recent album ‘Who Do You Trust?’ under their belt.
It didn’t take long for the band to take over the room, although they missed guitarist Jerry Horton, who was forced to cancel the tour due to hand injury, and was replaced by Tobin Esperance‘s brother Tony. The starting riff of their 2000′ hit ‘Dead Cell’ was enough to lit the crown up, and there was no slowing down ever since. This year Papa Roach mark twenty years since the release of their breakthrough album ‘Infest,’ so the record was heavily represented in the setlist, going hand-in-hand with the latest one. Combining old and new, the band easily cruised through the show, carefully balancing the energy.
Early works such as ‘Between Angels and Insects,’ and ‘Broken Home’ were closely mixed by the likes of ‘I Suffer Well,’ ‘Elevate,’ and ‘Renegade Music,’ reaching out to all the generations in the crowd. And there were quite a few – from the MTV kids, now in their thirties, to the teenagers who probably weren’t born when the band first took the world by storm. As someone who is in the first group, and who had a bucket list with songs from ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2’ soundtrack he wants to hear live, the early part of the show provided another very special moment in the shape of ‘Blood Brothers.’
The middle of the set was dedicated to the rest of their career, with cherry-picked songs from all the other records, including massive hits such as ‘Scars,’ ‘Help,’ or ‘Getting Away With Murder.’ The 2015’s hit ‘Falling Apart’ received the acoustic treatment, but before the song kicked in, Jacoby Shaddix took a moment to thank their fans for support, and talk about the relationship they had with them. One of the fans actually met the band before the show, giving them an award for saving his life. The actual, glass statue with the band name, and the message of how much their music meant to him, how it helped him through some dark times, and saved his life.
However, it wasn’t the only time the band talked about mental health and dark times. A bit later, the band paid tribute to The Prodigy‘s Keith Flint, whose face Shaddix wore on his shirt, and took his own life exactly a year ago. The band kicked off the massive cover of ‘Firestarter,’ before closing the set with ‘…To Be Loved.’ The crowd didn’t have to wait long for the encore, as the band was back on the stage in no time, delivering the title track from their latest album, before creating the storm with ‘Last Resort.’ For the very end, they chose massive and groovy ‘Born For Greatness.’
Without any doubt, Papa Roach provided a memorable show and reminded everyone why they last for so long. The only downside can be a bit too large a venue, or more precisely, a fan pit too large for the number of people in it, which resulted in a gap between two groups of fans, slightly hurting the vibe and the atmosphere. However, by the end of the show, I highly doubt anyone cared.