Sunday, May 17, 2009
Testament's (Damnation Vacation) Tour 2009 Review (@ Harpos Theater-Detroit)
Back from the Damnation...
yeah baby ! it's Testament this time ! one of the best concerts I've ever seen !
Date: Saturday May16th 2009, Time: 4pm - 4 am !!!!
I've been huge fan of Testament since I started listening to Heavy/Thrash Metal back when I was 12 years old -soon to be 21!- , to me they should be one of the big 4 if not the 1st band to put on there along with Exodus,Slayer,Megadeth/Metallica -sorry big fan on Anthrax-, the only band that has been through hell & now they r back all together,spreading the Damnation all over the globe with their 2008 album release (The Formation of Damnation), one of my favorite Thrash Metal album of all times,it truly defines the Pure Thrash Metal that I heard when it all started in early 80's...Amazing Album,heavy & tight as shit, so fast forward to Present, Testament is back, Heavier than ever, more scary ! with their classical lineup featuring The Mighty Chuck Billy on Vocals, Alex Skolnick & Eric Peterson on Guitars,Greg Christian on Bass & the amazing addition of the Drummer, the one & only Paul Bostaph (Ex-Slayer,Ex-Exodus,Ex-Forbidden)!!!
I've been fortunate enough to Meet Alex Skolnick last December when I got the VIP Backstage to Trans-Siberien Orchestra & Met with Chris Caffery (Savatage) & Alex + TSO Members!
Alex promised to keep in touch with me & my bro and he did ! we kept talking from time to time when he gets sometime off the road & back to his hometown NY, always great to talk with him,he's been a guitar hero for me for years , so talking with him on personal level is far beyond my wildest dreams !
so last Saturday I headed to Downtown Detroit, to Harpos Theater* (Black Label Society Shot their 2002 Boozed, Broozed, and Broken-Boned there),same theater that I saw Iced Earth on last year, I e-mailed Alex before askin him to make sure of the whole sound check and rehearsals so that they don't face any shitty sound problems in harpos that Iced Earth & some other bands faced before,I got there around 4 pm, Supposed to have early entry to the theater in time when Testament do their sound test but that never happend ! Lauren-Testament Assistant- called me & said that the owner of the Theater didn't let them do the sound test coz their will be over 7 bands opening for them so instead he took them to the hotel to get some rest !!!
I got pissed off & worried, hoping not to be another sucky sound concert, i got to enter the theater @ around 5:15 pm, and the security guy didn't let me in simply coz i had my camera with me ! I told him i got all the VIP shit & stuff & he wouldn't listen ! that's when I went out to Testament's tour bus & saw their Manager and told him the whole crappy shit of the security guy then I got in.I was starting to feel exhausted and sick, coz I had strong flu the week b4 &i was still recovering from it !
I sat down on one of the bar tables,drunk some water & tried to rest, the local bands started playing on 2nd stage @ around 6 pm, their were 3 bands,each played 10 minutes set + several intermissions then @ 8 pm (Lazarus A.D) took the main stage, they were the 1st Direct Support band on Testament's tour,new upcoming band from Milwaukee,WI, played a 30 minutes set consisted of songs from their newly released album (The Onslaught), I heard about them before but never listened to their stuff, they were mind blowing, tight band, cool licks,heavy riffs, perfect choice for opener,they really got everyone on fire! once they finished their set every1 went outside to Merchandise Section & bought their album !
another 30 mins. break with some local bands playing on the 2nd stage, I didn't bother myself to check those local bands,i was saving my energy for Testament !
Then it was the time for the metalcore band (Unearth) to play for 1 hour, I don't like Metalcore style but these guys were amazing! specially their main guitarist ! mind blowing skills ! with neo-classical influnce,reminded me much of Jeff Loomis/Yngwie style of playing, that's when they got the whole crowd to start the moshpit & bouncing thing ! they played so well that the crowd called them for an encore but that never happend sure ! coz the masters r about to take the stage !
30 mins.later, Everything went dark, blue dim light lit the stage with few smoke & the PA system played (For the Glory of) Intro from Testament's new album ! followed by all members taking the stage,greeting the crowds with warm opener, (The Preacher!) followed by (Practice What You Preach) ( The New Order).....DEMONIC ! Eric Peterson played his newly Sunburst Dean doing all the dive bombs/solos himself, wicked song ! Chucky Billy Sign.Growls blew every1 ears !
after some true heavy songs, it was time to the lovely ballad (The Legacy), and man ! Alex Skolnick did his best Solos there,wonderful tone & amazing feelings! then it was time for The cool shy guy Greg Christian to do his bass intro to Souls of Black...then back to Alex on (Electric Crown) ! he was more like Steve Vai with all the Harmonics/feedback stuff on this one ! then they ended the set with the brutal version of (Disciples of the Watch) ! that's when they left the stage..making the crowd screaming their lungs out askin for more dose of Testament !
the blue dim light was again to lit the stage...followed by an extended Symphonic intro to the beautiful opening track from The Gathering album (DNR !!!)..with Chuck Billy doing the Maestro Impression...certainly one of the best moments ever, followed by 1 song then the ended the night with (The Formation of Damnation) -Extendend Version-
the crowd was insane through the whole Testament set,all bloody baths of mosh pits/circle pits/headbanging !
after the show ended @ around 11:45 pm I had to wait for 15 mins.near the dressing room so that the band can take shower,change & get ready for the big party !
I killed the time by talking with Lauren -Testament Assistant- & Theater Secruity guys + 2 old fans of Testament who drove 3 hours from another city just to meet the band! more to meet Paul Bostaph & get his sign.on their remo drum heads !
they told me that Harpos Theater Manager was so shitty & that he sometimes ban bands from playing & cut their sets and such crap ! they even told me that 2 years ago,when Exodus played @ Harpos, the Manager came after 45 mins. and turned off the electricity on the band and kicked every1 out just to save $100 on Security bill !!!!
better stick with the good stuff ! Lauren brought us free Limited Edition T-Shirts, Free Testament MusicSkin for iphone 3g,+ entry to raffle(lotto) to win Eric Peterson's Sign.Dean Guitar + Testament Skateboard ! signed by all the members
after that we went inside the dressing room,it was like 5X3 room ! with Testament guys sitting on sofa waiting for us ! I was the 1st one to enter,greeted Eric Peterson, Chuck Billy, Greg Chrisitan then it was Alex turn,he was busy checkin his iphone but then when he saw me he got up,bro-hugged me & introduced me to the band, I sat down near Alex & Paul Bostaph, Paul was in silent mode,he looked dead tired with his red face & evil eyes !
Alex talked to me most of the time,askin' me how i've been and stuff, I brought my Testament (Live in London) dvd to get it signed,starting with paul (he said he'd record one with Testament soon hopefully), then Alex,that's when Alex kept checkin the dvd cover pic & comparing his hair now with 2005 era lol ! then greg,Chuck, & Eric, I asked Eric about his DragonLord band (BlackMetal Project) With Steve Smythe (Ex-Testament,Nevermore) & Steve DiGiorgio (Ex-Death,Control Denied,Nevermore,Testament!). he said he'll record new album after Testament finish their summer/fall touring in September, I asked if Steve Smyth gonna be there and he said "FUCK Steve,Fuck Him !!!" humm I didn't ask y lol ! he looked pretty much serious about it ha !
so it's gonna be new band with Testament Bassist Tech. doing the bass job & some new members.
Chuck Billy was awesome,he's one of my favorite Metal Singers of all times, I askedh im about his DDR (Dublin Death Patrol) band with Steve Souza (Ex-Exodus), and he said they'll record new album and dvd soon
Alex Skolnick said that he's getting his 1st instructional dvd finished, but his trio jazz band dvd will take more longer to get finished, he also told me that recorded some acoustic tracks just days ago with his friends Rodrigo y Gabriela ( http://www.rodgab.com/studio/studio.html ).
then we head down to the main stage to take Pictures with The Band, I took pix with all the band/crew, some were taken by Alex & Eric ! and for some reasons they liked my camera ! and kept asking me about it,it's features,price ! saying they wanna get rid of their old canon cameras !
It's just regular Camera,not pro nor semi-pro ! (Nikon S550),they said that they liked the quality of the pix & it's small stylish size ! then they gave us Poster,Signed it, the set list for the night,then Alex decided to go outside the theater to greet the few ppl who stood for over 1 hour waiting outside ! what an amazing guy ! he was followed by Chuck & the rest of the band,except Paul, I don't know y, but as I said b4 he looked kinda angry & tired
then we all went inside and partied for 2 more hours ! I talked with Alex about his signature guitars,he got them made here in MI @ the original Gibson Factory that's now owned by (Heritage Guitars),he said that he signed a deal days ago to get his signature Guitars available for public sometime later this year or early 2010.I saw a Red Prototype of it that he played earlier tonight.Greg Christian dropped his endorsement of MusicMan Bass, he's not using Peavey Basses & Amps.also getting his sign.Bass to get out soon based mainly on Dave Elfeson (Ex-Megadeth) Model.a Night to remember for sure ! I can't wait to see the guys back again !
I hope U guys get to see them this Summer playing in Turkey & enjoy their show as much as I did, they put on a legendary one! so make sure not to miss them !
Testament Complete Setlist for the night was:
1-For The Glory of (Intro)
3-Practice What You Preach
4-The New Order
5-Over The Wall
6-Do or Die
7-More Than Meets The Eye
8-The Persecuted Won't Forget
12-Into The Pit
13-Souls of Black
15-Disciples of The Watch
17-3 Days in Darkness
18-The Formation of Damnation