When certain bands announce they’re touring I immediately look to see what the closest venue to me they’re playing. Rob Zombie is one of those so when he announced dates earlier this year I jumped at the Starland Ballroom show.
Of course as the date drew near I began to realize that Starland Ballroom, a great venue, isn’t all that big. I’ve seen Rob Zombie before but always in big arenas with huge elaborate stage shows. So I wondered what type of show would it be.
My wonderment was answered as soon as I entered Starland Ballroom. It was a very simple stage layout with Rob Zombie‘s now trademark backdrops and banners of the Universal Monsters, that we all know he’s a huge fan of, and lighting rigs. It didn’t take long to realize just cause of the venue size that there would be no video walls, pyro, or robots during this show.
But the very rare stripped down stage show did not hold Rob Zombie and crew back from bringing their top game to a smaller venue then they’re used to playing. Coming out and cranking right into “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” you instant forgot you weren’t in an arena. The energy they came out with fed to crowd resulting in Starland Ballroom sound more Starland Arena. Only the low roof as a reminder that it wasn’t an arena.
They tore through a set of White Zombie songs and of course the solo Rob Zombie stuff we’ve all come to know and love. And it was a mix, not heavy on the newer stuff. Even digging out “Super-Charger Heaven” second song in. A bold move as most bands wait until mid set to pull out a rarely played song so they’ve captured their audience.
And while I love the newer Rob Zombie songs like “Sick Bubble-Gum” live I never get tired of hearing some of my personal favorites live. “House of 1000 Corpses” is one of my favorites to hear live, and one of my favorite movies, as is “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)”, Rob Zombie‘s take on The Ramones classic “Blitzkrieg Bop”, and of course the White Zombie multi-million dollar selling hit “Thunder Kiss ’65”. Not to mention how I love watching Rob Zombie and John 5 tease the crowd several times with the opening riffs of the song several times before actually playing it.
I’ve seen Rob Zombie several times and each time is an amazing show. But this show will surely stand out in my memory because it was a rare stripped down show that packed the same level of music and energy a big arena show does. Not many bands and artists can successfully do that but they aren’t Rob Zombie.