Queens of the Stone Age at Viejas Arena in San Diego, CA

Viejas Arena was graced with a night of musical mastery with Queens of the Stone Age and Spiritualized at San Diego State University.

In a pulsating convergence of cult psych-rock and powerhouse alt-rock forces, the Viejas Arena in San Diego played host to an electrifying musical spectacle as Queens of the Stone Age took the stage with Spiritualized in tow. The evening promised a collision of hardcore alternative rock and spacey psychedelia, and it delivered with a resonant force that left the audience in awe.

Spiritualized, the English space rock outfit led by Jason Pierce, opened the night with an ethereal soundscape that transported the audience to otherworldly realms. Bathed in moody lights, the band’s set was a sonic journey, weaving through expansive musical landscapes. They performed tracks such as “Hey Jane” and “The A Song,”  the latter being their final song with sustained drone lasting almost three minutes to end their set. Their final song showcased their ability to craft intricate soundscapes that engulfed the arena, creating an immersive experience for the early arrivals.

In what was the first of two hometown showcases (San Diego and LA), Queens of the Stone Age, the band known for their distinctive blend of industrial strength riffs and desert rock vibes, wasted no time plunging the crowd into their sonic maelstrom. Opening with the gritty anthem “No One Knows,” frontman Josh Homme’s powerful vocals commanded attention, setting the tone for a night of intensity and communion with the audience.

The stage design was a testament to the band’s commitment to visual artistry. A dynamic light show danced across the stage, complementing the raw energy emanating from the musicians. The interplay between light and shadow added a layer of drama to the performance, enhancing the overall visual spectacle.

The setlist was a carefully curated journey through their discography. From the ferocious “No One Knows” to the brooding “The Way You Used To Do,” the band seamlessly navigated their diverse catalog. Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen’s powerful precision guitar riffs and bassist Michael Shuman delivered thunderous and pulsating rhythms, while Jon Theodore’s drumming provided the relentless heartbeat driving the performance forward.

QOTSA created a palpable connection with the audience filled with family and friends. Homme solidified that bond midway through the set by taking three consecutive song requests from the audience. One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of “I Sat By The Ocean,” which saw Homme’s vocals soar over the crowd, then during “Make it Wit Chu,” Homme integrated The Rolling Stones “Miss You” further reinforcing the connection between the band and their audience. The sheer sonic force emanating from the stage was enough to shake the arena, leaving concertgoers immersed in the sonic tapestry spun by Queens of the Stone Age.

Closing their set with the anthemic “Go with the Flow” and “A Song For The Dead,” Queens of the Stone Age left the crowd in a state of sonic ecstasy. The band’s ability to balance raw power with musical finesse was on full display, cementing their status as one of the premier acts in the alternative rock scene.

In the wake of the performance, it was evident that Queens of the Stone Age and Spiritualized had collectively crafted an unforgettable night of powerful rock music at the Viejas Arena. The convergence of their distinct sounds created a sonic odyssey that resonated with the audience, leaving a lingering imprint long after the sweaty mosh pits emptied and the final notes had faded into the night. 

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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.