Deftones Open North American Tour With Career-Spanning Set

Fans sing along with new songs, mosh to old ones.

PHILADELPHIA — Hard-rockers the Deftones' latest album, White Pony, hit record-store bins Tuesday, but the Sacramento, Calif., quintet didn't bludgeon its fans with new tunes the following night, when it kicked off a North American tour at the Electric Factory.

The band’s 16-song set was almost equally divided between its three releases, which include 1995's Adrenaline and 1997's Around the Fur. "We figured that we should play about the same amount from each disc because those first two albums got us here," frontman Chino Moreno said while relaxing after the show. "And we also want to give our fans a chance to get the album."

But judging from the crowd’s reaction, the Deftones, who recently returned from a European tour, could have focused on the new material. Fans were more than familiar with the songs from White Pony, particularly the single "Change (In a House of Flies)" (RealAudio excerpt). The midtempo tune clearly connected with the capacity crowd of 3,000.

Other new songs, such as "Digital Bath," "Feiticeira," "Knife Prty" and "Korea," benefited from the venue's crisp, clear sound and also were greeted with considerable enthusiasm by the fans.

"I think the new stuff went over so great because a lot of people have the album already," Steve Dallesandro, 17, of Cherry Hill, N.J., said. "I went out and got it yesterday because I love these guys and I wanted to be familiar with everything they were going to play."

Fans And Band Brave Stifling Heat

"Deftones fans are dedicated," local fan Randy Montgomery, 23, said. "It shouldn't be surprising that so many people here bought the album. These guys are amazing; they've got so much energy. They put on a great show, even though it was unbelievably hot in there."

The Deftones, each dressed in black, performed before a stark backdrop that alternated between a pony defined by little red bulbs and tiny white lights that resembled stars. The group was soaked in sweat by the end of its 70-minute set, which started with "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" (RealAudio excerpt) and closed with "Headup."

Moreno, who initially wore a zippered sweat jacket onstage, was particularly sticky. The frontman worked the stage throughout the night, bending over and howling as fans extended their hands toward him, slapping a number of paws during the show. Toward the end of its set, as the group launched into "7 Words" (RealAudio excerpt), Moreno looked like a boxer in the final rounds of a bout as his bandmates chugged along behind him.

"It was so unbelievably hot," Moreno said afterward. "I'm not used to this."

At that point, the crowd, which had been fairly restrained throughout much of the night, erupted into mini-moshpits. "You just have to mix it up," Jon Rohr, 19, also of Philadelphia, said. "We owe it to them. They chose to play their first show [of this tour] in Philly."

"Anybody remember the first time we played here?" Moreno asked the crowd. Few of the fans at the predominantly male-populated show could have attended the Deftones’ Philadelphia debut at the 21-and-over club J.C. Dobbs in 1995, since most of the group's aficionados weren't close to being legal five years ago. Last night, there were so few adults in the audience that the downstairs bar was closed.

Getting Some Brotherly Love

"Philly is a great place to start this," Moreno said after the show. "This place has always given us a lot of love. They were very much into our first two albums."

The band, which also includes guitarist Stephen Carpenter, bassist Chi Cheng, drummer Abe Cunningham and DJ Frank Delgado, proved Moreno’s point, stirring the crowd with early material such as "Bored" and "Root." Fans were body-surfing throughout "Mascara" and "Around the Fur."

"When they played the old stuff, I was just going crazy," Jason Carey, 20, of Doylestown, Pa., said. "This was an incredible concert."

Ditto for Dan Gallagher, the 24-year-old who traveled from Brooklyn, N.Y., to catch the Deftones. "It was so worth it to see them. I got tickets to see them in Jersey [on Friday, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel]. But that place is so big, and they're part of a big show [WXRK radio’s Dysfunctional Family Picnic] with a lot of bands, so I know they won't be playing as long as they did tonight. I had to see them in a place this size because when they come back after this tour, I doubt they'll be playing places this size anymore."