Venue: House of Blues
Source: Yours truly
I arrived a bit late due to downtown Chicago traffic, and to my dismay, I had missed almost all of Arsis’s set. They were playing “The Promise of Never” (I think) when I walked in. James Malone thanked the crowd before launching into their closer, and mentioned that it was his birthday and that folks should catch him at the merch table to say hello. He seemed like a pretty personable guy – and I was disappointed to have missed most of their set, but “The Face of My Innocence” was a monster, so at least I got to hear that track in its full glory.
Next up was Exodus. Their set was:
Bonded by Blood
A Lesson in Violence
Children of a Worthless God
War Is My Shepherd
Strike of the Beast
The Toxic Waltz
Shovel Headed Kill Machine
I’m 100% sure they didn’t play “Piranha”
. I also don’t remember hearing “Deathamphetamine”. Also, I think the second song was “Iconoclasm”, but I’m not 100% sure (there may have actually been two songs in this slot...?).
Also, they did have a few technical problems, one of which was that Rob messed up one of the verses in one of the later songs (“Blacklist” or “War Is My Shepherd”, I think), but afterward he made fun of himself for it and the crowd laughed it off with him. Also, his mic gave out during the following song, and he was visibly pissed about that, but again, the crowd didn’t seem to mind all that much. I think he was just wanting the set to be as awesome as it could possibly be, because the crowd was really responding to them, and he wanted to give them a good show.
I was a bit disappointed in the omission of “Deathamphetamine” and especially “Piranha”, but they did add “Shovel” at the end (although I really don’t care for that song, and to me, “The Toxic Waltz” is a perfect set closer anyway. Any way you slice it, though, the old school folks in the crowd got a real show, and some of the newer fans to this legendary band got a “Lesson in Violence” that they won’t soon forget.
Finally came the inimitable Arch Enemy, amidst chants from the crowd and a virtual ton of smoke from the machines that worked overtime throughout their whole set, which was:
Taking Back My Soul
I Will Live Again
Dead Eyes See No Future
Bury Me an Angel
Chris Guitar Solo
Michael Guitar Solo
We Will Rise
Snow Bound / Nemesis (with Fields of Desolation as outro)
I don’t remember hearing “Blood on Your Hands”. I’m also pretty sure they didn’t play “Dead Bury Their Dead”. I do seem to remember them playing “Snow Bound” as an intro to “Nemesis”, but I’m not 100% sure about that either.
At any rate, their set was incredible. I had wanted to see this band live for quite some time, and they surely didn’t disappoint. Angela is every bit as fierce in person as she seems to be in the numerous videos I’ve seen – maybe even more so. I was pretty close to the front of the pit (maybe ten feet back from the stage, at most, and dead center), and I could see that she was sweating up a storm from about the third song on to the end of the set.
The best news of all, maybe, was that it wasn’t just the Angela Gossow Show out there. There were many instances where she would stalk her bad self over to Michael or Chris or Sharlee and headbang along with their playing, or they would lean into her while she was screaming her lungs out (and what gorgeous lungs they are
). There were a few times when all four of them would gather up front for a ripping good riff or multiple solos or whatever – somewhat like a four-person version of when Tipton / Downing or King / Hanneman do their jamming thing together. In short, these folks have a monster stage presence as a whole – they all carry their own part of the load in that regard, and they really seem to click as a group.
This was an awesome show, and well worth the five-hour road trip from Cleveland to Chicago to see it, despite missing a large chunk of the Arsis set. Next time they tour (which I’m assuming they will for their new album, which is for sale on this tour for $15), I will be sure to be there in time to not miss a note. Exodus was a good opener for Arch Enemy, too – I wasn’t sure they would fit well together on the same ticket, but the combination of thrash and melodeath worked out pretty well (especially since Arsis is a little bit of both these days!). Go see this tour if you get a chance – you’ll be glad you did.