With a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, frontman Aaron Lewis took to the stage and, after taking a pull from each, unleashed one of the defining voices of a generation.
Much has changed in hard rock, and the world in general, since Staind exploded onto the scenes in the 90s, but the 51-year-old can still sing his lungs out — as was evident during the band’s recent performance at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia.
Lewis, along with lead guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April and drummer Sal Giancarelli, kicked off the evening with “Lowest In Me” a fantastic first single off their forthcoming “Confessions of the Fallen” album.
As concert-goers got settled in for the show, the Springfield, Massachusetts quartet kept the party going with 2011’s “Not Again” and 1999’s “Just Go.” And that highlights what is so impressive about Staind — their extensive catalog spans multiple decades.
The band’s breakthrough came with their second studio album, Break the Cycle, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and remained in the top spot for three weeks. The 2001 album was a massive hit, propelled by singles like “It’s Been Awhile,” “Outside” and “Fade,” all of which received heavy radio airplay and became chart-toppers.
Break the Cycle ultimately achieved multi-platinum status, selling millions of copies in the United States alone, and was highly successful internationally as well. The band’s emotional and introspective lyrics, combined with their powerful and melodic sound, clearly resonate with a broad audience, contributing to their widespread popularity all these years later.
So when Lewis shares his torment during a track like “Just Go,” regardless of how many years have passed and how different your life may be today, it takes you back to a different era. A few songs later “Fade” gave off similar nostalgic vibes as a large chunk of those in attendance emphatically sang along.
A personal highlight came when the band performed “Something to Remind You.” Hearing such a stripped down and haunting track bellow through each and every corner of the amphitheater created a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
From there, Mushok, April and Giancarelli briefly exited the stage as Lewis tackled “Epiphany” solo, armed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a stool. While he might not have had the backing of the rest of the band, Lewis definitely enjoy backing vocals from the thousands upon thousands of fans joining in during the chorus.
By the time they played “Right Here” and “Outside,” the entire crowd officially knew every word to every song. Eventually, Lewis simply stopped singing during “Outside,” allowing the audience to deliver the chorus acoustically in a beautiful moment. Staind saved two of their biggest hits — “It’s Been Awhile” and “Mudshovel” — for the end of the show, which obviously ensured their set ended on an emphatic high note.