‘dance with the dead in my dreams’
In the past 10 days I have made up for being born in 1977 instead of 1972. Being born in ’77 made me 13 in 1990…not 18, not even 16…but 13. Old enough to know that the Clash of the Titans was going on just 90 miles away at the Cow Palace, old enough to know I really, really wanted to go, but not old enough to convince my parents and not old enough to drive there anyway. I wasn’t even old enough to have friends to drive me if I ran away. It was even worse in ’88 when I wanted to see Iron Maiden for the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Tour. That show was only 30 miles away and one of my best friends at the time was going…his dad was taking him! But alas, he was born in ’74 and was 14…I was only 11. So many opportunities lost to age.
So, I won’t pretend American Carnage makes up for Clash of the Titans and I won’t pretend seeing Exodus in 2010 is the same as seeing Exodus in 1989 and I won’t pretend seeing Scorpions Farewell Tour is the same as the World Wide Live Tour. But it’s better than nothing, right?
Over the last 10 days I saw Rush as well…they played Moving Pictures and blew my mind! I saw Cinderella for the first time. I saw Scorpions prove they’ve still got it and show no signs of slowing down even though they are saying goodbye (while at the same time promising The Best is Yet to Come). I witnessed Gary Holt with his new incarnation of Exodus tear up the Bluebird with material from their excellent new albums as well as classics from the 80s. I experienced Testament for the first time. I got to see Megadeth and Slayer for the 4th or 5th time; this time being different because they performed their classics, Rust In Peace and Seasons of the Abyss, in their entirety. It’s been a good 10 days…and I think it’s going to take more than twice that time for my ears to stop ringing!
Scorpions Farewell Tour, 1st Bank Center, August 17th, 2010
The Good: Seeing Cinderella for the first time was awesome! Night Songs and Long Cold Winter were essential to my youth. Even though Tom Keifer has aged, he is still prancing around the stage in what I assume are women’s clothing and he can still hit the high notes. Night Songs, Don’t Know What You Got and Gypsy Road were all highlights. Scorpions were everything you could expect and more. I saw them back in ’95 and they haven’t lost anything since then. I know they say this is farewell, but this is by choice and not necessity. They blasted through all the classics, including The Zoo, No One Like You, Rock You Like A Hurricane and Blackout, as well as some new tracks from their latest album. The drum kit on 15 ft. risers and the T-shaped stage brought back memories of real arena rock shows of the past.
The Bad: We thought we had 3rd row seats. Turns out we had 3rd row seats…but they were behind the GA pit. Why they would put seats on the floor at all is beyond me. The limited space made for a claustrophobic experience. I also forgot my camera battery, so I lacked the ability to catch some of the better moments of the night.
The Ugly: Tom Keifer at 49.
Scorpions (picture via Denver Post)
March of Brutality Tour, Bluebird Theater, August 21st, 2010
The Good: This current line-up are responsible for 2 of the best thrash metal albums of the past decade. Exhibit A: The Atrocity Exhibition and Exhibit B: The Human Condition. They performed tracks from these albums with some material from the 1985 masterpiece Bonded By Blood. The show was high energy the whole time and Gary Holt still kicks ass and looks like he’s having fun.
The Bad: The sound wasn’t incredible at the Bluebird and sometimes Rob Dukes vocals were buried in the mix. The crowd was sparse as well…the place wasn’t even half full. They also performed a short set, leaving Fabulous Disaster out even though they have been performing it at most shows. This might be due to the fact they were using the opening band’s equipment because their equipment hadn’t arrived.
The Ugly: The scar across Rob Dukes face and the fact that Metallica can sell out the Pepsi Center and Exodus can’t even fill the Bluebird.
Gary Holt of Exodus
American Carnage Tour, Magness Arena, August 25th, 2010
The Good: All bands brought it! Every band proving why they are still relevant and competing with each other for the thrash title! Seeing Testament for the first time was amazing. Megadeth performing Rust in Peace brought me back to another time and place and their encore of Peace Sells reminded me why I got into metal in the first place. Dave Mustaine also proved that he’s not always an asshole…ending the night was some real appreciation for the crowd and support he’s received over the years. Slayer sounded perfect. They started the night with World Painted Blood and Hate Worldwide before performing Seasons in the Abyss in it’s entirety. I forgot how great that album was. They ended the night with South of Heaven, Raining Blood, Aggressive Perfector and Angel of Death.
The Bad: Dave Mustaine‘s vocals were buried in the mix quite a bit. Arena based shows are starting to kill my ears, I had to leave during Slayer‘s last song because my head felt like it was going to split open. After 100s, maybe 1000s of shows over the years, I think it’s time to invest in my earplugs.
The Ugly: The crowd! This is a Slayer show!