From my previous experiences at metal concerts, a certain formula applies to the performances on that particular night. Most times, especially if there’s three bands on the bill, the show will progress as follows:
Band #1: No one cares, band eats shit and kills themselves.
Band #2: Feel like they should be headlining and blow everyone away.
Band #3: Rest on their laurels, thinking they’re the shit and fuck the dog musically, compared to the openers.
I can’t say I’ve been to a show and not gone home happy. Not once. Although, I can say I’ve been to a show and realized how much better an opening act is as opposed to a headliner. I witnessed Lamb Of God serve a hearty knuckle sandwich to Metallica in metalology and Black Label Society carve Judas Priest a new asshole in the same spectrum. No offense to either of those metal gods but the openers seem hungrier and younger. Albeit, barely younger.
On this night in Vancouver, the formula stayed true for the most part. I showed up an Anthrax guy and went home a Testament guy.
Death Angel had a pretty solid set. Lead singer Mark Osegueda’s hair was so long he could almost tap dance on it. His headbanging perfectly complimented the twin guitar attack of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar. Unfortunately, not a hell of a lot of people were there to see it. That was probably the most empty I’ve ever seen the Vogue Theater for an opener. It didn’t hurt the atmosphere too much because the first three rows were filled with insane metal maniacs — like myself.
Skipping to the headliner, Anthrax was… well, Anthrax. They played all their hits with no fuss. Belladonna was spot on, Bittner did a great job sitting on the Benante throne and I caught Scott Ian’s Bart Simpson guitar pick! There were no shorts to be eaten on this night. The crowd was wild and so was the music.
As for the rightful headliners…
Testament was OFF THE CHARTS!!! These boys have been around for the better part of 25 years and they proved they’re a band still very much in their prime. Lead singer Chuck Billy looked right at me and asked me if I wanted guitarist Eric Peterson’s guitar pick. Fuck yeah, I do! Pick #2 of the night was attained and I nearly melted when Chuck stared right into my eyes. The setlist was as tight as tight can be with a mix of awesome songs, new and old. Two people managed to climb on stage and one was up there for a good 30 seconds before any security guard noticed he shouldn’t be there!
He tried to stage dive but only made it about two feet before my buddy, “Rick The Security Guy,” manhandled him. He’s three times my size and I wouldn’t dream of jumping the barrier if he’s at a show.
Long story short, if you ever get the chance to see any of these three bands live, make sure you take the opportunity. Good metal fun was had by all…
Except for “Moronic Stage Diver #1.”
May He Rest In Peace.