NEW YORK — When on the verge of releasing a new album, most bands opt to test-drive a good amount of new material in concert. Limp Bizkit aren't most bands.
During a break in the Summer Sanitarium Tour, Fred Durst and company performed just two new songs at a club show at Webster Hall on Wednesday night. With the exception of the Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water album cut "Hot Dog," the remaining seven songs in the less than 60-minute set might as well have been a greatest-hits revue.
To the band's credit, it knows its strengths. Coming off the bridge in "Break Stuff" the floor threatened to collapse as most everyone bounced in unison. Durst, on the shoulders of two bodyguards, waded through the crowd while surfers fought the currents to get a memorable high five from the frontman. "Nookie," "Faith" and "Take a Look Around" were welcomed with similar fanfare.
For their abbreviated cover of the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," which Durst says will appear on Limp Bizkit's new album, due this fall (see "Re-Do Of Who's 'Blue' In Queue For Overdue Bizkit Stew"), he again left the stage and shabbily crooned the tune atop a bar in the back. The rest of the band, meanwhile, must have enjoyed a break since the music was supplied by a backing track. The song drew to a close just before the point at which the original explodes.
The concert felt like a rap-rock Flaming Lips show for a moment when a fan dressed in a plush Winnie the Pooh costume joined Durst onstage for "My Way." Pooh was obviously a huge Bizkit fanatic, evidenced by the way he put all he had into his spastic dance moves. And although the honey-grubbing bear was rocking with two broken arms, which he sustained at a Summer Sanitarium show last week, by the look of it he didn't care if he wound up adding to his injuries.
Bizkit ended the song with a coda plea for the crowd to "jump, jump, jump!" while guitarist Mike Smith copped the riff from Ministry's "Thieves."
The new song "Stick 'Em" proved this interlude appropriate, given its industrial influences. The song borrows the "ha ha ha" from the Fat Boys' song of the same name, similar to how the Chocolate Starfish song "My Generation," which they also played, makes use of the trademark stutter from the Who song. Combined with a chant of "Fight!" that resembles the one in Marilyn Manson's "Fight Song," Bizkit's "Stick 'Em" could be the karaoke mash-up of the Fat Boys and Manson tracks.
As opposed to the oversized turntables and Marshall stack setup Limp Bizkit employ for their Summer Sanitarium sets (see "Metallica, Limp Bizkit Set Off Musical Fireworks At Summer Sanitarium"), the stage for this gig, which was cybercast on AOL, was much more modest. Sam Rivers' illuminated bass, which matched John Otto's drum kit, was the flashiest it got. Limp Bizkit nevertheless flexed their most powerful muscles and proved that they can still be explosive even without the pyrotechnics.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.