Josh Homme hit some of his finest high notes as Queens of the Stone Age's "The End
is Nero" tour wrapped up in 2023 in the man's home state of California. One of the last
true rock stars and artists, Homme & Co. delivered a show in all caps. As many
hardcore Queens fans did attest following the show at the Forum, it was the band at the
height of their creative and raw power.
Even when Queens goes a little more stylistically slick, as they did on their previous
album, "Villains," it's not all polish and sheen, especially live. One of the highlights of
any Queens shows, which this writer attended three of this year, is discovering
newfound love for many of their tracks, thanks to the helluva live experience. "Villains of
Circumstance," made for such a disturbed, moving moment as Queens were drenched
in darkness. The melancholia behind the thunder was volcanic. A redundant reminder
Queens can pull at the heartstrings when desired. As for the tracks off the new album
“In Times No Roman,” such as the pained lyrics of “Time & Place,” continue to grow like
flowers under an acid-powered sun in a live setting.
Thunderous is exactly how to describe the work of dapper guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen,
triple threat Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), mega-fingered bassist
and energizer bunny Michael Shuman, and the mild-melter drummer, Jon Theodore.
Talk about a group of singular artists playing together in such extreme harmony. When
these guys are all on stage together and let it rip – most notably in “God is in the Radio,”
in which Theodore’s solo drums out the rest of the world – it’s a hard-charging, no-
brakes pumped 100-minute or so experience.
If it isn’t clear by now, Queens goes hard. What’s been particularly wonderful about this
tour, though, which reached another peak on a wild night in Glasgow, Scotland, was the
peace and love behind the chaos of it all. Josh Homme pontificating about love? Being
here and now? Well, the tour was called “The End is Nero” for a reason, and during
these apocalyptic days and daze, Homme’s "let’s love each other, man" attitude proves
infectious. If the end is truly near, at least Queens of the Stone Age are providing the