Almost 3 years to the day after seeing them first. This was definitely a different Type O this time around. This venue doesn't have the best sound, and they played very loud again. Fortunately earplugs helped this out.
The band typically doesn't move around much or show any enthusiasm, but I got a very different feel from the first tour Stacy and I had seen them on. They seemed more into it and the music was tighter. An enjoyable show as a whole.
Every 2 years in August it seems...
Testament is an odd band. They've been through over a dozen band members. They went from an amazing tour in 95, to a positively terrible outing in 97 and now to one of the best metal records in the 90's. The Gathering is exactly what a metal album should sound like. Dave Lombardo makes this album complete with outstanding drumming, something he hasn't done in years. Grip Inc. had it's moments and his Fantomas project is different, but for us old school metal fans, his drumming on The Gathering is what we look for. Bass drums blazing, awesome fills, and some very non-Lombardo-like playing. Oh, the record is awesome too. The band took all that they've learned in recent years and put it all together. Demonic wasn't the greatest record, but this album took what was good from it.
Ok, obviously the album is good. The tour was just as amazing. The Birch Hill is an awesome place, and the band had a barbecue thing going all day. This was probably one of the best concert days I've experienced.
We got there and sat around in the sun, the band hanging out. Had a little swim, went in the jacuzzi, met most of the guys and even took a nap. Meeting Dave Lombardo was a high school dream though, as Slayer had always been my favorite.
Sat out in the car for a bit and listened to the Yankees destroy whoever we were playing. Wonderful stuff.
The show itself was as expected. Amazing. Lombardo was his typical killer self, Steve DiGiorgio was awesome on bass, and a definite keeper, and the setlist included all the important tracks from The Gathering with the usual oldies filling out the set.
It was ultra hot that night and once the show was over we had to drive from NJ to Albany, NY. We got outside and it was pouring. Some of the heaviest rain I've ever seen. It cooled us down quick, but made our drive a bit miserable, as sitting in wet clothing for hours isn't the most comfortable.
A far cry from the Maiden show almost a year earlier. This was a religous experience. Bruce is back!
I had seen Iron Maiden twice w/ that other guy, Blaze. Now, whatever you feel about him and his time with the band, he has zero stage presence. Seriously...boring...
On my 23rd birthday, the 10th of February, 1999, Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith announced they were back in the band. You couldn't get a better birthday gift! This was their first time through with the 'new' lineup. The band played 2 nights at the venue, but I only got tickets for one of the two. The setlist was identical.
Mat and I went into the city early, got a bite to eat and ran to the back entrance to the Hammerstein. After a bit of waiting, Nicko appeared saying the rest of the bunch were on their way. He was exactly as I imagined he would be. Very cool guy, he sat around talking to us all for a good 5-10 minutes. We were even able to get a picture taken with him. Always in a good mood it seems, he cracked some jokes and headed inside.
A few minutes later the bus (?) pulled up and out poured the remaining 5 members. Dave and Adrian, then Bruce (Mat missed him!), Janick and finally Steve. It had become very crowded at this point, but Mat was able to get someone to take our pic w/ Steve. Note the uncomfortable look on Mat's face...must be the stickiness running down his leg.
The show itself was for the Ed Hunter game (which sucks). It was the first w/ Bruce back, and so it was a greatest hits type deal. How fitting to start the show w/ the Churchill speech from Live After Death. Aces High kicks in (taped intro for some reason) and then all hell broke loose. Who would've thought it? Bruce Dickinson w/ Iron Maiden in 1999? They kicked total ass, playing some awesome stuff. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (unless I got tickets to both nights I guess).
Look at that setlist. Some songs I never imagined were played, and likely never played again. The show was incredible and I have no recollection of anything afterwards. Simply amazing.