Hey guys, new member to Metal Setlists here. I've been reading these forums for quite a while and they've been an awesome resource, and I'd always intended to sign up but didn't get around to it until earlier today. Anyway, today marks my ten year anniversary of going to metal concerts (okay, I know it's late in the day and probably already August 1st for most of you, but close enough!
) so I figured I'd kick off my time here by sharing a review of my first concert ever with you guys.
Saskatoon's a small city (just under 200,000 people at the time of the concert) in the middle of the vast Canadian prairies, so it's pretty cool that they managed to come here.
This was their first and only time here, and the third last show they ever played.
Warning: a bit of a long read... the review of the actual show is a little ways down, in case you don't care about any of the other stuff.
It all started in late 2000/early 2001 when I first discovered metal. I heard the interlude to Master of Puppets online and that got me interested in Metallica, and shortly after I checked out Pantera. The first song of theirs I heard was Revolution is my Name and I loved it. I downloaded tons of their songs off of Napster at the time and they became one of my favorite bands.
One morning in late June of 2001, during what was probably my last week of school, my Dad called me into the living room to show me something. I came in and saw the newspaper open, and lo and behold there was a large poster - Pantera. Saskatchewan Place. July 31st. Holy shit! We got tickets, and that summer I bought my first two Pantera albums (Reinventing the Steel, and Vulgar Display of Power).
JULY 31ST, 2001
Finally it was showtime...
After buying some earplugs and listening to more Pantera, we headed off.
When we finally arrived at the venue, I was both excited by the upcoming concert, and somewhat intimidated, being surrounded by all these big, tough, veteran metalhead concert-goers. Got in line, and then security came out and told everybody to form two lines, one for guys and one for girls. The lines moved up slowly as they thoroughly searched everyone (probably a wise choice, considering the notoriety of Pantera crowds at the time).
One of the first things I noticed upon entering the venue (aside from the stage itself) was the big banner with a bloody hand on it that belonged to the opening band Skrape hanging at the back of the stage. Morbid Angel were also supposed to be on the bill, but as I would later discover they had gotten denied entry into Canada and would not be playing the show (though at the time I thought the two bands had just gotten switched around). The next thing I noticed was the size of the PA system…
I believe most of the stops on this tour were done in packed arenas, with the stage being all the way at the back, as is pretty usual for this sort of show. However, with Saskatoon being one of the smallest markets on the tour, we obviously weren't gonna be getting the 10 - 12 thousand people that some other cities were. So our show was done as a "concert bowl" setting, where the stage is near the middle of the arena, with everything behind it blocked off (plus all the upper level seats were closed off, so it was just half the lower level and half the floor).
So this was a fairly intimate concert setting (by arena standards). However, they still had the same sized PA system they were using in the full sized arenas - two giant walls of speakers on each side of the stage (you can see part of it on the 2nd picture at the bottom, blocking out part of the stage), plus fairly large stacks of speakers on the floor right below it (not to mention all the amps onstage). When I saw that huge speaker setup in this fairly small venue configuration, I knew this was gonna be a LOUD show! (and I was right!)
I ended up watching the show from the main/concession level of SaskPlace, just above the top of the lower level (back before there were box seats built in that area).
So after a while, the lights went off and Skrape started. I'd read reviews of shows in the US where Skrape had gotten booed off stage, but this didn't happen here. They got a pretty good response from the crowd - I could see moshing and crowdsurfing from where I was. Personally I wasn't really into them, but didn't really hate them either. I did find their singer annoying though, as he stood basically in the same spot (front and centre) of the stage for their entire set without moving around at all. Eventually they finished playing, the lights turned back on, and it was time for a set change.
Finally, the lights turned off again. It was Pantera time! At that point I still thought Morbid Angel was the next band, so I was kind of surprised when all the people in the seats stood up (I remember thinking "wow, they must really like this band"). I don't remember when exactly I realized it was actually Pantera, but after the intro music was done they came on stage and burst into the first song of the night, Hellbound, with huge stacks of Randall amps onstage, and a giant metal Pantera logo above/behind them.
I was pretty mesmerized at this point at seeing my favourite band on stage and hearing them play one of my favourite songs. And then things got even better - as the chorus of the song kicked in with Phil's scream of "Heeeeeellllbound", huge jets of flame shot up on top of the amps and behind the metal logo, so hot I could clearly feel the heat on my face from all the way back where I was.
The song continued on, and then right as it came to an end…
A deafening concussive blast ripped through the arena, sending a jolt of pain down my ears (despite wearing the earplugs) and scaring the shit out of me. Fog poured down from the logo and amps, and then they went straight into their next song.
Soon enough, songs such as Goddamn Electric, War Nerve (more deafening explosions), and Mouth For War followed, each one as heavy as the last. Eventually they played Becoming, with Phil telling the whole crowd to go absolutely ballistic, and then getting them to sing along to the chorus. And then came Revolution Is My Name, which of course was my favourite Pantera song at the time, it really made my day to hear that one played.
As the night continued on, the band ripped through song after song. Generally after finishing a song, Phil would say "thank you very fucking much" and Vinnie would toss his drum sticks into the crowd. Phil also liked to rant and rave quite a bit, propping one foot up on a monitor and preaching to the crowd, with every other word being an F-bomb or other obscenity. He was definitely a meaner, tougher, darker person then, with Pantera generally being at their lowest during those last few years of their career, unfortunately. When I saw Phil with Down in 2009 he was a completely different person, and it's really unfortunate that he didn't manage to get himself together earlier. If he had, Pantera might still be around today.
Eventually, Phil stopped and listened to the crowd for a moment, standing motionless at the front of the stage. He brought the mic up to his mouth and looked like he was about say something, when he suddenly yelled "One, two, three four!" and Fucking Hostile kicked in, the pumped crowd once again screaming the chorus(es). And then the momentum of the show changed - Phil sat down on the drum riser (or the stage floor, I don't quite remember which), and the lighters came out in the audience as the band played This Love.
Phil's vocals were definitely not quite up to par with the album version at this point in his career, and while this applied to pretty much all of their earlier stuff, it was especially true of a song like This Love. But what he lacked in perfect performance he more than made up for as a frontman - easily one of the most powerful and awesome frontmen I've ever seen. He was good in Down, too, but in Pantera he was truly the master.
A little later on, as the lights were off after another song, the PA system suddenly blared "We're taking over this town". The familiar intro to Cowboys From Hell started playing as flames burst behind the logo again, and the band came out and played this crowd favourite hit, with Phil proclaiming during the pre-chorus, "We're taking over Saskatoon tonight!". As the song ended, the band said goodnight and walked off stage. People began to leave the show, but despite the fact that this was my first concert, I knew that the band was gonna come back and do an encore.
And sure enough a few minutes later they returned to the stage and finished off the night with another fan-favorite classic, Walk. Once again, Phil telling every last person in the room to get their fists in the air, and everybody screaming along to the chorus.
And then just like that, the show was over as quickly as it began. The crowd left the venue, all of us feeling pumped and amazed at what we saw. We had no idea at the time that this would end up being the third last show Pantera would ever play. Winnipeg (the final date of the tour) was the next day, and then they did the Beast Feast festival in Japan three weeks later, and that was it. They never played together again after that.
AFTER THE SHOW
As I left the show, although I was quite in amazement at what I had just witnessed, I had no idea just how lucky I was to have experienced this and just how influential this would be for a long time to come; I certainly didn't expect that my mind would still be blown by it a full decade later.
I've been to many dozens of shows at this point, but this is still by far one of the best, unparalleled by anything else. Since Dimebag's death I feel especially fortunate and grateful to have witnessed this, and although there are times when I wish I could've been a bit older or more experienced with concert-going when I saw this, I know that seeing it when I did and how I did was part of what made it so special and incredible, and that's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.
Forever Stronger Than All
Thanks for the music and good times
I'm gonna be honest here, I'm not actually 100% sure that this is the full setlist, as obviously it was a long time ago, I was quite young, and there were a few songs I wasn't yet familiar with at the time. The point of this post was more for the actual review than the setlist itself anyway.
However, this is the standard set they were doing on this whole North American tour, so it was either this exact set or something pretty similar:
5 Minutes Alone
Mouth For War
Revolution Is My Name
Strength Beyond Strength
I'll Cast A Shadow/25 Years outro
Primal Concrete Sledge
Cowboys From Hell
A few (crappy) pics I took on my disposable camera: