Queens of the Stone Age are a rarity among modern rock acts. Not solely for their sound, though their toasty desert vibes are distinctive. Nor for their attitude, however pugnacious bandleader Josh Homme may be at times.

Rather, what’s unique about Queens of the Stone Age is that, nearly 30 years since their inception, they have managed to not only reach a new peak but sustain it for a decade.

QOTSA’s recent run began with the release of …Like Clockwork in 2013. That album—the band’s first to reach No. 1 in the U.S.—kicked off a loose trilogy of full-length releases. Queens’ latest release, 2023’s Grammy nominee for Best Rock Album In Times New Roman…, came as the bookend, with 2017’s Villains in between.

The group closed out the North American leg of their The End Is Nero Tour with a full slate of festivities, including, of course, a head-banging, feet-shuffling, two-hour set.

After fans flocked around the Queens Colosseum outdoor bazaar on the Forum concourse and came inside for opening sets from Imagined Order and Spiritualized, QOTSA welcomed them into the fold by diving straight into arguably their most iconic song, “No One Knows.” That the band played such a powerful card right from the get-go spoke not only to their ever-expanding confidence but also the deep catalog that underpins it.

They then dug back even further into their repertoire for “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”, from 2000’s Rated R, before thrusting forward into more contemporary rock anthems like “Smooth Sailing” and “My God is the Sun”.

QOTSA’s first foray into their newest material came with the fifth song, “Emotion Sickness”. That kicked off a stretch of three fresh tracks out of five, with “Time & Place” and “Carnavoyeur” buffered by “I Sat by the Ocean” and another all-timer, “Burn the Witch”. The group followed up another pair of more recent breakouts—“The Way You Used to Do” and “Villains of Circumstance”—with a return to their roots, courtesy of “Better Living Through Chemistry” and “Sick, Sick, Sick”.

From there on out, “Paper Machete” was the only QOTSA song from the 2010s and on to punctuate the setlist. Josh and company closed out the main set with “Make It Wit Chu” and “Little Sister,” and powered through a four-song encore comprised of “Regular John” (the band’s first-ever release), “God is in the Radio”, “Go With the Flow”, and a mosh pit-inducing “A Song for the Dead”.


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In between that mix of metallic melodies, understated ballads, and dancier numbers, Josh displayed his usual cheeky sense of humor and showmanship. He encouraged the audience to clap without acquiring any diseases (to put it lightly), cracked wise about this being the band’s last show ever, “this year” and told off security at the front of the crowd, as he is wont to do.

This being QOTSA’s final performance of 2023, there also appeared to be a bit more sentimentality from the Palm Springs native. At more than one point, he praised the audience, in direct contradiction to the typical criticism of less-than-diehard L.A. crowds, and referred to the city as “our home.”

Now back in their place of residence, QOTSA will have some time to relax and enjoy the holidays before taking their still-rising act back on the road. They are scheduled to play in Japan and Australia through February and New Zealand in March before spending April in Canada with The Strokes and the rest of the spring and summer hopping from festival to festival around the globe.

Such is life for a band that’s been at the vanguard of rock music for much of this millennium so far. But, unlike other groups with similar track records, QOTSA might just be getting started with this whole “bona fide rock stars” thing.

Check out a gallery of images from Queens of the Stone Age at the Kia Forum courtesy of photographer Ashley Osborn along with a collection of pro-shot videos by FleshCop, unless otherwise noted.

Queens Of The Stone Age – “No One Knows” – 12/16/23

[Video: D.A.’s Live Vault]

Queens Of The Stone Age – “The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “Emotion Sickness” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “I Sat By The Ocean” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “Make It Wit Chu” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “Little Sister” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “Regular John” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “God Is In The Radio” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “Go With The Flow” – 12/16/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – “A Song For The Dead” – 12/16/23

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Setlist: Queens Of The Stone Age | Kia Forum | Inglewood, CA | 12/16/23

Set: No One Knows, The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret, Smooth Sailing, My God Is the Sun, Emotion Sickness, I Sat by the Ocean, Time & Place, Burn The Witch, Carnavoyeur, The Way You Used to Do, Villians of Circumstance, Better Living Through Chemistry, Sick, Sick, Sick, Paper Machete, Make It Wit Chu, Little Sister

Encore: Regular John, God Is in the Radio [1], Go With the Flow, A Song for the Dead

[1] Extended with Jon Theodore drum solo