With a building roar of cheers from the crowd, Alice in Chains came charging out the gates with the thundering gallop of "Them Bones." Jerry Cantrell hasn't changed much from the early '90s with his flowing long hair and trusty G&L guitar featured in all their old videos. William DuVall eerily emulated the vocal range of their former vocalist Layne Staley as he paced the stage engaging the crowd.
Continuing to play selections from their classic album Dirt, "Dam That River" flowed effortlessly as Mike Inez had his mop of hair whipping around while doling out rumbling bass lines. Cantrell worked his way across the stage stopping off at different microphones to add his background vocals during "Rain When I Die". Dipping into their latest release Black Gives Way to Blue, the mind bending bulldozing riff of "Check My Brain" easily blended alongside classic Alice In Chains songs with its hard driving groove.
Slowing things down momentarily, "No Excuses" was warmly received by the crowd with its percussive attack guitars. The pace quickly went back into overdrive with "We Die Young" which packs a lot of punch for a two and a half minute song. Delving into one of the darkest songs in their catalog, the drug addiction tale of "Junkhead" was especially twisted due to the extra flourishes of noise by Cantrell. A classic trio of older songs "Love, Hate, Love", "Man in The Box" and "Would?" rounded out the encore.
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
It could be argued that the Deftones stole the show. Chino Moreno was attacking the stage like a wild animal from the outset backed by the visceral noise of "Rocket Skates." It was good to see former bassist from Quicksand Sergio Vega filling in while Chi Cheng recovers from his unfortunate car accident. "Around The Fur" and "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" were fierce blasts of noise as Deftones flags were spotted in the crowd.
The pulverizing riff of "Diamond Eyes" had Stephen Carpenter chugging away on his ESP guitar while Moreno slammed his microphone on the stage to end the song. Deftones are masters of shifting moods as a giant disco ball reflected lights throughout the amphitheater for the atmospheric "Sextape". An old school blast of "Engine No. 9" and "7 Words" had the whole amphitheater on their feet cheering for more but unfortunately their allotted time was up.
Mastodon unfortunately played to a smallish crowd due to their early start time at 7:15 and a will call line at the box office that was seemingly never ending. "Oblivion" was one of the highlights of their set with its head banging groove. Since their time slot was brief, Mastodon stuck to some of their shorter songs like "Naked Burn", "Megalodon" and "Blood & Thunder." Most of the crowd had finally found their seats near the ending of Mastodon.
Personal Bias: Deftones have been one of my favorite bands since I saw them at Warped Tour in 1995.
Crowd: Lots of black t-shirts and long hair.
Overheard in the Crowd: "My four-year-old could do a better job mixing the sound for Mastodon." A patron was apparently unhappy with the sound mix for Mastodon.
Random Notebook Dump: Stephen Carpenter's ESP Guitar had a Louis Vuitton paint job.