For the last night of its U.S. tour - Sunday at Mann Center's outdoor Skyline Stage - Queens of the Stone Age truly let loose. A frightening proposition, considering guitarist-singer-lead Queen Josh Homme and company always blast forth with the most dramatically stylized iteration of glam-inspired, stoner riff-rock since David Bowie started Tin Machine. But there was Homme, all 6-foot-4 of him, peering at the starry skies, lush greenery, and sold-out throng at his feet, and he was in awe.
"All this in the middle of the city!" he exclaimed.
Homme's vocals were a joy, touched by Bowie-esque nasal nuances, theatrical trills, and fleeting yet potent flashes of falsetto - yet with a strictly American flatness. It seemed unlikely that he or any singer could maintain such touches over the crisp ferocity of "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire," the crunch of "No One Knows," and the hard jangle of "My God is the Sun." But there was Homme, elegantly elongating his vowels and flirting with his high notes, quietly and powerfully. Kudos to their sound guy for maintaining, with clarity, the balance between raging rock-outs, ethereal harmonies, and Homme's vocal range.