Papa Roach have been around for some twenty years (if that doesn’t make me feel old I’m not sure what will!), so it’s no surprise that they have gathered a hefty fan base over the years and completely sold out tonights show, the first date of their UK tour. The room is absolutely packed out, stretched right to each corner and the far depths of the bar, and it’s good to see a whole set of age ranges from the full span of their career.
It’s obvious from the first verse of Burn, which kicks off the night, that their sound is perfect, thick and rich and the audience seems to instantly ignite singing along with the chorus. Silence is the Enemy is next, and the band seem to have sprung out on stage with the energy you might have after just being triumphant on a battle field. This energy rubs off on the fans completely, and when they leap back in time with Blood Brothers, the word crazy doesn’t quite cover the reaction.
Going for even more energy, before Give Me Back My Life starts, singer Jacoby Shaddix engages with the crowd, and when Jacoby says “everyone in the back”, he really means everyone. There is still a teeny bit of room for a little more madness, but I have a feeling by the end of the night the band will get them all going to the maximum. When the next song starts, it certainly seems they are already close. Between Angels and Insects is next and the reaction is, obviously, amazing. It’s great to see all fans going nuts for one of their earliest hits. This classic is followed by Where Did the Angels Go, which has just as great a response. I’m not sure if I can remember seeing another band who’s recent hits and classic tunes have gotten such unanimous support from a live crowd.
After a non-stop beginning to the set, Forever brings a more subdued and emotional turn. It’s great to see both band and crowd singing along to this almost anthemic ballad together, and there is just as much love for this as the crowd stop jumping for just a few minutes. Jacoby connects with the crowd flawlessly, and remarkably this gets even more intense when he launches into the crowd during Leader of the Broken hearts. Unlike any other singer I have seen take the dive off stage before, he doesn’t jump in to go crazy with everyone in the pit, or take a glorified stage dive, he just walks around with his mic, singing through the crowd and to individual members. This is a real moment to remember, and a moment that I’m sure made a lot of fans dreams come true.
Plunged into darkness, Jacoby still in the crowd, there is silence from the stage and cheers from the audience. A dramatic pause full of anticipation follows, before the faint sound of music. It’s the intro from latest album The Connection, and I think everyone knows what’s next. Lights and noise burst through the dark as the opening riffs of Still Swinging start. The reaction is instantaneous, from lighters and fingers in the air to a blur of motion, the crowd are absolutely mental again.
Even though I grew up listening to Infest this is a real highlight to the show for me which, I think, speaks volumes about how ‘P-Roach’ have managed to keep producing great records and grown such a loyal fan base. The crowd are buzzing, and get even louder after taunts that the recent Germany crowds were the loudest they have ever had, they probably hit their loudest in participation during Born With Nothing, Die With Everything. Followed by Scars, Life Line and To Be Loved, the band leave the stage after a little trip right through the years of Papa Roach.
Screaming for an Encore, no one is disappointed when the band are right back on stage starting out with Getting Away With Murder, Dead Cell and ultimately ending with – it had to be, didn’t it? – Last Resort. This is a real climactic ending for such a great setlist that illustrates the full extent of the ‘Roach discography, the loyalty and diversity of the fans they have won over the years, and literally no soul in the room is left still or quiet.