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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Staind front man Lewis does well alone

Staind front man Aaron Lewis put on an amazing show Monday night at Verizon Wireless Theater – even for folks

Aaron Lewis — of Staind fame — played a set of everything under the sun, including selections from Staind to Cyndi Lauper to Creed. Lewis is not the average frontman for a band of Staind’s magnitude; he’s grounded, down to earth and fun to watch. | Matthew Keever/The Daily Cougar

who were going in with some doubt as to what the show was going to be like. Lewis’ band has received a lot of airtime on local radio stations, almost to the point of irritation.

But stripped down with just an acoustic guitar, sitting in front of a large American flag, smoking a cigarette, he put on one of the best shows that I’ve ever seen.

Out of all the Staind songs, which sound better when played acoustically, the best songs are from his new album. He played a great deal of cover songs; nothing was safe when it came to this portion of the show. The biggest surprise of the night was his impression of Axl Rose. It was so good that it barely sounded like Lewis’s own voice.

The funniest cover that he did, besides “Time after Time” by Cyndi Lauper, was his version of Scott Stapp of Creed’s “Arms Wide Open.” He slurred words, forgot lines and made almost everyone laugh. That is, everyone laughed except for Creed fans. But let’s face it; if they didn’t get the joke when they bought “Human Clay,” they’re not going to get it now.

Everything that Lewis did was well done and entertaining. He played with the crowd and probably sold a copy of his solo project to everyone there. He makes you want to go out and buy a guitar and start playing — not because of the desire to get famous but because he makes it all look like fun.

He played songs that he liked, sometimes not even the whole song. He would just go, “Well, that’s really the only part that I like,” or, “I should learn another verse to that.”

The problem with the show wasn’t him; it was the crowd. I’ve been to a lot of different shows and always wondered why Houston gets such a bad reputation as a bad crowd — until now.

Members of the audience were downright rude to Lewis. One lady behind me screamed, “It’s been a while” after every song that he played. And there where others who screamed “Free Bird.” No one really wants to hear “Freebird.” It’s just a long song that has become a way to heckle an artist.

One of the biggest problems in the crowd was with cell phones. It’s really cool that your new iPhone can take videos and you can post them to them Internet almost instantaneously, but do you really need to record the whole show and post it to Youtube?

Isn’t just going to a show enough anymore? Now you have to sit with your arm propped up and your finger on record. I would like to think that this was only happening where I was sitting, but I really don’t think so. This would have been a truly amazing show, if it weren’t for the crowd.

My only hope is that this isn’t the last of Lewis that we see. I would come back to see him again. He is a much more talented musician than I ever gave him credit for.

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