Category Archives: Concerts: 2005-2011

Kings of Leon @ various venues, CA Dates (3/28/05, 3/30/05, 04/05/05, 04/09/05)

It was the beginnings of Kings Of Leon. Some would say that it was before they became a completely different band (before the release of 2008’s Only By the Night). Half the KOL fans would argue that it was the END of good KOL. The other half will say it was the beginning of something more magical and focused. But in 2005, their sound was raw, unbridled, and undisciplined. And in 2005, their sound was rebellious and crazy energetic as well.

KOL had 2 EPs and 2 full length releases up to this point. They would spend the spring of 2005 opening for the global rock institution that is U2. I had only heard “King of the Rodeo” and “Four Kicks,” both of which completely baffled me, and not in a good way. But I was curious, and if U2 selected them to open their shows, they’ve got to have something special. So I got to hear KOL’s set on four occasions: twice in San Diego, once in LA, and the final occasion in San Jose – so you could think of this review as inclusive of all 4 dates.

The arena setting did not do KOL any favors or justice, not by any means, at least from my vantage point. The arenas seemed like big caverns, and this little group from Tennessee was trying to hold their own in front of thousands of fans that weren’t there for them. Caleb barely uttered a word onstage. They concentrated on their set and they were brave and determined. The band powered through their set each night, quickly flying through 40 minutes of energetic Southern alt-rock. Each cut was brief, sometimes clocking in just over two minutes. The songs were like concentrated doses of adrenaline, giving the audience brief but potent shots of energized rock, KOL style…and very unlike the anthemic slices of cinematic power pop they’re known for now.

During these shows, Caleb Followill’s vocals were so difficult to comprehend, and the quality did not improve over the 4 dates. There were times when I said to myself “I know the man is singing in English…but what’s he saying?” This was especially true during “Four Kicks.” But there was a quality to the voice that was unique. It was rough, but had this gruff bluesy tone to it, a soulfulness that sounded mournful and earnest. About the group and its playing ability, it was clear that they were a young group continuing to hone their musical abilities. The maturation over the next few releases would be evident. After these gigs I quickly forgot about Kings of Leon. And yes, the 2008 CD sparked my curiosity and I ended up liking a lot of those tracks. I may not have enjoyed it at the time, but I’m glad I got to see Kings of Leon before they broke in the US (or before they sold out…depending on your perspective).

The basic set was as follows with some variation:

Molly’s Chambers
Taper Jean Girl
Pistol of Fire
Wasted Time
The Bucket
Milk
Four Kicks
Razz
King of the Rodeo
Slow Night, So Long
California Waiting
Happy Alone
Head to Toe

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Jaguares @ The Rainbow Ballroom, Fresno CA 09/18/08

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. I attended my first Jaguares show in 2001. That show was mediocre at best. I wrongly assumed that this 2008 show would be better. So Jaguares were touring in support of a new CD, ’45.’ The group’s return brought a naïve hope that the material would be strong and would usher in a rejuvenated sound for Jaguares. But no. That CD was also mediocre. I had hoped the show would be stellar, and would make up for the mediocre album. But no. It was also rather shitty. Ok, so maybe I’m being too hard on the show…but it seemed fairly shitty at the time.

I got to the Rainbow Ballroom in Fresno with time to spare. It’s a grand old venue located in a less than desireable area of the city. Other great acts have graced this stage: AFI, Alejandra Guzman, Morrissey, etc. so it had a decent reputation and it was a high traffic venue for quality acts. I had high hopes for this show…it was going to be great, the band would be in fine form and the set would be triumphant and riveting. Unfortunately, the best part of the night was having a few expensive beers and hanging out with two friends from work. There was no opener, and the set was lackluster and heavy with material from ’45.’ While I have a fondness for this group (moreso a fondness for Caifanes), the set was dull and unremarkable. The new material was immediate and raw sounding, but it wasn’t very memorable. And the bulk of Jaguares’ older songs were represented as well during this set, however the momentum of the show didn’t improve. Those songs can be described as bluesy, low key latin rock. Caifanes songs appeared sporadically during the set, some with altered arrangements. On this tour, Hernandez (vocals) would be joined by long time collaborators Alfonso Andre on drums and Cesar “El Vampiro” Lopez on guitar. Marco Renteria was a newcomer to the group, having played bass on the ’45’ CD and on this tour. And finally, and probably the best part of the performance itself, was seeing ex-Caifanes member Diego Herrera onstage handling keyboards and saxophone. Herrera left Caifanes after the Rompiendo El Silencio Tour in 1992. His return to the stage was beyond belief. 3/5 of Caifanes were on stage and it was very cool, the closest thing to a reunion we may ever get (fast foward to my 2012 Caifanes review).

I’ve blocked most of this show from memory. The band played very well as they usually do. Saul strained at times but I think his voice  was stronger than it was in 2001. However the momentum of the show suffered because of odd song selections. I give credit to the band for not relying on its past to make a strong show. However their past can’t be denied, and unfortunately the newer material cannot stand next to the Caifanes material. The basic set was as follows, but I’m certain there are errors with the order and song selection.

Alquimista
Lobo
Entre tus Jardines
Dime Jaguar
Mátenme Porque me Muero
Miedo
Arriésgate
Fin
Pintame
Como Tú
Detrás de los Cerros
Nubes
Visible
Los Dioses Ocultos
Viajando en el Tiempo
Detrás de Ti
Afuera
Te lo Pido por Favor
____________________
La Forma
La Célula que Explota
No Dejes Que…

The following shots were taken by fan GustavoRojo. Thanks for the pics!

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Poison & Motley Crue @ The Save Mart Center, Fresno CA 08/16/11

Worst. Sound. Ever. Initially I was excited to see this cool package tour locally, but the sound was horrendous. It’s not that often that The Crue or Poison come to the Valley, so a double bill along with the legendary New York Dolls was an ultra-rare event. Unfortunately the mix left something to be desired…sorely desired. I’ve been to other Save Mart Center gigs and have sat in just about every section there is. This occasion I was gifted some tickets for Father’s Day (Yay!) and had a seat in the upper level, dead center. One would think this would be a great vantage point for visual and audio. But nope, it was horrendous. While Poison gave an entertaining set, I could barely hear it. It was as if I was listening to the set OUTSIDE of the arena and maybe 100 years away. The overall sound was very muffled…the vocals sounded tinny and distant. C.C. Deville’s guitar sound was just as subdued. And I couldn’t even hear Ricky Rockett’s drum parts. I saw his hands move across the drums, but didn’t HEAR anything. Wow this was bad. All I heard was snare and some cymbals, no kick or tom-toms. And Bobby Dall’s bass parts…virtually non-existent. I looked around and thought “are you guys hearing this???” It’s not fair to accurately review the band’s performance, but visually, Brett Michaels worked the crowd very well. He was an energetic and spirited front-man, and the band looked like they were having fun. It was awesome to see this guy work the crowd just like he did during the heyday of the Sunset era. Ricky paid Fresno a little tribute by using bass drum heads with a crude, spray painted “Fresno CA” on them.

Look What the Cat Dragged In
Ride the Wind
We’re an American Band
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Fallen Angel
Unskinny Bop
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Talk Dirty to Me
Nothin’ But a Good Time

The Crue took the stage to rapturous applause. Luckily their sound was more or less worked out, nowhere near as bad as Poison’s sound, but not great either. It was still a good improvement and made their set more enjoyable. The light show was jaw dropping. It was a tad over the top and blinding at times, but damn that was a cool light show. As for the players, while the guys in the Crue are all well known characters, I say characters because each one is so unique and recognizable, it had to be singer Vince Neil and drummer Tommy Lee that stole the show and provided the most showmanship. Vince is Vince. Great stage presence, very good singing ability (when he’s sober), and get’s into the gig, doesn’t merely perform for a pay check. His vocals were strong and he handled all the material very well for the most part. There were some clams but nothing major. Tommy Lee always provides the over-the-top entertainment. While he’s not know to be a very proficient drummer, he’s known for his showmanship and attitude. I think this tour he outdid himself. Tommy Lee’s drum solo consisted of a basic drum solo…but on a roller coaster rig. The kit was actually attached to tracks that elevated and released the whole drum kit. A fan was invited to sit in and join him for a ride. That was unbelievable – very rock SHOW and I emphasize the show part. Huge highlight. The other huge highlight for me was hearing “Home Sweet Home,” thee quintessential power ballad of the 80s. And so ended the Crue’s set. I’m not a fan per se of either band but was familiar enough to want to see the show. Glad I did, just wish the sound issues had been worked out.

Wild Side
Saints of Los Angeles
Live Wire
Shout at the Devil
Same Ol’ Situation
Primal Scream
Home Sweet Home
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Drum Solo
Guitar Solo
Looks That Kill
Dr. Feelgood
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
Kickstart My Heart

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Iron Maiden & Dream Theater @ The San Manuel Amphitheater, Devore CA 06/19/10

You can’t have a Judas Priest review without an Iron Maiden review. They’re the flagship groups of the new wave of British heavy metal. And Secondly (and more importantly), this concert was the last Dream Theater performance I attended that included founding drummer Mike Portnoy. This is important because while U2 inspired me to become a musician, it was Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater that made me pick up the phone and order my first drum kit. After hearing the first track off their Awake CD (after the first 60 seconds really), I literally grabbed a mail order catalog (I think it was ‘Drums in the Wind’), got on the phone, placed the order, and subsequently spent the entire summer paying it off. That drummer and that band completely changed the way I thought about drumming and music in general. Anyways, fast forward to this show which was a dream bill: the immortal Iron Maiden and progressive metal gods Dream Theater.

While Maiden put on an impressive show, it left me disappointed because their set drew heavily on post 2000 material. If you love the old stuff, this was not the show to attend. The crowd was still rabid and very responsive, it’s Iron Maiden after all. The band was incredibly tight as could be expected. Nicko McBrain on drums was a total powerhouse, pulling off fast patterns with his hands, feet, and keeping the band going like an unstoppable locomotive. Nicko’s time keeping is phenomenal, and his stamina left me feeling dizzy…and he made it all look easy! It was also incredibly cool to see thee Bruce Dickinson in person. His vocals were great, the showmanship and drive were top notch as well. He’s one heck of a front man, unfortunately James of Dream Theater can’t even compare. Dream Theater’s opening set was impeccable as always. They were greeted with a spirited response and played a set more tailored for the Maiden fans. The songs were some of their most popular tracks for sure, however I wouldn’t call them their best tracks. It was an appropriate set for a first timers – heavy, lengthy songs with break-neck musicianship. I think Panic Attack and Pull Me Under were the most familiar songs to the audience. Those tracks received the most spirited applause. This was my first Maiden show and 13th occasion seeing Dream Theater. I’ve been going to DT concerts since I was a high schooler, even seeing them 4 times during their 2004 tour alone. Total die hard.

This San Manual Amphitheater show was an experience for sure. 22,000 fans in attendance. I’ve also read that there were 30,000 fans in attendance. No matter the figures, it was still an endless sea of rabid metal-heads. I was overwhelmed. I was scared lol.

coolest moment: Bruce Dickinson dedicated a rousing version of Blood Brothers to Ronnie James Dio, the voice of metal (Rainbow/Black Sabbath), who passed away from stomach cancer a month before.

worst moment: the absence of classic material…and spending more than an hour getting out of the parking lot.

Dream Theater
As I Am
A Rite of Passage
Home
Constant Motion
Panic Attack
Pull Me Under

Iron Maiden
The Wicker Man
Ghost of the Navigator
Wrathchild
El Dorado
Paschendale
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
These Colours Don’t Run
Blood Brothers
Wildest Dreams
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
Encore:
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Running Free

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Alice In Chains @ The Warfield, San Francisco CA 11/26/06

Holy crap, this was without a doubt THEE AIC gig to go to. Not only did they extend the set by a couple songs but the almighty James Hetfield was invited to play on “Would?” and provide backing vocals, along with the patented Hetfield “yaaaaahhhh!”The place went apeshit. It was beyond awesome. The show itself was flawless. I’m amazed that the tickets were so affordable. It was a bitch making the 3.5 hour drive, but well worth it. Jerry looked like a scrawny version of Zakk Wylde onstage, Les Paul near his knees, long scraggly blonde hair and a thick beard. His playing was impeccable. Mike played his ass off and moved around the stage as if possessed. Sean played ferociously yet elegantly. Damn those DWs sound awesome, especially his snare. And I think he’s still using Sabians hehehe. Very tight drumming with that Sean Kinney finesse.

If there were any doubters of William DuVall, I think they were sold on “Rain When I Die.” ‘I think its gonna raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain’ Damn can he soar, as did most of the crowd on that one. The mix and acoustics were better than average, but I found it very difficult to discern what the hell William and Jerry were singing. I guess something always has to suffer in a live situation. The “Living Room” set was very cool, an intimate transformation into an acoustic set reminiscent of the MTV Unplugged video, with the icing on the cake being “Down in a Hole” which has been played sporadically during the tour. Very special indeed. Guys, it was otherworldly to hear William sing on that tune. Ok, so luckily William is not trying to sound like a Layne Staley copycat. William has his own thing going on: gritty and throaty, and very rock n’ roll. But during the chorus of “Down In a Hole” it was as if something supernatural had occurred, vocally. At the end of the “but my wings have been sooooo deniiiiiiiiied” section, William was able to pull off that ghostly, tortured sounding Layne Staley vibrato, and he held the ‘denied’ part and transported me somewhere. The hairs on my body stood on end, and the crowd went freakin’ crazy! They must have felt it too, and their eyes must have bugged out of theirs sockets as well. It was one magic moment out of an entire set when I thought I heard Staley’s voice come alive. I took my girlie along for this one (as I swore I’d never drag her along to another metal/prog show again – since this isn’t exactly her kind of music) but I guess I’ll never learn. Very memorable gig. Let’s thank the metal Gods for the resurrection of AIC.

Again
Bleed the Freak
Grind
Ain’t Like That
Junkhead
Nutshell
Them Bones
Dam That River
Rain When I Die
___________________________________
Layne Tribute Video
___________________________________
The “Living Room” Acoustic Set
Don’t Follow
Brother
No Excuses
Killer Is Me
Got Me Wrong
Down in a Hole
___________________________________
Sludge Factory
Angry Chair
We Die Young
Man In the Box
ENCORE
Would? w/ James Hetfield on guitar & guest vox \m/\m/
Rooster

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A shot of James Hetfield’s car parked outside of the Warfield

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Morrissey @ The Rabobank Theater, Bakersfield CA 06/10/07

WOW. After three years of waiting I finally get to see the man, the legend. In case anyone’s wondering, Bakersfield is a quasi-metropolis that rests at the southern most point of the Central Valley, California. It’s a gateway to the Grapevine and the Los Angeles Basin.. It’s dry with an unending brownish landscape. It’s cheap real estate and low key and hot as Hell, not too different from Fresno, California. And an artist like this coming to the area is like a sorely needed breath of fresh air.

Very few big name acts visit this area. So when I heard Morrissey would be gracing the Central Valley with his presence I practically tripped over myself for tickets. He played the Rabobank Theater, a newer venue with 3-4,000 capacity. Place was almost sold out, but featured a very diverse and vocal crowd. There were a lot of youngsters in the crowd as well, children to lifelong fans. Some of the young boys sported the rockabilly greaser look, too cool. Morrissey mentioned seeing many children in the audience, saying “…and they’re ALL miiiiiine.” 🙂 The legendary Julia was also at this show, Morrissey even let her speak into the mic from the front row. I always thought that woman was made up, but no, she’s real, and has probably attended every Morrissey show in existence. Great crowd, awesome performance. Voice was in fine form and there were plenty of stage crashers. Glad I caught this one. This is an act to see before you die. Ah yes, FIVE Smiths songs were featured including the immortal “How Soon is Now?” My personal favorite that night was “The Boy With a Thorn In His Side” and I’m not ashamed to admit that I got misty eyed. That baby hasn’t been performed regularly since the end of the Smiths in 1986. It’s not uncommon for fans to say things like “Morrissey saved me” or “The Smiths saved me.” Morrissey and his music have long been champions of the misunderstood, the losers, misfits and the disabled. He speaks to those who’ve been ignored and shunned, making the audience’s connection to him rather messianic. Afterall, some of his nicknames include The Mozfather, The Pope of Mope and St. Morrissey. The music is magical – dreamy sounding britpop with rockabilly thrown in. Add emotional (and often morose and depressing) lyrics and you have music that is uniquely aching, uniquely beautiful.

The band was killer, spot on. However I was disappointed that guitarist Alain White, bassist Gary Day and drummer Dino Butterworth were no longer with the touring band. Those guys along with Boz Boorer (second guitar) and Mikey Farrell (keys) made up what I considered the second classic Morrissey lineup. That’s the lineup that’s documented on the Who Put the ‘M’ in Manchester DVD. Musicians come and go, but missing those three particular musicians is like missing family members or old friends. There is a fondness for that particular line-up, much like there was a fondness for the original incarnation of the Morrissey band with Spencer Cobrin on drums. Now the second classic lineup has been scattered. THEY were the Morrissey band during his comeback era. Newcomers Jesse Tobias, Solomon and Matt Walker rounded out the live band for this tour and would stay on for subsequent tours, however Farrell would eventually part ways with Morrissey to pursue work as a producer and song writer in LA, leaving Boz Boorer the only veteran from the early days of Morrissey’s solo career.

First of the Gang To Die
Last of the Famous International Playboys
You Have Killed Me
In the Future When All is Well
Disappointed
Let Me Kiss You
That’s How People Grow Up
National Front Disco
Ganglord
Girlfriend in a Coma
Everyday is Like Sunday
The Boy With a Thorn In His Side
Irish Blood English Heart
All You Need is Me
You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side
I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
Lucky Lisp
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty
How Soon is Now?
The Queen is Dead

Queensryche/Alice Cooper/Heaven & Hell @ The Selland Arena, Fresno CA 10/02/07 \m/\m/

Talk about one hell of a line-up, and in the Central Valley to boot. Honestly, I was more interested in seeing Queensryche and Heaven & Hell, but it was the immortal Alice Cooper that stole the show, sneaking away the headliner’s thunder. Unfortunately, we arrived late for QR’s set, they were wrapping up Eyes of a Stranger as we arrived and found our seats. I had caught QR in 2005 and was more than satisfied with that experience, so I wasn’t too disappointed about missing them. Alice Cooper’s set began and man, the first 15 minutes left me awe-struck and stunned. The songs were rockin’ but catchy, radio-friendly anthemic metal. He kept hitting us with his classic material, boom boom boom, one track after another. “It’s Hot Tonight” melted into “No More Mr. Nice Guy” without missing a beat. Rather naively, I thought to myself ‘holy shit, the man IS great!” More great tracks followed, “Under My Wheels” and “Eighteen” continued the relentless rock fest. More classics followed, one after another, then finally with a bombastic finish “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Poison.” Alice is the same age as Ozzy Osbrourne, but Alice still has all his mobility and mental faculties (sorry, Ozzy). Alice strutted and commanded on that stage. His production was awesome, the stage setup, the props, the morbid yet campy theatrical aspect, it was all great and reflected his more than solid reputation in the metal world. He practically played a full set, 15 or 16 songs in all. This was one heck of a show and the ‘headliners’ hadn’t performed yet.

It’s Hot Tonight
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Eighteen
Is It My Body
Feed My Frankenstein
Halo Of Flies
Welcome To My Nightmare
Only Women Bleed
Steven
Dead Babies
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Devil’s Food / Killer / I Love The Dead
School’s Out
Billion Dollar Babies
Poison

The intermission occurred and then Heaven & Hell took the stage to a welcoming salute from the Fresno crowd, it was a loud welcome with plenty of \m/\m/ in the air. The tone of this set was vastly different than Alice’s set. H&H presented darker, sludgier, and less accessible metal in comparison to Alice or even Queensryche for that matter. The set seemed shorter in comparison to Alice’s set. It was loud as hell, probably the loudest show I’ve ever attended. I forgot my ear protection. Consequently, my ears rang for the following three days, scared the hell out of me. Iommi’s guitar kept getting louder and louder! It was a serious set, lacking in the tongue-in-cheek fun that was present during Alice’s set. The Dio led Black Sabbath continued the dark, occult imagery and down tuned stylings of classic Black Sabbath, but with a twist. That twist was the legendary Ronnie James Dio. While original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne was the voice of Black Sabbath, it was Ronnie James Dio that was the voice of Metal.  \m/\m/

Dio had major success with Rainbow as well as with his own band, having released a multitude of classic metal recordings. It is not widely known that Dio became the successor to Ozzy Osbourne who was fired from Sabbath in the late 70s. For this anniversary tour, to avoid a legal dispute with Osbourne, the band chose to use the moniker Heaven & Hell, named after their first album recorded with Ronnie James Dio. Dio as a frontman is so different than Ozzy Osbourne. While Osbourne cursed, yelled and sneered at the audience, Dio approached the crowds with a classy demeanor, always complimented the audience, never yelled or screamed at the audience, and was simply a gentleman metal-head. His voice was instantly recognizable, powerful, sweet at times when he crooned, and thunderous when he got into the metal head-space, and the man was only 5’4”!!! While short in stature, he commanded the audience like a 10 foot tall metal god. Sadly, Ronnie James Dio would pass away from stomach cancer a few years later in May of 2010. I felt privileged to see him perform while he was still alive. It’s quite something being able to see the most influential voices of metal live. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and Geoff Tate of Queensryche. Dio is still the king. RIP.

E5150
The Mob Rules
Children of the Sea
I
The Sign of the Southern Cross
Voodoo
Computer God
Falling Off the Edge of the World
Die Young
Heaven and Hell
Neon Knights

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Ozzy Osbourne & Rob Zombie @ The Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield CA 11/26/07

Rob Zombie stole the damn show, hands down, without a doubt. His set was more entertaining, he brought his “A” game and slayed the Bako crowd. The man reminds me so much of Alice Cooper: the theatrics, the metal, the fun, and the fans truly got a spectacle and not just another rock show. It was a shock to hear that this show would be coming to the valley, let alone Bakersfield…and no offense to the Bakersfield community, but that market is so much more secondary than the Fresno market! Anyhow, Rob said hello to the crowd and made us feel just as worthy as the LA and Oakland fans. He said something along the lines of “You know someone apologized to me for having to play Bakersfield. I said apologize for what?” The band was tight, the show was well executed, and Rob was an awesome performer during the entire set. Cool little footnote. John 5 on guitar snuck in the intro to Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and the band jumped in for the first few bars. The crowd picked up the first verse of “Big wheels keep on turnin” and then the band stopped. That came out of nowhere but it was cool nonetheless.

Rob’s set: 

Sawdust in the Blood
American Witch
Demon Speeding
Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human
Superbeast
House of 1000 Corpses
Let It All Bleed Out
Never Gonna Stop
Thunder Kiss ’65
The Devil’s Rejects
Dragula

Ozzy’s set began and after what seemed like a lengthy wait. Rob Zombie had the crowd pumped and we eagerly awaited The Prince of Darkness. He came on stage and the first words out of his mouth were “I can’t fucking hear yooouuu!” The crowd cheered and the set began. It was awesome to see the man in the flesh. He didn’t move around too much and it was obvious to me that there was some “help” on the vocals, but it didn’t matter: it was still Ozzy. It was even cooler to see the great Zakk Wylde on guitar, laying it down with power and precision. Zakk is such an iconic guitar player, and it was more than a treat to be able to see him work his magic onstage like that. His solo piece included excerpts from Pantera’s “Walk” and a couple other songs. The band was excellent, very tight and nailed the performance without any technical issues. Highlight of the night for me was a performance of “Road to Nowhere,” it’s the perfect combo of rock, melody and sentimentality. Witnessing Ozzy perform that will always be ingrained in my memory. The only weak aspects to the show concerned the show length and the quality of Ozzy’s vocals. The set itself was a mere 80 minutes. I initially thought the Bakersfield crowd got screwed because it was a “scratch” gig, a warm-up in a secondary market with reduced production. And I kick myself for assuming that, but that wasn’t the case. We received the standard set that other cities experienced, save for one or two songs. And Ozzy’s vocals, I suppose that’s to be expected, the man was approaching 60 and still working his ass off as a veteran touring act, harmonizer or not. All in all, this was a great combo package and worth the ticket price. It’s rare for this area to host such quality, international acts like that. I hope they keep coming. Metal is sorely lacking in the Central Valley.

Ozzy’s set: (corrections may be needed)

I Don’t Wanna Stop
Crazy Train
Suicide Solution
Mr. Crowley
Not Going Away
Road to Nowhere
Fire in the Sky
Bark at the Moon
Guitar Solo
I Don’t Know
Here for You
I Don’t Want to Change the World
Encore:
Mama, I’m Coming Home
Paranoid
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Photos taken by fans the night of 11/26/07, Bakersfield Rabobank Arena

Megadeth @ The Palladium, Hollywood CA 03/31/10

I’ve wanted to catch Megadeth since 2000, but life and money (lack thereof) always got in the way. However this recent tour was VERY special. Co-founder and original bass player David Ellefson has rejoined the group. More importantly, Megadeth is commemorating the 20 year anniversary of the release of their masterwork Rust in Peace by performing it in its entirety. To add to the magic of that night, this particular show at the Hollywood Palladium was filmed for a future DVD release!!! I was actually a part of Megadeth history.

So I’m pretty new to the whole thrash metal gig experience. I had arrived as Testment wrapped up their set. The preshow music was very cool, including The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” and Iron Maiden’s “2 Minutes To Midnight” which inspired the whole venue to sing along with raised fists and raised beers in the air (since there were no chalices of ale available). I knew the crowd wouldn’t be gentle, haha. The show began and we were packed like sardines and jostled in every direction. Imagine this entire mass of people heaving left and right, forward and backward in unison – some people losing their balance and falling over each other in the process. It was a big, dangerous, smelly, sweaty mass of humanity. It’s hard to enjoy a show when you’re trying NOT to get elbowed or knocked over lol. I lasted only four songs before moving to the rear of the venue, stage left. I’m getting too old for that.

This was a very cool show – historic musical event. Not bad for $40. Maybe I’m not “metal” enough for a Megadeth audience, but I still had a good time and knew most of the material. 17 songs were played including the 9 tracks from RIP. Two tracks from the new album Endgame were also featured (The Right To Go Insane, Head Crusher), as were some favorites like Peace Sells, Symphony of Destruction, Trust and In My Darkest Hour. Megadeth’s set lasted a mere 80 to 85 minutes. Ommited favorites like Sweating Bullets and A Tout Le Monde were sorely missed. Thrash giants Exodus and Testament opened, however I wasn’t able to catch them in time.

I’m more of a fan of the drummers in Megadeth than the band itself. Nick Menza and current drummer Shawn Drover are idols to me. The precision and stamina of those kinds of drummers have always impressed me. Shawn Drover made those rapid fire drum parts look easy. He played gracefully and effortlessly. His hands barely moved, but my ears were hearing a mess of activity on the toms and cymbals. It was like I was watching him in slow motion. New guitarist Chris Broderick from Nevermore nailed all those acrobatic guitar parts. David Ellefson is well…David Ellefson. And then there’s guitarist/singer Dave Mustaine…snarling, sneering egomaniac. But wow can he play. The production was simple, nothing too flashy, just your typical lighting setup and some stage props and a backdrop inspired by the Rust In Peace album cover. I think Megadeth has always been about the songs and the performance, rather than flash and frills like some other groups.

Rush In Peace = one of the greatest metal albums of all time.

MAIN SET
Skin O’ My Teeth
In My Darkest Hour
She-Wolf
Holy Wars/The Punishment Due
Hangar 18
Take No Prisoners
The Five Magics
Lucretia
Tornado of Souls
Dawn Patrol
Rust In Peace/Polaris
Trust
The Right To Go Insane
Head Crusher
Symphony of Destruction
ENCORE
Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying?)

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Daughtry & Lifehouse @ The Save Mart Center, Fresno CA 04/26/10

Very cool show, three quality acts on the same bill (Cavo/Lifehouse/Daughtry), very affordable and in an intimate venue. It was a night of enjoyable, melodic, feel good arena rock. I’m still becoming familiar with Daughtry’s new songs, but they’re very accessible and great sing-along anthems. Daughtry’s vocals were fairly strong but there were occasions when he couldn’t hold some of those notes. Show became stronger with each song performed. Daughtry’s vocals had a power to them that outdid his performances on record. Somehow Daughtry’s music comes across more powerfully in a live situation. There are times on record when his vocals can seem tame and uncompelling but in concert he goes for it with full power. I didn’t know this, but Daughtry’s bass player, Josh Paul, is a resident of Clovis. The show was very much like a homecoming to JP. Relating to that, Daughtry’s new disc, Leave This Town, deals heavily with “small town” themes. Chris said something like “this record has a lot to do with me coming from a small town…you guys know anything about that?” We responded with a roar. The cover songs were very interesting, the crowd got into it. And yes, Daughtry’s drummer Ralph Diaz played the drum break during In the Air Tonight.

Best moment of the night: Home adorned by a brief but lovely version of Lifehouse’s You and Me. Home isn’t my favorite Daughtry track, but what made this version magical was when Jason Wade from Lifehouse stepped onstage and joined Chris in a duet. To mine and the crowd’s delight, Chris changed up the chord structure and Home segued into Lifehouse’s ultimate wedding song, You and Me. The crowd responded greatly after Jason closed the chorus with the “and it’s you and me and all of the people, and I don’t know why I can’t take my eyes off of you” part – you just knew a bunch of women (and probably a few guys) were misty eyed after that, then Chris brought the song back into the next verse of Home. Perfect “WOW” moment.

there’s probably a few errors in song order but here goes…

Daughtry’s Set
Intro: Danny Elfman’s Batman Theme
Everytime You Turn Around
What I Want
Ghost of Me
No Surprise
Life After You
It’s Not Over
Learn My Lesson
September
In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins cover)
Over You
Feels Like Tonight
You Don’t Belong

Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)
Home/You and Me (with Jason Wade of Lifehouse)
Call Your Name
There And Back Again

Lifehouse’s Set
All In
Halfway Gone
Nerve Damage
Smoke and Mirrors
Whatever It Takes
Wrecking Ball
It Is What It Is
First Time
Hanging By A Moment

Some would consider it an injustice that Lifehouse played a mere 40-45 minutes. Wifey thought Lifehouse should have headlined tonight, and rightly so as they’ve been active since 2000 and have their share of mainstream rock hits. We need to see these guys headline on their own strength. There was an immense amount of support for Lifehouse, you could tell it was a crowd with mutual support and love for both acts.

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Taken the night of 4/26 in Fresno and submitted to Pollstar

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Jason Wade of Lifehouse, taken by a fan on 4/26, Fresno