Opening night for any concert tour can be stressful for obvious reasons. But you'd never know there was any sort of concern going on behind-the-scenes with Incubus and deftones, which kicked off their co-headlining trek Wednesday night, July 22, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
Both alternative rock-leaning bands delivered all killer, no filler sets that spanned each band's catalog, with Incubus playing three tracks from its recent "Trust Fall (Side A)" EP. And while new material like that usually triggers a mass exodus to the souvenir stand (or to get a beer), in this case the crowd actually stayed put.
Following opening act The Bots, Death From Above 1979 barreled through its half-hour set. Despite a couple of communication flubs, the group more than delivered, especially on "White is Red." Perhaps the biggest bummer about the set was the fact that fans were still filing into DTE; a huge portion of the pavilion seating, as well as the lawn, was largely empty for the Toronto duo's stellar set.
By the time deftones took the stage, the lawn was absolutely packed, but fans were still taking their seats under the pavilion -- although beverage-toting stragglers hastened to their seats as the quintet roared into "Needles and Pins."
Frontman Chino Moreno was an absolute force throughout, with his distinct voice showing no sign of age whatsoever. He was definitely worked up for opening night, with his light blue button-up shirt turning into a sweat-soaked dark blue early in the set.
On the topic of attire, by the way, props to bassist Sergio Vega who was sporting a Supreme New York Neil Young T-shirt -- maybe a nod to Young breaking DTE's 11 p.m. curfew on July 14, but a cool t-shirt regardless.
deftones workshopped at least one new track from its reportedly finished new album, but the bulk of the show was dedicated to familiar, crowd-pleasing fare such as "Minerva," "Rocket Skates," "You've Seen The Butcher," "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)," "Headup" and "Engine No. 9." Fans were treated to some live rarities in "Beware" and "When Girls Telephone Boys."
Incubus emerged after a 30-minute intermission, opening with "Wish You Were Here" and quickly had the DTE crowd eating from the palm of its hands as it rolled through favorites such as "Anna Molly," "Vitamin" and "Nice to Know You."
Like Moreno, Incubus' Brandon Boyd brought it, especially on "Adolescents" and "Megalomaniac." He donned a kooky light-up mask for "In the Company of Wolves" and, inevitably, stripped off his shirt 12 songs into the 18-song set (What took so long?). The group couldn't have asked for a better crowd response, either; Nearly everyone stood throughout the set and were uninhibited in their frenetic dancing and singalongs. (See headline for a hint as to why.) At the Incubus encore they held up actual lighters instead of cell phones, showing that technology hasn't completely usurped this classic concert staple.
You couldn't ask for a better lasting image than that for the first night of a tour.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.