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Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13

Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Limp Bizkit with Ryan Campbell
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Limp Bizkit is still very much a "thing," and -- while nu metal is no longer a prominent genre -- still very much alive. The characters within are the DJ, the epic drummer on his raised platform drawing from old-school metal, the bassist wearing a Limp Bizkit T-shirt, costume-prone guitarist Wes Borland in a hoodie and light-up mask, and of course, the now bearded lead singer Fred Durst, charismatic, yet plays the role of the asshole frontman. Even the audience plays their role, a room of testosterone-filled, alcohol-infused crowd ready to "break stuff."

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Slideshow: Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13

With the lights down and some jazzy music on the PA, Limp Bizkit took their time approaching the stage, letting the suspense build for many who have waited years to see them -- some even their whole lives. As the audience raised their red Solo cups in salute, the band opened with the boisterous "Why Try." At times Fred's voice and lyrical nuances got lost in the instrumentation and the huge wall of sound. That wasn't a problem for the crowd, though.

Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Photo by Erik Hess


Durst promised the crowd that "it's gonna be a wild-ass party tonight," and quickly launched into one of the band's early hits "Rollin'." While they may not have had as many hits in the last few years, unless you were living under a rock, it was hard to escape the phenomenon that was Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. That album defined the early millennium and influenced many young minds, and included the aptly titled "My Generation," a piece that while not entirely hopeful, simply says this is who I am, take it or leave it.

With the haunting opening riffs of "My Way," the audience immediately recognized the song and began cheering. Noticing the lighting at the Varsity, Fred told the crowd, "Let's break some chandeliers." The singer took the bridge in every song and used it as an opportunity to interact with the audience, often with random thoughts that pop into his head.

During a confusing intermission that lasted a few minutes, whether it was really an intermission or just the band trying to gather themselves, Durst urged the crowd, "Now's the time of the night to get a beer or take a piss." An audience member shouted out a request for "Nookie," and Fred simply said, "I'm gonna play whatever Wes wants to play," before he heard the opening riffs of "Stuck" and declaring, "Aw shit. That's fucking bad[ass]." Perhaps it was Borland being moody, but the band never did play the signature "Nookie." After Chocolate Starfish, Wes left the band for a bit, while they recorded Results May Vary, a telling of the rest of the band's following albums and included the song "Eat You Alive." The piece once again Fred speaking during the bridge -- the calm before the storm -- and leading into a primal scream that sums up all the rage and anger that can be housed in Durst.

 

Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Photos by Erik Hess

After a "boob-flashing" contest that was audience initiated, the band gave a nod to fellow rockers Rage Against the Machine with their version of "Killing in the Name," a song that ramped up the group. A few years ago Limp Bizkit covered The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," a haunting song that was used for the soundtrack on Gothika, a movie that had lukewarm reception from critics. Another foray into the soundtrack world for Limp was "Take a Look Around" for the Mission Impossible II's album. The familiar guitar opening played well into the band's take on the iconic theme and threw the crowd into a frenzy.

With no encore planned, the band closed their set with the "Break Stuff," the defining song that filters all emotions into energy and rage. As he prowled the stage, Durst urged those that didn't want to get lost in it to "move to the sides or exit the building. You might not be ready for what's about to happen."

Critic's bias: I was a fan of Chocolate Starfish, but have not listened to the band for years. They surprisingly put on a good show.

The crowd: Testosterone-filled men and some women. As photographer Erik Hess put it, "It's like I'm back in high school -- just with an older crowd." He also mentioned he witnessed two fist fights between two different men and women.

Overheard in the crowd: "I didn't figure out what 'chocolate starfish' meant until I was 22."

Random notebook dump: Fred Durst has a beard.

Random notebook dump 2: You could meet the band after the show for a fee of $150.

Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13
Photo by Erik Hess


Setlist

Why Try
Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)
Hot Dog
My Generation
Livin' It Up
My Way
I'm Broke
Gold Cobra
Eat You Alive
Pollution
Boiler
Re-Arrange
Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine cover
Behind Blue Eyes - The Who cover
Take a Look Around
Break Stuff


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