Throughout the course of my life I have found that the good days outnumber the bad days. But the great days come only once in awhile. Yesterday was one of those special days that can only be described as "Wow." It's those kind of days and the moments within them that make going through all the shit and downtimes worth it. This is my review of Bone Bash IV.
After having the tremendous privilege of watching the reunited Pink Floyd at the Live 8 show in London I headed out with my dad to Bone Bash IV at Shoreline Amphitheatre, decked out in my leather pants, Maiden shirt, and leather jacket which I had spent most of the previous afternoon decorating with various patches. On the way in our local radio station 1077 The Bone (see the connection?) was playing a Judas Priest A-Z, so we got our fill before heading in. We arrived at the venue at about 4:30 PM, and I could swear as we were walking in I saw Bouville long lost twin brother
If I didn't know he wasn't in Peru I would have poked him or something, but I decided to play the odds
The main stage didn't start until 5, so my dad and I walked around checking out the side stage acts. A band called MOREALITY were into a cover of FLOYD'S Money, and we caught the last couple minutes of AC/DC tribute band LONG GONE BON before their finished their set. Promptly we walked in as thrash legends TESTAMENT we taking the stage. One word: THRASH!!!!!!!! This was their first show together with the original members in their native Bay Area in 13 years, and they sounded unbelievably tight. I was shocked actually at how good they sounded, having to use their own sound setups and all. If you have never had the chance to see TESTAMENT before then you haven't witnessed the utter mastery which front man Chuck Billy uses to control the stage with. His voice is fucking awesome as well, ranging from a growl to great higher-pitched sound. Alex Skolnick looked very happy to be back, as did the whole band. They really looked to be enjoying themselves and the performances and crowd reaction echoed that. I am not too familiar with TESTAMENT's stuff, so here is a partial setlist: NOTE: they played for about 45 minutes
Trial By Fire
First Strike Is Deadly
Disciples Of The Watch
Steve "Zetro" Souza of EXODUS came out to sing on Fire Strike Is Deadly, so that was kinda cool. The highlight was certainly for me and my dad Legacy. Absolutely monumental track, I was thrilled they played it. Great set by the boys.
After TESTAMENT cleared out my buddies Allan (MetalDrummer888) and Justin (DreamEvil001) came over the hang out for a little while, so that was cool. My dad and I were eagerly awaiting the set from THE CARDBOARD VAMPYRES, since they featured ex-ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell and we are both huge AIC fans (RIP Layne). They also had Billy Duffy from THE CULT on guitar. Since they have no original material they just play covers, so we didn't know what to expect really. When they came out on stage though they launched into a rousing performance of BLACK SABBATH's Hole In The Sky, and I was just blown away. Their singer was a dead-ringer for Mick Jagger BTW
He did a fine job though, I was surprised yet again. Some other highlights of their set was a killer version of MOTORHEAD's Ace Of Spades, and let me tell ya they pulled it off 10 times better than when I saw MOTORHEAD do it themselves. They did a sweet version of AC/DC's Night Prowler too, but the best of their gig were the 2 AIC songs: It Ain't Like That, and the closing Man In The Box. DAMN! Here was their setlist:
1.) Hole In The Sky (Black Sabbath)
2.) Givin' The Dog A Bone (AC/DC)
3.) Helter Skelter (The Beatles)
4.) Ace Of Spades (Motorhead)
5.) Night Prowler (AC/DC)
6.) It Ain't Like That (Alice In Chains)
7.) Wildflower (The Cult)
8.) ???? (something from The Cult)
9.) Man In The Box (Alice In Chains)
Overall they did an awesome, awesome job and had great charisma. Seeing Jerry Cantrell shredding the lead on Man In The Box was just breathtaking. My little brother, who was playing a baseball game, finally met us at the show just in time for QUEENSRYCHE. This was his first real metal show, so he was psyched. This brings me to my next point; the shocking number of little kids there was at the show. I swear I counted more than 20 kids below the age of 10, and there was some little girls too! It was great to see the balance of youth and the old timers. Also just in time for the 'RYCHE were the bikini chicks who we missed earlier due to TESTAMENT. My dad and I agreed; we didn't miss much
QUEENSRYCHE came on finally, and by this point I was ready to stand up after sitting for the first 2 bands. I am not very familiar with their earlier material, but immediately I could tell how awesome those songs were, and most I was hearing for the first time ever. When The Whisper came on the place really got going, and I was thrilled with the crowd’s performance, as was the band. They blew through an incredibly energetic set, sounding great and were very enthusiastic, especially Tate. He was talking a lot during and in between songs to the crowd, and the whole band seemed very fired up. En Force was another great highlight, as was the stirring EP medley. I also really enjoyed the new song titled I’m American, my brother and I have been singing it since yesterday
The 1-2 finishing combo of Empire and Take Hold Of The Flame was perfect, capping a great performance. Both my dad and brother loved them as well, which made me happy. NOTE: both them and PRIEST played the same set as the other shows on the tour.
During the break before PRIEST took the stage Allan came back over to my section and had some great news; he and Justin scored some vacant seats dead center against the railing behind the mixing desk. Fucking excellent location it was indeed, so I left my dad and bro and went down to the center. It was a nice sport for several reasons; a) perfect spot to view the show, b) right behind the mixing desk so we got to see how all the controls and stuff operated, c) since we were right against the rail we could lean farther over and gave support for the ‘eadbanging
, and d) just hanging with those guys for the show was great, they are really cool dudes and can throw down hard
The night came down, the stage was set, The Hellion blasted through the PA, and it was time for Judas Fucking Priest to take the stage….
That pre-concert rush that I know and love so much hit me as The Hellion came on leading into Electric Eye. Then all hell broke loose. The song was played pretty much at regular speed, but it was so heavy and so intense that the mid-tempo pace didn't matter. We all sang our hearts out and banged our fucking heads like there was no tomorrow. I took note of the stage set, which as can be seen from pictures is totally awesome, and of the immediate energy put out by the band. Clearly this was not the JUDAS PRIEST that EvilCheeseWedge described in his review of the Ohio gig. Throughout the night KK and Glenn especially were all over the place, running up and down the walkways and interacting great with the fans. I was very surpised through at Halford's performance; he was on fire. Though he obviously didn't do a whole lot of moving around his voice sounded incredibly strong, clear, and forceful. I was not expecting a great job by him, but man did he pour his heart out. The whole band I think really fed off the crowd's energy, which was positively electric all night. Every song was played flawlessly, except for Judas Rising during which they fell out of time once or twice. Still it was a fun song to sing with, even though I admit I started laughing at myself suring the "Crucified steel, evangelizing" part
I mean, fuck, Metal Gods went down soooooo well, as did Riding On The Wind, a song I hadn't ever heard before the gig but one that I still screaming along to during the chorus. A Touch Of Evil was fucking masterful, I can't really describe each song performance itself cuz they were all mind-blowing. Revolution and I'm A Rocker made a nice break though between all the headbanging/fist-pumping/singing etc. that we were doing, but the rest of the set was an absolute onslaught of heavy metal magic. I wish they'd done the electric version of Diamonds & Rust, but I still enjoyed it. If I had to give a favorite performance of the night I'd say Victim Of Changes. My brother after the gig told me he thought it was the best too. Honestly words can't explain it, you literally had to be there. The extended guitar solo in the middle, the beautifully smooth middle section, to the MONSTROUS finale, what a ride. That final scream by Rob could have blown the PA easily, maybe the loudest sound I have ever heard a human make. Piercing, deep, evil...wow. Only to be matched by Painkiller though, holy smokes. Exciter was fucking nuts too. When Rob came out on the bike before Hell Bent For Leather that was just it, that IS heavy metal. Finally, the closing song You've Got Another Thing Comin' was really the clincher of the evening, and let me tell you this; I have never heard a crowd that involved and just plain loud than I did during the sing-a-long parts Rob did. He even let us sing the entire first verse! One more note about the crowd; this was the first concert I've been to where they were still chanting the bands name after they'd left the stage and the lights came on. It was goosebump-worthy.
To make a great concert experience it take smore than a band's individual performance. It takes a culmination of "intangibles" and little things that are pointless to note in a review but that make as big a difference in the gig as anything else. Seeing my brother's eyes light up and how he couldn't stop talking about the show as we were walking back to the car mad emy night as much as anything. I can honestly say that with all factors accounted for, this was the second best show I've ever been to, behind only IRON MAIDEN in Los Angeles 2004. If I wasn't so biased towards that maybe I could even call htis one the best, but the bottom line is both hold a very deep, special place in my heart and I will never forget either experience. You can tell a great show if the next day your neck is sore like hell, your right arm hurts, and you still have that shit-faced grin on your face when you wake up. This is what makes life worth living so much.