Clarkston,Michigan (August 10,2022)-New-age rockers Incubus rolled into Michigan for a scheduled stop on their highly anticipated 2022 Summer Tour in direct support of their eighth studio album ‘8’ released in April 2017 via Island Records. Longtime fans of the band once again embraced the return of the legendary rock outfit with a capacity crowd of over 15,000 faithful who packed into the Pine Knob Amphitheatre in Clarkston, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, to hear the decades-old hits and deeper tracks featured during a 100-minute planned set.
As most highly touted artists currently have done,Incubus walked onstage to another legendary outfits music the opening riff from Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” If the name doesnt jog the memory, more mature fans (age wise of course) might know the song better by its iconic refrain, “I want my… I want my MTV.” The song was a fitting preface for a band that refined its sound during the height of MTV’s most influential era where if a artist or band was on the hot playlist, it was almost assured a massive following.
Since first coming together in 1991, the Grammy nominated band with amazingly every founding member still performing, has consistently elevated themselves and alternative music to new creative heights. The California band’s sales have eclipsed 23 million albums worldwide with multiplatinum and platinum certifications from around the globe. Sometimes compared to genre contemporaries like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alice in Chains, the band found a regular presence on the album oriented radio stations for several years. This familiarity helped define and build a sound that bridged the gap between grunge of the mid-90’s and the more mainstream pop-rock that would follow in the early 2000’s, also serving to build a massive fan base that stands to this day.
Things kicked into high gear when mixmaster DJ Chris Kilmore got into his spinning and scratching routine leading into the opening tune “Nice to Know You.” The crowd reaction was near spontaneous and quickly got the sold out venue up from their seats where many would remain for the expansive 18-song set. It didn’t take long for Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd to get into it as usual. His energy was infectious as he bounced about the stage as the band tore through “Circles,” “Anna Molly” and “Are You In?,” that featured a super entertaining take on the Doors “Riders on the Storm.” Subversively, guitarists Mike Einziger and Ben Kenney displayed their calm presence on guitars while José Pasillas laid into the drums kit with energy a plenty which set the tone for the evenings festivities.
With all that cohesiveness behind the frontman Brandon Boyd, the unabashed long-haired singer, worked the stage like he has for over 30 years since forming the band in 1991. Boyd, now a youthful 46, showed tremendous vocal range and maintained control as he put the band’s grunge-like sound on display. For his long term fans this was a welcome change from previous tours that found Boyd being challenged with the higher registers that are highlighted during the more energetic cuts “Sick Sad Little World” and the hard charging anti-narcissiam anthem “Megalomaniac,” which ironically, is their only number one hit. This time around the highs where delivered with precision and sounded as good live as when each cut was fresh and new many years prior.
With momentum fully established Incubus transitioned into “Echo” before getting into “Mexico,” a tune that hasn’t been played stateside in more than a decade. Interestingly, seven of the 20 songs from the setlist came from the band’s fourth studio album, 2001’s Morning View. “Karma,Come Back,” the only cut from the 2020 release Trust Fall (side B), “Vitamin” and “The Warmth,” questionable in their respective placement in the setlist, were each played with the vigor and enthusiasm that each cut demands.
Incubus played the hits, including scratch-centric tune “Pardon Me,” another closet hit and covered Lenny Kravitz’s funky 1991 track “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” not only proving Boyd’s vocal prowess has not waned, but once again showcasing Killmore’s masterful scratching skills on the turntables.
After finishing their main set with the crescendo filled “Dig,” along with a well deserved short break off stage, the band returned to the well deserved roar of the fans for an encore of the Incubus anthem “Drive,” handily their most popular song. It was a fitting but otherwise “mellow” finish to an electric, rollicking guitar-and-drum-filled performance.
Like many alternative bands from the early ’90s, Incubus remains a solid and relevant band that continuous to fill amphitheaters, delivering memorable performances time after time. If tonights production is any indication, expect to see them continue to headline concerts and music festivals for the foreseeable future.
Incubus will be touring the US this summer with Sublime with Rome and The Aquadolls. The tour starts early July and ends early September.