"The Titan's Return to Baltimore"
I remember being a kid still in school and my Dad took me to see the Clash of the Titans tour many years ago....the bill was Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax & Alice in Chains.
Alice in Chains opened the show & more or less got booed throughout their entire set! Irony is that Alice in Chains would go on to be bigger than all of the headliners on that bill!
What I remember about the Clash of the Titans tour was that it was non-stop metal, all the bands were heavy as hell & the arena was PACKED with metal heads!
Flash forward over a decade and some change later & the same exact bill, minus Alice in Chains, are back out on the road! Sponsored by Jager & tearing it up across the USA the Fall of 2010, the American Carnage tour is keeping metal alive in 2010!
I will take a moment to point out the irony that Dave Mustaine no longer drinks supposedly, yet his tour is sponsored by Jager!
While all the media people were standing in the backstage area awaiting for the show to start I noticed something that kinda threw me....I saw an empty arena when I looked into the area where the bands were supposed to play!
When I say "empty", I mean, quite literally, I saw NO ONE there & the stage was empty....upon entering the arena though it was obvious what the venue had done. The Baltimore Arena moved the stage closer to the middle of the arena & they closed off a large section of the arena...essentially, they cut the arena almost in 1/2 & built the concert stage quite a ways from where the stage normally would be & the small crowd that was in attendance filled the 1/2 sized venue fairly decent.
I've never seen the Baltimore Arena make the arena look so intimate & small, but they managed to do it very well. There's 3 levels of seating in this arena, you have the floor, then lower level which is raised up from the floor, then upper level which are the nose bleed seats.
At this particular show there was NO ONE in the nose bleed seats, it was strictly floor & lower level and in all honesty they could have had this show at Ram's Head or a larger club...the turn out wasn't bad but you have to consider that they made the arena smaller than usual & even then it was far from sold out.
Jim Florentine was the show MC & he brought on the first band of the night, Anthrax!
Joey Belladonna looks almost identical to how he did back in the day & that to me is honestly quite amazing! Joey's voice sounded just like it always did & Joey is the ONLY member of Anthrax that hasn't changed at all!
Scott Ian is Scott Ian....there's nothing that really needs to be said about him, he's a character all metal heads of a certain age know, he still plays well, Charlie was hidden behind the drum kit & on Charlie's bass heads were Jaws styled shark heads...I've always loved the fact that Charlie is one of the main songwriters in the band yet he's almost hidden while onstage!
Frankie is the member of the band with the most energy onstage these days...he still plays bass with passion & energy...Frankie is the guy who shows the least amount of age in Anthrax & I think his stage presence is the best.
Sadly, Dan Spitz is not touring with the band due to illness, but his replacement, Rob, filled in nicely.
Anthrax played a relatively short set, they didn't waste time with long rants, they simply got onstage & rocked and then they were finished.
Anthrax's backdrop was interesting....it had the Jager logo as big as the band logo & the "Among The Living" artwork...Anthrax was the only band on the bill that allowed the Jager logo on their backdrop.
Megadeth were next & they opened for Slayer! Many people at the show assumed Megadeth were headlining, but much like the Clash of the Titans tour many years ago, Slayer were the nights headliners & Megadeth opened for Slayer!
I like Megadeth's music, but Dave Mustaine has this way of being both an ok guy & a dick and he does it all in the same breath when he opens his mouth to speak!
Megadeth played the "Rust in Peace" record in it's entirety, then they played a few extra songs at the end of their set.
During "Dawn Patrol" a man dressed in a Vic Rattlehead costume came out & snickered at the crowd.
Mustaine addressed the last Baltimore show where they walked offstage due to soundboard problems & Dave still refuses to admit that part of the problem was that Megadeth's board was dying earlier in the day...Dave referred to Ram's Head Live as a "Shithole" but to his credit Megadeth DID play a 2nd show to make up for the cancelled show, BUT, what made Dave a bit of a dick was that he had to make it a point to state he "made good on his word" & he played a free show the following night for Baltimore....most metal fans in Baltimore knew all about the fiasco, it was a subject best left untouched.
There was a moment before the song "Head Crusher" where a fan was heckling Mustaine & Dave said a few nasty things back to the guy. For the post "Rust in Peace" songs Dave changed shirts & went from wearing a white dress shirt with white arm bands to a black "Rust in Peace" t-shirt w/ matching black arm bands.
The nights closer was "Peace Sells" & to my surprise Mustaine did not take his shirt off as he did the last time they played the area...actually, Mustaine always took his shirt off for the last song & I'll assume that he realized he was getting too old for that.
Megadeth's set was actually very good, Broderick nailed all the Marty Friedman solo's & Megadeth were really good....what taints the band though is Mustaine's attitude...if he could just keep his mouth shut & play his guitar...when Mustaine opens his mouth he should ONLY sing, then Megadeth would be oh-so-much better!
The nights headliner was SLAYER & you could see the crowd in the pit change over, the SLAYER fans were marking their territory & you could feel the pit getting ready to errupt!
During the Megadeth set you could easily smell the scent of Mary Jane through the crowd, but during SLAYER you smelled sweat!
It was actually much easier to photograph Tom Araya at this show & that's due to the fact that he can no longer headbang due to his recent surgery...what actually was noticeable though was the fact that Tom was more focused on his singing & bass playing...I think he played better NOT headbanging in all honesty. When Tom doesn't headbang you also see that he's smiling ALOT while onstage...the man is clearly having fun & he loves his crowd...it was kinda cool to see him smile so much!
Slayer were always a dark, spooky, devil worshipping band...atleast that's how they billed themselves & that's the image they created for the band, BUT, these days you see Slayer onstage & the "scary" vibe is no longer there...Kerry is bald & heavily tattooed but that's almost mainstream these days!
Slayer's imagery & satanic overtones are still cool but just not scary these days....when I saw the band perform "Angel of Death" it almost reminded me of seeing Black Sabbath playing "War Pigs" a few years back....both Slayer & Black Sabbath are ESSENTIAL bands in the metal genre & they've been around for so long that their most revered songs are standards at this point, they are songs ALL true metal heads know, love, & to some degree have played farrrr too many times!
Slayer was the only band on the bill to feature ALL original members & Slayer's set was definitely the strongest of the night.
Slayer finished up just before 11 PM & that was it...a night of vintage metal was done.
When the Slayer set was done a roadie brought out a full bottle of Jager & Kerry King did a shot just before he thanked the crowd & walked offstage.
Outside the venue there were guys trying to sell knock off tour shirts for $10 & the crowd emptied out of the venue pretty damn fast. The show was fun, it was a great night for old school metal, BUT, it did show one thing that was pretty damn obvious....this was NOT a kiddie show...the crowd was older, there were a few kids there, but the core of the crowd was probably 30+ in age & metal fans take alot of crap for being assholes, but at this show the crowd was rather nice....although, I will admit that as I was leaving the show there was a moment where a bunch o' crazy metal guys were screaming "SLAYER!!!" & some random guy tossed in "White Power!" & I thought to myself, "Did I just hear what I thought I heard?", then I heard the same guy yell "White Power!" again.