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Deftones

Liberty Hall -- Monday, July 3, 2000

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Is it as hot out there as it is up here?" Deftones singer Chino Moreno asked the sold-out crowd. After the audience roared in agreement, Moreno reasoned that performing in a sauna-style environment was a small price to pay for a little intimacy. "This is how it should be," Moreno continued. "This is how we started, and this is how we want to keep it." It's a mutually beneficial relationship: Fans took full advantage of their many opportunities to reach out and touch their hero, and the band's intricate, moody compositions took dense form instead of wafting harmlessly into the air as they did at last year's Ozzfest at Sandstone. The Deftones' breathtaking light show was also an indoors-intensive feature, offering a starry backdrop, skylight-style overhead lumination, and a throbbing multicolored display that would rival most of the next night's fireworks displays.

This was one glitzy package that also offered substance, as Moreno displayed his full vocal range, from powerful highs to emotional whispers to tortured animalistic yelps, and his band followed suit by delivering an equally eclectic attack. After opening with "Be Quiet and Drive," a driving alt-rock tune that brings to mind Smashing Pumpkins at their best, the Deftones launched into "My Own Summer," one of the best Jekyll-and-Hyde singles of the '90s. The group then did sonic justice to a few challenging selections from its latest album, White Pony, before performing a haunting cover of Depeche Mode's "To Have and to Hold," with Moreno now on guitar and temporarily unable to surf through the throng. It's worth noting that while Limp Bizkit, a band to which the Deftones are often and unfairly compared, made an unpleasant mockery of an '80s standard (George Michael's "Faith"), Moreno and company have paid reverent tribute to Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, and their appreciation for these groups' melody and melancholy is abundantly clear in their own creations.

The Deftones' most achingly beautiful tune, "Mascara," was stretched to a pace even slower than its original crawl, turning into a morbid march as Moreno sang there's still blood in your hair/and I've got the bruise of the year. Soon after, a female fan took a foolhardy risk that could at best have resulted in the bruise of the year by swan-diving from the Liberty Hall balcony, much to the dismay of the security staff and the patrons below, who were shocked to have a body descend on them at high velocity. The excitement died down as the band slowed the collective pulse with such atmospheric fare as "Digital Bath." The electricity returned, however, when the Deftones closed their set with "Seven Words," a heavy tune from their aptly named debut record, Adrenaline. The encore continued the excellent setlist balance, as a slow, intricate tune was followed by another rap/metal rocker from Adrenaline, inspiring another fan to plunge from the heavens during the climactic chorus. Then, after a gloriously noisy ending, the show was over at the startlingly early time of 10:15, allowing sweaty but satisfied concertgoers plenty of time to catch their breath and dry out in the still-young night air.

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