Diamond Head -- Spokane, WA -- October 10th, 2013
I've been lurking on these forums for a while now and finally decided to jump in, especially as there doesn't seem to be anybody else from Spokane around here. My first setlist posting here so be gentle if I fuck it up.
The Diamond Head / Raven west coast tour blew through Spokane last night. I feel very fortunate that the bands decided to swing over the Cascade mountains for a stop -- usually a tour like this would drive straight down from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland and then south without diverting east. I've been a huge Raven fan since I first heard their music way back in '82 and was very excited to see them in a small setting. My last Raven show was in 1984 in Portland, OR when they were touring with Anthrax (when Neil Turbin was still in the band!).
There were three local bands on the bill (Helldorado, Therion X, and Invasive) which we mostly missed. Arrived as Invasive were playing and headed upstairs to the bar for some liquid refreshment. The show was at a small club here in Spokane called The Hop that only has a capacity of ~250. The crowd was pretty small (my very rough guess would be 50-75 people) which was a bit disappointing, but expected for these more obscure older bands in our smaller town. As we were hanging out in the bar the guys from Raven started to wander in and we got a chance to meet and talk to them. I was chatting with Joe Hasselvander when the break between bands came and asked him if somebody was going to start moving and assembling his rather substantial drum kit. He said that they were touring without any roadies so he had to do everything himself. I grabbed my two buddies and voluteered to help so he led us downstairs and we helped the band hump their gear onto the stage. If me last night could have told my 19 year old self in 1983 that someday I would help Raven roadie their gear I probably would have passed out from shear ecstasy just at the thought. Very exciting.
Raven proceeded to play a blistering hour long-ish set. I was too busy enjoying the music to keep track of all the songs, but it seemed pretty standard to what they've been playing recently. They opened with the standard "Take Control"/"Live at the Inferno" couplet followed by "All For One". Other songs played included "Hard Ride", "Into the Jaws of Death", "Stay Hard", "On and On", "Rock Until You Drop", and "Break the Chain". As mentioned in the previous night's report from Seattle, they favor doing medlies these days and there was other stuff mixed in such as a bit of "Run Silent Run Deep" and "Mind Over Metal". It was fun to try to pick out the snippets they included in their 'classic rock' medley during the Break the Chain finale. There were parts of "Dog Eat Dog" (AC/DC), "Genocide" (Judas Priest), "Rock the Nation" (Montrose), "Symptom of the Universe" (Black Sabbath) and a few other things. The band are in top form and I'm amazed that John Gallagher can still scream and wail like he does after all these years.
After Raven finished one of my friends realized that he had lost his cell phone. I asked if he had left it in the car, but he was certain it was on his hip and that it must have fallen off. So we walked around the bar asking everybody and anybody if a cell phone had been found with no luck. Kind of a bummer, but I was trying not to let it get us down. After a quick stop by the merch table (shirts were $20 or $25, CDs $15, DVDs $25) to purchase a copy of "Walk Through Fire" have have the band sign (with a gold sharpie; very cool looking against the backdrop of the CD cover) we headed out to the car for some between band goodies where my buddy discovered he had in fact left his phone in my car. Duh!
Between Wild Turkey 101 shots, hits off the pipe (now legal in the state of Washington!), and cranking some classic Sweet and Armored Saint we kind of lost track of time and missed the first three songs from Diamond Head. Here's the whole setlist taken from a sheet I grabbed off the stage after they finished:
01. Play it Loud
02. Lightning to the Nations
04. To Heaven from Hell
05. In the Heat of the Night
06. Shoot Out the Lights
07. It's Electric
08. Give it to Me
09. Sucking My Love
10. The Prince
11. Am I Evil?
Identical to the set the previous night in Seattle. After they finished "Am I Evil" the band walked off the stage and were kind of huddling around. It was almost midnight at this point and I'm not sure if they were contemplating calling it, especially since only about 25-30 die hards remained. I walked over and suggested that it would be very cool if they would play "Helpless". I'm not sure if they were planning on playing it anyways, but it seemed very cool that a few of us gently pleading with the band to play one more may have influenced them to go back on stage.
I confess that I went to the show mainly to see Raven and Diamond Head seemed like just sort of icing on the cake. The headliners really impressed me though. The rhythm section was rock solid and those classic riffs cut through like a knife and prompted much furious headbanging. Chas West did a great job filling in on vocals since Nick Tart had to go home following the death of his father. He was using notes for the lyrics (which I found kind of amusing at times -- who the hell doesn't know the words to Am I Evil for chrissakes!) since this is only his third show with the band and he didn't have an opportunity to rehearse before the tour began on Tuesday, but his voice fits in with the music very well.
Afterwards we got to hang with Raven a bit more and chat and get some more memorabilia signed. Very cool to talk to John Gallagher (we had a discussion about the heaviest Sweet tune...I said "Burning", but he liked the live version of "Done Me Wrong Alright"). Great to talk to Hasselvander about his time with Pentagram, growing up in DC, some of the great bands he's played with, etc. Then it was off into the night, a few hours sleep and back to work this morning.
A great show, the lineup of these two bands provides proof that these old school NWOBHM bands can still hang and kick ass with the best 30+ years on. If you're in the path of the remainder of their west coast swing I highly recommend you don't miss it.