This does not happen at an Animal Collective concert.

When Creed broke up, in 2004, after selling 25 million copies of just three studio albums, including 11 million (the rare "diamond" certification, in record-biz parlance) of 1999's Human Clay, there seemed to be little chance that the Florida quartet would ever reform, much to the dismay of their fans and the delight of their detractors. Following their split, Tremonti called his former high-school pal Stapp "a cancer," likened working alongside him to a tour of duty in Vietnam, and swore that the band wouldn't reunite "unless it was for world peace." And that was before Stapp's periodic substance abuse and humiliating public misconduct came to a head.

At last check, world peace was not imminent, but the Worst Band in the World, according to Google's search algorithms and music snobs alike, has nevertheless returned. Now in their mid-thirties, they're not quite filling seats as they did in their heyday—tonight's attendance is a modest 5,000, out of the venue's capacity of 25,000. But there's still a sizable audience for Creed's unique alchemy: skillfully crafted grunge and metal riffs atop churning bass (Brian Marshall) and drums (Scott Phillips); melodies that unite working-class teens and their once-rowdy moms; and, most memorable of all, Stapp's portentous, Christian-themed lyrics and back-of-the-throat, beefcake baritone delivery—routinely mocked by hipsters as the reductio ad absurdum of the mainstream rock phenomenon known as "man voice."

For years, the members of Creed refused to read any of their reviews, well aware of their punching-bag status among rock critics. "I had the ostrich theory," Tremonti says. "I just buried my head—I had to tell everybody in my family, every one of my friends, 'If you see something derogatory, don't call me.'" Although much of the abuse heaped on Creed was- a by-product of—pardon the Bill O'Reillyism—the media's secular liberalism, Creed was also attacked by Evangelicals for not being Christian enough. So while rock critics accused them of obfuscating their religious message in order to infiltrate the minds of mainstream mallgoers, fervent Christians decried Stapp's occasional skepticism about organized religion, and pilloried the band for placing songs on soundtracks for "satanist" fare like Halloween H20 and Scream 3.