So, here we are with what is (far as I know, anyway) Godsmack’s first and only “greatest hits” collection available. Collections like this inevitably tend to piss a lot of people off, if for no other reason than because not every fan’s personal favorites make the cut. But this release has something every Godsmack fan can enjoy. Not only is their cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1969 breakout song “Good Times, Bad Times” amazing and flawless, but each of their studio albums is well represented here. All of the biggest singles from Godsmack (1998), Awake (2000), Faceless (2003), The Other Side (acoustic EP, 2004), and IV (2006) are present. I personally would have liked to see another song from Awake on the record (preferably either “Bad Magick” or “Spiral”), especially considering that both the self-titled album and Faceless get four apiece, but that’s a minor quibble. All of these songs sound as great as they did the day they were released. A lot of folks out there bitch and moan that Godsmack has ripped their sound off from Alice In Chains or that frontman Sully Erna sounds “exactly” like the late Layne Staley (RIP, Layne). To those people I have this to say: Grow a set of ears.
But as the title of my review indicates, the DVD included in this package is worth the price of the album by itself. Most bonus DVDs top out at about half an hour or so and you’ll usually get something like a couple music videos and some “behind-the-scenes” footage of a band. Not so with Good Times, Bad Times. The DVD is an hour and a half long and is a full acoustic show performed at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. Godsmack have been experimenting with acoustic versions of their songs since 2004’s The Other Side, and this DVD shows just how far they’ve come in that regard. The band members prove themselves to be very accomplished musicians. Sully’s voice sounds incredible, and hot damn, that man can really play some percussion. On top of that, bassist Robbie Merrill shows off his skill with an incredible bass guitar solo that leads into an extended jam session with the whole band. Acoustic renditions of several of the band’s hits are performed, the highlights for me being “Keep Away,” “Voodoo,” “Serenity,” and “Re-Align.” But that’s not all. At two points in the show, Sully takes time out from performing to give some members of the audience a chance to ask any question of the band that might be on their minds. (Although he specifically states “don’t ask us about religion,” lol.) I found that to be a nice touch, and Sully gives some very intelligent and well-thought out answers. Original Godsmack guitarist Lee Richards and John Kosco, frontman for the band Dropbox (are they still around anyway?) also make appearances, and Kosco lends his powerful voice to the band’s performances of “Touché” and the blues classic “Reefer Headed Woman” by Aerosmith. If you heard this song and didn’t have a clue as to who Godsmack were, you’d swear it was being performed by a legendary blues band. That’s how well they pull this song off, especially with Sully’s wailing on the harmonica.
So yeah, Godsmack fans, pick this one up. You won’t regret it. These guys have been around for 10+ years, and if they keep it going like this I can see them being around for another decade.