TOUR: Iced Earth / The Glorious Burden Tour
SUPPORT: Children Of Bodom
VENUE: Avalon Ballroom -- San Francisco, CA
DATE: Monday, May 17th, 2004
ATTENDED W/: Bouville and The Mickster
GEAR WORN: Iron Maiden “The Clansman” Shirt
MERCH PURCHASED: Glorious Burden Album Cover Shit; Evergrey’s The Inner Circle CD
MOSHING REPORT: Heavy
EDDIES AWARDED: No Rating For Iced Earth; 8.75 for Children of Bodom
REVIEWED: February 6th, 2005
Few bands are loved and hated as much as Iced Earth on the Iron Maiden Bulletin Board. Fans love them because Jon Schaffer heralded Maiden as an inspiration; others berate them as an unoriginal thieving Maiden knock off. Iced Earth’s signature rhythm is the Maiden gallop, and the cover of the Reckoning EP (compare to the Trooper) fueled the vitriol of the nay sayers. Jon Schaffer has molded Iced Earth as his own personal song writing vehicle, also shaping his reputation as “difficult.” “Asshole” seems to come up a lot too. I’m not sure Iced Earth has ever had a truly stable lineup either; someone is also coming and going. Personally, I think Jon & Iced Earth has something to say and their music is worthy of our attention.
We all had different reasons for hitting this concert. First and foremost, Bouville and I wanted to see Children of Bodom. I picked up the Iced Earth’s Glorious Burden and liked what I heard, especially the two openings tracks: a very metal yet respectful Star Spangled Banner and Declaration Day. I was a bit curious about Tim “Ripper” Owens, Schaffer’s new frontman. Lastly, the tickets were fucking cheap: $25 +/-. Why not fucking go?
We departed from the South Bay for San Francisco after work, but still arrived in plenty of time to find a local watering hole (emphasis on HOLE) after parking and my mandatory ten minutes leaving the truck. While nursing my lone beer of the night, I watched Bouville and The Mickster polish off a couple of pitchers. We closed things out with shots of Stolichnaya and headed to the Avalon. Someone couldn’t drink theirs and it wasn’t me.
Unfortunately, the gates were really fucking slow. It took us almost 30 minutes to pass security and by that time, Evergrey was almost done with their set. Having seen them only once on the Headbangers Ball, I was very unfamiliar with their music. Whatever it was that I heard, I really liked and purchased a special edition CD from the merch table to support the band before we left for the night.
The Avalon Ballroom is steep in San Francisco’s musical history, best known in the late 60s. Janis Joplin played her first show there in June of 1966, the “first place she was ever a star” according Joel Selvin, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. In 2003, a new owner took over and has tried to revitalize the aging beauty but may have since failed. A few names you all might know have played the Avalon: Rob Halford, Motorhead, Death Angel, Superjoint Ritual, Sepultura, Voivod with Jason Newsted, the Dwarves, and the Misfits. The one thing the Avalon didn’t have the night we visited was a liquor license; Bouville went to makeshift a bar table for a beer and came back with a water. For more information on the Avalon, visit http://www.morningspringrain.com/avalon_ballroom.html
Children of Bodom stepped on stage as primary support. Children of what? WWW.SING365.COM
tells the story this way: “Bodom is a small lake in Finland, about 20 km north from Helsinki. In the year 1960 on the 5th of June this lake was the place where a very scary murder case happened. Four teenagers, two 15 year old girls and two 18 year old guys, camped at this lake when an insane one came and killed all teenagers but one with a knife. The one who survived went crazy afterwards and is (still) in psychiatric treatment. A few years later (I guess it must have been about 1970) one old man said that he had been the lake Bodom murderer, but the police proofed that he could not have been it. So the murder was never solved.”
CoB plays what I can only describe as Bodom Metal. Alex Laiho screams and growls intelligibly over very melodic death metal. The band incorporates awesome keyboards that are integral in defining CoB’s sound. I just fucking love their music, especially Hate Crew Deathroll. The album is one of those you play from start to finish every single fucking time. Live, Children of Bodom sounded just like their albums. Right on! They were loud as fuck, and I loved every minute it. God damn, this band kicks ass!!!
Their intro music also struck a chord with me as a Doctor Demento fan: Napoleon’s XIV’s They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haaa! When a band opens with music played on the good Doctor’s Sunday night show, you know they’re going to get Eddies, an honor normally reserved for headliners. CoB obviously has their shit together.
I experienced the best mosh pit of my life during the Bodom’s set. The circle covered half the width of the main floor. Cheap shots were rare; the hitting, good and clean. Bouville, The Mickster, and I all mixed it up for almost the entire set. I redeemed my failure to react to the cheap shot at the Cow Palace by targeting the biggest, fattest fucker in the pit. He threw me out once by several feet into the crowd, afterwhich I immediately charged him. Unfortunately, he turned his back before impact. So I just tapped him and earned his respect and a smile. All was right in the moshing world.
The actual order being different, Children of Bodom’s set list was approximately:
Silent Night Bodom Night
You're Better Off Dead
Angels Don't Kill
Everytime I Die
Hate Crew Deathroll
After a thirty minutes transition during which Maiden was played over the PA, a recorded version of the Glorious Burden’s Star Spangled Banner introduced Declaration Day. All real Americans stood proudly with hands over hearts and stiffies at attention for our national anthem. Declaration Day is the song I’ve always wanted to hear from Maiden: a song about our Declaration of Independence. I get chills down my spine even writing about it. The Ripper fucking nailed it perfectly. Jesus H. Christ, I screamed my lungs with him for the chorus:
“So we make our stand and pray
On this declaration day
For independence I will fight
With liberty I will defy
So we make our stand and pray
On this declaration day
Give me liberty or give me death
I'll fight 'till my last breath”
After Declaration Day, I was done and just waited for an opportunity to break the news to my crew. During Green Face or Red Baron -- I don’t remeber which --, I pulled the trigger on the night. Old fucks that we were, all of us were ready to head home fully content that we received our money’s worth.
The complete set lists for the tour are located here: http://www.metalsetlists.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10
In my original review, I did not award Iced Earth any Eddies because we didn’t really give them a chance. We already had tickets for their next show in Hollywood at the House of Blues, so I decided to defer my final judgment until then. Children of Bodom on the other hand received 8.75 in their support, a rating higher than I give to most headliners. I’ve been sparse on Iced Earth details for a reason. This night was really about Children of Bodom and moshing. Read my review of the Hollywood show for more information on Iced Earth.