TOUR: Metal Insurgence
VENUE: House of Blues -- Cleveland, OH
DATE: September 9, 2005
REVIEWED: September 10, 2005
First a note... a bit of a bummer here guys, I wasn't able to bootleg, or get something in to write with, so the sets are going to be a bit rough
Metal was in the air Friday afternoon. I left work at lunch and headed into town to meet up with my friend Jay. We grabbed some Subway, and then went and picked up our friend Steve. Since we didn't have to leave until 3, we stopped at my house to kill an hour. On the way to my house Steve asked, "So, when does Death on the Road come out?" I had my imported copy in the car, so I threw it at him. He knew the release was a ways off, so that came as a bit of a surprise to him
When we got backed we actually watched some Maiden DVDs. Neither of them had ever seen Raising Hell, so I showed them some of that.
We left my house at 3 PM, with Jay driving this time, since I drove to Alice Cooper a couple weeks ago. The drive was pretty uneventful; it took around an hour and half to get there. We were able to park in a garage right across the street from the House of Blues, which was better then we were able to do for Queensryche at the same venue in January.
House of Blues wasn't doing reservations Friday, it was on a walk-in only, but we were able to get seated immediately. We, of course, did the Pass The Line program. Dinner was expensive, and frankly, not that good. I didn't really like it last time either. Oh well. During dinner we reviewed the House of Blues schedule and agreed we needed to head back on October 11 for Queensryche. Evening though Jay and I (and our friend Kristin) is seeing Queensryche in our town on October 2, Steve isn't, and Jay and I feel we owe it to him to take him to a Mindcrime show, so we'll probably trek back to Cleveland a little over a week later for the show. We contemplated going back to HoB for some other acts, but the only other one we're really seriously tossing around is Opeth in November
We were about the 5th, 6th, and 7th people in the Pass the Line, and we were able to get in the front, of course, again. My friend Jay was in the center, Steve to the right, and me to the right of Steve. At first I was disappointed by my spot, but later I wouldn't be...
All the bands played for about an hour each.
Chris Caffery's Faces was the first band up. Very impressive act! He reminds me of Zakk Wylde, but much better. He's basically trying to do the same thing, but again, his band is really better. He's got two other guitarists! They all were pretty damn good. He played with a lot of energy. I believe this is the first time that band has played live, and on Chris' birthday no less.
The next band up was Ripper's band Beyond Fear. Again, I think this is the first time this band has played live. They mostly played stuff off their forthcoming album, so it was hard to know what to expect. There was one really awesome surprise, a cover medley of "War Pigs" and "Neon Knights"
- but Ripper's band sort of sucks. They guys just aren't very good. Not at Sabbath. Not at their own stuff. Ripper is pretty amazing there. It's almost hard to take Halford seriously after seeing Ripper. The guy could probably get on stage and just scream non-stop for an hour, while running circles around the drum kit. It's ridiculous. His album might be worth checking out, not really sure at this point. No Priest or Iced Earth songs.
I was really excited for Jon Oliva's Pain. The whole reason I really wanted to go to this show. Amazingly, they setup Jon's keyboard (one he sits at) right in front of us! He wasn't always sitting, he actually fronted for a while, but anytime he wanted to play keyboards too, he'd sit down in front of us. It was really great. He seems like a really friend guy. My friend Steve was wearing a shirt with a picture of Jesus throwing the horns that said, "Jesus Is F'ing metal." and during "Jesus Saves" Jon noticed the shirt, pointed it out, and started cracking up. It was hilarious.
Jon was in amazing form. Some of his screams sounded a lot like Ripper. I had no idea what to expect from the set, since this was the first night, so when he sat down and started the "Gutter Ballet" intro I literally lost control. He gave me a wink and a nod when I started going nuts during the intro. It was such an amazing version of "Gutter Ballet" it nearly elicited tears.
Jon Oliva's Pain is absolutely amazing. I have no idea who his lead guitarist is, but he might as well be Criss Oliva, he nailed the shit. And then some! Every song, this guy was spot on, and absolutely incredible. It was ridiculous. The rest of his band was equally impressive. These guys are ones to go frickin' see. It might as well be Savatage. It's probably better then the last several incarnations of Savatage, actually.
About three quarters of the way threw the show, Jon asked if he "Might aquire some spirits." And noted that he hadn't drank anything during the first three quarters of the set, but "That's about to change!". Throughout the set the mike stand near his keyboard kept starting to fall over, nearly smacking him in the face a couple times. He'd put his fists up and start getting ready to punch it. It was pretty humorous.
"Strange Reality" was another highlight. I think they were basically playing that one for Criss, and I nearly did cry during it. You don't understand how amazing these guys sounded tearing through it. That and "Gutter Ballet" are being filed away into the "some of the best songs I've ever heard live, ever" folder. Wow. Just wow.
Of course the band did an encore of "Hall of the Mountain King". Steve and I nearly busted the barrier down rocking out so hard during it. Jon gave us a couple more winks during it. He sounded great singing it. It was so awesome to hear that song live. His band really plays it nice and heavy. Sounded great. An incredible set all the way through.
Unfortunately, we didn't stay for Therion. I like Therion, and wanted to, but my we were all pretty exhausted.
As far as attendance, there wasn't many people during Chris and Jon, more people materialized for Jon, but a lot left before Therion. Pretty weak attendance actually. Really a shame...
As for the set's, they aren't complete. I just couldn't keep track of quite everything. Especially the Ripper, since all but one of his songs aren't even out yet. The order of the sets isn't 100% either, but any songs listed, I'm sure of. Chris' set is mostly complete, but Jon's is probably missing some Savatage.
Sorry folks, but I think I head banged most of the sets out of my head during Jon's set
Chris Caffery's Faces
Edge of Darkness
Fade Into X
Piece Be With You
Pisses Me Off
Play My Game
It's Coming At You
War Pigs/Neon Knights/War Pigs
Words of Wisdom
Jon Oliva's Pain
City Beneath the Surface (? Pretty sure, not 100%)
People Say - Gimme Some Hell
Hall of the Mountain King
There were more Savatage songs, but I don't know which. They might come to me though.