Queens of the Stone Age

Photos and Review by Jennie Book

On an unusually hot October 6, 2023 San Francisco evening, the Bill Graham Civic lived up to its reputation as a hallowed hall of rock as Queens of the Stone Age shared their “The End is Nero” tour with a sold-out crowd of Northern California fans.

Josh Homme, QOTSA’s frontman and unapologetic maestro of rock swagger, cut a towering figure on stage. His voice was in great form throughout the 17-song set, and his bandmates – Troy Van Leeuwen playing a beautiful well-loved guitar, Michael Shuman on bass, Dean Fertita on keyboards and guitar, and Jon Theodore on drums – rocked hard around him, their stage chemistry palpable.

The extensive setlist covered two decades of sonic evolution, with the crowd reaching a zenith during “No One Knows,” the band’s magnum opus. Audiences of all ages yelled the lyrics, everyone’s voices united in rock ‘n roll joy. Other newer songs included “Carnavouyer,” “Negative Space,” and “Time & Place,” with all albums being represented in the set.

The final song of this tour date was “Go With the Flow” – it was set to be “Song For The Dead,” but San Francisco’s curfew cut it short, which was disappointing to the SF crowd who could have happily stayed all night.

Openers Viagra Boys and Jehnny Beth played excellent, crowd-happy sets, helping fill up the sold-out venue with their own rabid fans. Jehnny Beth spent time on the barricade, singing to her fans up close, and Viagra Boys’ keyboardist Elias Jungqvist jumped out into the crowd and surfed over fans that were happy to propel him around. Both could fill large venues headlining their own bills, so it was special to have all three bands under the same roof on the same night.