The Misfits Return to New Jersey 35 Years Later (SHOW REVIEW)

The original ministers of horror punk returned to their home state as the Misfits reunited at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on a rainy/overcast Saturday, May 19th.. Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein filled an arena with a fan base who thought they would never get a chance to see this lineup play locally again. Rounding out the band was the explosive drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Acey Slade who assisted on rhythm guitar (slightly off stage) throughout the set.

Punk rock in venues built for basketball/ hockey can be dicey for bands that are used to playing packed sweaty clubs as the huge rafters and the sterile corporate environment can dilute the sound, vibe and communal overall experience. For the opener Murphy’s Law, frontman Jimmy Gestapo did his damnedest to not let the size of the show overwhelm the moment spending almost all of the groups set in the photo pit, lodged in-between the mammoth stage and the crowd.

Murphy’s played their short set with gusto as “Quest for Herb” kick-started things and “Panty Raid” got the house chanting as Jimmy brought a young fan out of the mosh pit and up onstage to enjoy the show from that angle and sing along with him. Perhaps the coolest moment of the bands set was their brief tribute to a different legendary Jersey rocker as they dropped a “Born to Run” musical interlude into “Cavity Creeps”.

Suicidal Tendencies were up next as bandanna wearing lead singer Mike Muir ran around the stage with spastic dance moves, firing up the slowly filling house. The Venice, California band ran through their ten songs, sampling different albums from their long career. Standouts were the blasting “Two Sided Politics”, the crunching riffs of “War Inside My Head” and the set-closing bass bumping “Pledge Your Allegiance” which had chants of “S!T!” ringing around the Prudential Center.

When it was time for the main act the huge arena was full and the crowd was electric, putting to rest the thought that the venue was too big for this moment. The Lodi demons opened with “Death Comes Ripping” off of Earth A.D. as only tunes from ’77-’83 were on display this night, like the sing-a-long heavy “I Turned Into A Martian”, the speedy “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” and soaring “Teenagers From Mars”.

Lombardo’s drums were massive, standing out on “Vampira” and “All Hell Breaks Loose” but the whole band was in excellent form from the get-go. Only reveled in the thudding “London Dungeon” and playing “Devilock” while his huge knee slides flew across the arena’s stage, he cruised past a wall of speakers (painted with the glow in the dark Misfits logo) inflatable screaming jack-o-lanterns and a massive video screen while Doyle’s riffs were crushing for “Green Hell” and the darkly grooving “Some Kinda Hate”.

Danzig sounded in fine form and seemed pumped to have approximately 30,000 backup singers on this night. Everyone joined in on songs they have known for decades; “Where Eagles Dare”, “Hybrid Moments” and “Die, Die My Darling” had everyone fist pumping, head banging and slam dancing with joy.

The band played almost everything (“We Are 138” and “Angelfuck” were noticeably absent) and was on point for killer numbers like “Skulls”, “Bullet” (complete with Zapruder inspired video montage) and the main set closing “Last Caress”.

Ending the encore it seemed the band almost forgot to play “Attitude” but were reminded before they left the stage, wrapping up a completely ripping night of their classics played with energy and abandon. Fans, old or young, could hardly ask for more and hopefully, the positive personal/legal vibes continue so this lineup to remains intact to tear ass across the country.

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