Tuesday Tunes--Deftones Live @ The Fillmore 3/19/13

It was certainly a happy birthday for me.  That's right, as luck would have it, one of my all time top 10 favorite bands was playing in my city on the day of my birth.

This was my fourth time seeing Deftones and the first time I've seen them in ten years and I gotta say they're as good as they've ever been.  Chino Moreno is really one of the best frontman of this generation and his voice has only gotten better over the years.  He was his usual self, venturing into the crowd numerous times, flailing himself all over the stage, and even taking a few opportunities to do a little dance to some of the more groove-laden moments.  The band was tight as ever (even without Chi Cheng, who has been sidelined for several years after a car accident that left him paralyzed).

Not only that but the new songs are phenomenal live.  I wasn't as familiar with the new record as I would have liked to have been for this show but since the show I have been listening to it a LOT because as much as I loved the new album ("Koi No Yokan"), I didn't truly appreciate it until I heard some of these songs live.  The album starts with a classic old-school Deftones track called "Swerve City"--a punishing groove that viciously bounces along one of the heaviest riffs the band has ever written.  From there it launches off into more of the modern Deftones motif that started with "White Pony" and was perfected with "Diamond Eyes" (although it's never sounded as good as it did on "White Pony"): cascading, sometimes spacey melodies, often (but not always) interspersed with punishing riffs and blood-curdling screams.  Some of the highlights include the towering choruses of "Leathers", the jagged 7/8 riffing of "Poltergeist", the dreamy, atmospheric "Entombed", and what were two of the highlights of the concert and are the two songs I've been obsessing over ever since: the epic, melodious "Tempest", and the droning, devastating "Rosemary" (which absolutely DESTROYED live--the initial bass line was crushing).

Still, as great as the new songs were live, one of the things that made me very happy about this show was that they played an almost perfect mix of songs from each album.  5 songs from "Around the Fur", 4 each from "Koi No Yokan" (pretty impressive considering many bands when touring for their newest album will pack the set with new songs because they're so excited to play them live...4 out of a 22 song set is a very small number...they know what people came to see, I'll give 'em that), "Diamond Eyes", and "Adrenaline" (all four songs of the encore were from "Adrenaline" which was a really nice touch), 3 from "White Pony", and 1 each from the self-titled and "Saturday Night Wrist."

Some of the other highlights besides "Tempest" and "Rosemary":
-Opening the show with "Diamond Eyes" and then going straight into two crowd favorites back-to-back: "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" and "My Own Summer (Shove It)" which set the crowd on fire right from the get-go.  Honestly, I would have bet $10 that they would open with "Swerve City."  It's nice to see a band that doesn't do the predictable opening with the first (and second...and sometimes even third...) song(s) on the newest album.
-5 songs from "Around the Fur" was a very pleasant surprise, especially because one of them was "Lhabia" which I had never seen live.  Plus "Headup" and the title track are always so much fun to hear/see live.
-Getting to see "Rocket Skates" and "You've Seen the Butcher" (and, of course, "Diamond Eyes") live for the first time was a real thrill.  "Diamond Eyes" is right up there with "Adrenaline" and "Around the Fur" in the running for second best Deftones album (after the untouchable "White Pony"--which I would have liked to have heard more than three songs from but I heard plenty of them the second time I saw them in 2000 when they were touring for that album) and getting to hear them play some of the songs live for the first time was awesome.
-"Swerve City" is a great live song and really just vintage Deftones.  It has such a sick groove and the boys really went off when they played it.  It's just one of those songs that's so much fun to listen to in your headphones when you're walking somewhere.  It puts a little groove in your step.
-I just have to say one more time that the all-"Adrenaline" encore was fucking sweet.  I kept waiting for them to break out some "Adrenaline" tracks and when they went backstage for the encore without playing any, I knew at least "Bored" and "7 Words" had to be coming but to also get "Root" and "Engine No. 9" was just amazing.  Perfect way to end the night.

Diamond Eyes
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Rocket Skates
You've Seen the Butcher
Digital Bath
Swerve City
Around the Fur
Change (In the House of Flies)
Bloody Cape
Engine No. 9
7 Words


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