Set list the same, accept no High Water Mark.
This was a tremendous show, but not without its faults. Barlow could barely be heard at times and Jon sang Stormrider while Matt took a break. No big deal for me, as I'm there to hear Jon's rhythms. Jon was tight and precise as usual, but the new guitar player is non existent. First off, he looks like a dumpy little troll, but I could barely hear his leads and I was standing right in front of him. He has absolutely no stage presence, either.
The most disappointing part of the show was my favorite tune Hold at All Costs. When it kicked in it was orgasmic, but just as the intro gallop was going full speed there was a major time screwup and Jon was all over the drummer's ass the rest of the song, yelling and screaming about something. He was pissed for sure, as you can tell this is a song Jon likes to get off on as he should. I think the drums may have been slow but I'm not sure. I do know that it really was one of the biggest screwups I've seen live by a band the stature of IE, and I know Jon the perfectionist will not tolerate it.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a new drummer soon and for that matter, another lead player. That dude just doesn't fit the part of Iced Earth, he looks like a serious puss and comes across like one.
Still, this is one of the heaviest shows I've seen and I liked the set list better than I thought I would. I Walk Alone is turning into an IE anthem and was heavy as hell, maybe the best tune of the night. Behold the Wicked Child was a great opening song because it featured Jon hammering the opening power chord riff that sounded really tight and exemplified metal.
I really could care less about the vocals, I'm a fan of Matt's and he is fine on albums and the Alive in Athens CD. Ripper is an acquaintance from my town of Akron and he is much better live but doesn't carry as much weight when being the embodiment of metal like Matt does.
IE is pretty much the baddest band out there now, this new album is better than Metallica's comeback attempt, Priest, Maiden, Metal Church or anybody else that's put out new stuff from the old schoolers.