DETROIT Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst walked onto the gated, smoke-filled stage of the State Theater and kicked off the free, Napster-sponsored Back to Basics tour Tuesday amid a shower of colored lights and a sea of frenzied fans, many of whom waited in line overnight to be among the 3,000 let in.
Despite security concerns, the evening was relatively trouble-free. Actor Verne Troyer, who played "Mini-Me" in the film "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," introduced the rap-rockers, carefully climbing on a platform in the middle of the 20-foot fence that separated the band from the crowd-surfing audience. "There's only one reason all of you are here. Because it's motherf---ing free," Troyer said.
"We put up this gate for extra security because we're keeping it f---ing real," Durst said of the fence, which was assembled after Cypress Hill's opening set by stagehands dressed in prison outfits. "We're here for a good time, man. We don't want no assh--- f---ing it up for everybody."
Durst, in his trademark black T-shirt, jeans and backward red baseball cap, led Limp Bizkit through a set that opened with "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water," off their soon-to-be-released album of the same name. The fans relentlessly rushed the fence and crowd-surfed in an attempt to climb over it and get face to face with the band.
"You had a bunch of crazy people that wanted to do that sh--," Benn Laroque, 26, of Columbus, Ohio, said. "But [security] did all right."
Crowd Tries To Take Stage
The frenzy climaxed during "Faith" (RealAudio excerpt), off Limp Bizkit's Three Dollar Bill Y'all, when a fan made it over the fence and tried desperately to get to Durst. The fan was tackled and dragged offstage by security.
"What do you want to do, date me?" Durst said. "Stay off this f---in' stage, man. You're f---in' up the whole show," he said. Later, fans made it to the top of the gate and Durst urged them to jump. "Jump! Jump! Do it," he said.
Bodies were constantly slamming and squeezing into one another as fans tried in vain to get past security and across the fence. "I got kicked in the lips and loved it. It was hard-core," Brook Licawa, 20, of Warren, Mich., said.
Durst got the crowd involved, bringing a male audience member up to sing Method Man's part on "N 2 Gether Now" and directing them to stick their middle fingers in the air during "Just Like This," one of the last songs in the set. After the set, fans cheered the band back onstage for a string of encores that included "Take a Look Around" (RealAudio excerpt), the theme song to the movie "Mission: Impossible 2." The encore also included covers of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and House of Pain's "Jump Around," and ended with "Nookie" (RealAudio excerpt).
"The covers were pretty sweet. I loved the Metallica sh--," Laroque said. "The people were in it."
Jackie Bozman, 20, of Trenton, Mich., found it amazing that Limp Bizkit put so much energy and effort into the show, which featured columns of fire, flashing lights, fireworks and confetti cannons. "I can't believe all the lights and stunts [they] did for a free concert," she said.
"I want to thank Napster and everybody here for being as free as we want. It doesn't happen every day," Durst said as he concluded the concert, giving fans one final Limp Bizkit salute: the middle finger.
Tommy Lee Joins Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill's B-Real echoed Durst's sentiments as he stood in front of a huge $100 "Cypress bill," featuring the bandmembers instead of Andrew Jackson. "Welcome to the first night of this great tour. Nobody else is doing this sh-- because nobody else has the balls. We got two bands here tonight with real big balls," he said during the opening set.
Cypress Hill played a series of songs from their self-titled debut album before bringing out Methods of Mayhem frontman Tommy Lee and performing rock versions of songs off their Black Sunday album.
"It's better when they do that sh-- because it shows they can do more than one thing," said John Lewis, a 16-year-old from Freemont, Ohio.
Clouds of marijuana smoke filled the theater as the pot-friendly band played their first hit, 1992's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" (RealAudio excerpt), which featured a blazing conga solo by percussionist Eric Bobo. B-Real joined in on the weed smoking when Cypress went into their trademark tributes to marijuana, performing "I Want To Get High," "Stoned Is the Way of the Walk," and "Hits From the Bong."
"It's called the Kush, and it's the best weed in the world," B-Real said as he took a long drag off a fat joint. The salute ended with Bobo and B-Real rhythmically attacking the congas, lifting the crowd to their feet as they clapped their hands to the beat.
Cypress Hill also performed an unreleased song, "Jack You Back," a heavy metal-rap song that shows the continued integration of the musical style the group first debuted on Cypress Hill IV. "You might find this on Napster somewhere," B-Real said. "But don't tell Sony."
Cypress closed with "Rock Superstar" (RealAudio excerpt), the only song they performed off their most recent release, the platinum Skull and Bones.
The Detroit all-female band Broadzilla opened for Cypress Hill but didn't get a warm welcome in their hometown.