Thursday, 10 February 2011

Deftones: Live in Jakarta, 8 February 2011

Stephen Carpenter: guitar
Abe Cunningham: drums
Frank Delgado: keyboards/samples
Chino Moreno: vocals/guitar
Sergio Vega: bass

I was glad I had been too busy of late to spend much time anticipating the Deftones show, as I was glad that the band did not take the stage until a full three and a half hours after I had arrived at Tennis Indoor Senayan. Because when they did finally appear, the soaring energy as Chino Moreno ran on to the stage to launch into Birthmark, from their debut Adrenaline, could be felt around the room to a thunderously positive reaction from the audience. Three and a half hours of waiting eagerly was just about right to fully appreciate the quality of the two opening numbers. Without pause, the band went straight in Engine No. 9, also from Adrenaline, with the vast majority of the crowd shouting out the words as Moreno pointed the mic toward them. Admittedly the venue wasn't quite packed to the rafters, but the turnout was not shabby at all ,and plenty of noise got made. However, choosing not to enter the moshpit turned out to be a wise move on my part, as there were many reports of phones being stolen, including that which belonged to a friend of mine. 

The band were by no means stingy, pounding out twenty-three songs, with few breaks and limited on-stage banter. Although they did make sure to say 'thank you' frequently during the show, and Moreno also took sips from a can of Bintang at several junctures, his professed enjoyment of it only making the concert-goers that much more in love with him. His energy as a performer was a lot of fun to witness as he raced around the stage for the fast tracks, and danced in slightly effeminate fashion for some of the more beat-laden numbers. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter, in contrast, barely moved from his corner of the stage throughout the show, his face hidden by a massive head of hear. However, his sonic assaults were much more palpable live than on record to my ears, especially when he strapped on a detuned, 7-string ESP; its heaviness tearing through the auditorium.

The band's musical tightness must be praised; the only noticeable slip-ups being when at one point Chino lost his way slightly on the Gibson SG he played for a significant number of songs, although he quickly apologized with a smile. When Passenger was played, I did get a sense that Chino struggled with the high notes as he sang both parts of the song originally released as a duet with Tool/A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan on White Pony. He definitely looked a little fatigued when done.

After a brief break, the band retook the stage with crowd-pleasers Root and 7 Words and it is not an understatement to stay that the crowd went absolutely wild, with fists all around pumping the air to the chant of 'suck, suck, suck, suck...'. To top it all off, during 7 Words, Moreno dived into the crowd, still singing  Toward the very end of the song, and show, he was lifted up, every audience member in his immediate proximity hands outstretched, conjuring a messianic image. It was at this point in the concert that I felt the deepest regret at not being able to fulfill the request of a young lady whom I teach, to take pictures of the show for her perusal. I was having far too much fun to think about much else. 

note: Original line-up bassist Chi Cheng has been in a near state of coma since 2008. I hope he pulls through. I was thinking about him especially, given his love for playing Iron Maiden covers with the band, a week before Maiden are also set to rock Jakarta.

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