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Hammerfall/Dio:
13th December, 2002 - Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY


Merely 2 days after Satriani, we were back in the city for the Hammerfall show. Of course, Dio was the headliner and he was recording his dvd that night. In addition, Kings X was on the bill, very out of place. However, as I'm not much a fan of either of the other bands, I was here for Hammerfall!

As always, we were drinking on the train and arrived in Manhattan nice and toasty for the December outing. First stop was the bar across the street where we met several Iron Maiden BB'ers and had a round. Being that the first band was the only we cared to see, we ran across the street quickly and pushed all the way to the front.

Hammerfall soon took the stage and the venue was still half empty at that point. All the 'Fall fans were up front anyways and they got a real New York welcome, even if our numbers weren't that many. Classic power metal all the way, we all had our fists in the air singing along. Seth Diamond met up with us in the front, a trend that would continue throughout the next year. An approximate setlist:

  • Lore of the Arcane
  • Riders of the Storm
  • Hearts on Fire
  • Renegade
  • Heeding the Call
  • Dreamland
  • Hammerfall

After them, Mat and I didn't really care to stay for the rest, but since Dio was recording a DVD we had to stick around to say we were there. As we hung near the railing to the right of the stage, I noticed a familiar face. We were standing next to Joe Comeau, of Annihilator and the old guitarist of Overkill!!! I was psyched to say the least. We introduced ourselves and he told us he was there to see King's X who was coming up.

We moved back for them, caught a little bit of Dio and headed out.

Joe Satriani:
11th December, 2002 - Town Hall, New York, NY


We saw Satch 3 months prior but he had a headlining spot here and we had 5th row tickets! Stacy, Mat and I went in to the city with Dave, my co-worker and had a couple of beers on the way. This prepared us for the cold, wet walk we had through the city on our way to the Town Hall.

Once inside, I was amazed at how small the place was! There wasn't a bad seat in the house, but our 5th row seats were simply incredible. Someone opened up, playing a glass guitar of sorts...very odd.

Satriani's set mirrored that of the Jones Beach show, with a few extras. Stacy managed to sneak in the digital camera and we must've fired off 125 shots by the time the night ended. Many came out blurry but in addition to the snaps below, I've put together some highlights here.

There's little to say here really...Satriani is just FUN live. He had a blast onstage and it translates into an excellent experience as a fan. Every song was energetic and exciting and due to the short nature of his songs, it felt like he played forever.

Tool/Meshuggah:
31st October, 2002 - Nassau Colisseum, Uniondale, NY


My 4th time seeing Tool, this show started out on a high note. Each of the first few songs were downright phenomenal. I was in shock at how good Tool was. Opening with a song I'd never imagine, I was hoping for a night of some surprises (it was Halloween after all!) and some old gems. However, as Cold & Ugly ended, so did the material from their first 2 records.

In fact, looking over the setlist, it's downright horrible to see that barring one song, the last 8 songs played (out of 12 total) were from Lateralus. Now...of course they are still promoting this record. But I wonder how many people paid for tickets last year to witness virtually the exact same thing. Maynard even gave us the same, "I hope you come away from this with a newfound realization..." blah blah blah speech.

  • Cold & Ugly
  • The Grudge
  • Stinkfist (Extended)
  • H.
  • Schism
  • Parabol
  • Parabola
  • Third Eye
  • INTERMISSION
  • Disposition
  • Reflection
  • Triad (w/Meshuggah)
  • Lateralus

The show as a whole was very good. As I mentioned, the first half of the set was pure magic. We flipped out upon hearing C&U and the extended version of Stinkfist was fantastic. A number of songs showed them toying w/ the presentation, extending intros, some small changes in the middle, etc. The band opened up with Third Eye the first time I saw them (March '97) and this version was just as impressive. They sounded so heavy it often boggles my mind as to how they produce such a layered wall of sound from 3 musicians. Maynard played guitar for a few songs, and Triad featured Meshuggah members on percussion and keyboards, so the musician count grew from 3 to 6. Simply awesome. Lateralus is a great song, and the ending is perfect to close a show, however familiar it may have seemed to me.

Unfortunately, as the first half ended, it became dj v. Barring the mind-blowing Third Eye, the entire second half was identical to last years show. The experience was great, as with every Tool show, but I was disappointed in the setlist a year ago and this didn't help things. The 'intermission' if you could call it that was followed by several slower songs and just like last year, all the energy they created in the first 20 minutes was far gone. Everyone around us had decided to sit down. If they came back w/ one song (even a radio song) to revive us all before closing, it would be one thing. But the way the band is, they lift the intensity and then the show kind of just ends, they wave goodbye and we all go home. I didn't have that rush of euphoria that you get from great shows when they leave the stage. Had they ended after Schism, I would have!

I don't want to remember this show solely as a disappointment b/c that's not the case. But it is the dominant emotion I took from the venue. The good is so great with these guys that I easily become overwhelmed, but if they come around again before producing another record, I'd be hesitant to buy a ticket. Ultimately, these guys sound awesome live and it's definitely something to catch. But without diversity or any surprises, you know what you're getting when you plunk down your $50.

In Flames/Dark Tranquillity:
27th September, 2002 - Birch Hill, Old Bridge, NJ


Driving to Jersey is one of my least favorite activities. I've been there too many times this year alone, but In Flames headlining and Dark Tranquility's first US appearance...well, once again, I had to go!

Left work early but still got stuck in traffic. Almost 3 hours later we arrived and hung out in the parking lot, w/ a cooler full of beer. Met some people that Mat knew from msg boards, and they went to find out when the show was starting. Dark Tranquillity was already on stage!!! We rushed over to find a long line that simply wasn't moving. Instead of sitting on line and getting inside w/ enough time to see 1 song, we sat outside where we could hear the show. Took a peek inside, as a door was just to the left of the stage. The band sounded amazing. We got to hear about 5-6 songs, and would have only seen 1 if we waited in line. Additionally, we would have had to see the other 2 bands, Sentenced and Killswitch Engaged, who I had zero interest in seeing. In the very least we got to hear them, and they were very tight. Most was newer material, but they did play Zodijackyl Light and Punish My Heaven, 2 classics. I don't know the exact setlist b/c I don't know newer song titles, but another recent show had the following:

  • The Wonders at Your Feet
  • The Treason Wall
  • Haven
  • Punish My Heaven
  • The Sun Fired Blanks
  • White Noise/Black Silence
  • Monochromatic Stains
  • Zodijackyl Light
  • Damage Done
  • Final Resistance

We got in line and Punish My Heaven started. This was the first DT song I ever heard, on the WAR compilation in 1995. I couldn't believe they were playing it!!! They didn't play it on some other dates of the tour. Missed Wonders at Your Feet, a pretty cool song, one of the few I really liked from Projector and Haven. The rest was newer material, barring Zodijackyl Light which was spectacular as well. Of course, we only heard the songs from outside. :(

A few minutes after the set ended, some of the band members came out and we got to meet Martin Brandstrom (electronics) and Martin Henriksson (guitar). Both were very kind and gracious. I asked whether they were coming back or not and they mentioned that an Arch Enemy/Dark Tranquillity package might be in the works. WOW! I'd even go to Jersey again for that!!! By missing the band we got to meet them, so in the very least that was a benefit. They were very cool and seemed excited to finally make it to the states.

Skipped the next 2 bands, listened to the Yankees game on the radio and drank a few more beers. We got in a few minutes before In Flames took to the stage. The place was packed but I couldn't see anything from the back, so I muscled my way all the way up front. 2nd person in. I was able to see everything there, do my headbanging and truly enjoy myself. The fans were great, singing along and there were a number of women up there as well, a shocker. I didn't really expect IF to have this type of following in the US, but then again, I'm pretty detached from the youth of today! :) It was extremely warm in the venue and my Emperor long-sleeve shirt was literally soaked through by the end. Anders even commented on the heat, complaining that they're not used to it...in Sweden they have polar bears in the streets.

The setlist was fantastic barring one Major flaw. ZERO songs from The Jester Race. Needless to say, that was a disappointment, but I really don't dislike any IF material, so it was still a great show. The setlist, not in order:

  • Bullet Ride
  • Embody The Invisible
  • Pinball Map
  • Only For The Weak
  • Gyroscope
  • Colony
  • Episode 666
  • Trigger
  • Drifter
  • Cloud Connected
  • System
  • Clayman
  • Black & White
  • Behind Space
  • Clad In Shadows
  • Ordinary Story

Very similar to the show in April. They played a few more songs this time (16 vs 12), and everything they performed in April was played here w/ the exception of Artifacts of the Black Rain.

Once again, the crowd was great, enjoying both the newer and older material. Jesper looked a little tired onstage, as these guys have been on tour for a long time...but Bjrn was animated as always.

A fantastic show regardless of the shortcomings. Seeing In Flames headline was a long-awaited treat. If only DT could have played before them, and if IF played SOMETHING from Jester Race, then it would have been perfection! I won't complain though. It's taken them a while, but an IF headlining tour is something very special as I can recall when I couldn't even find a CD of theirs in music stores!

Dream Theater/Joe Satriani:
14th September, 2002 - Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY


We bought these tickets back in May, and so we had plenty of time to get excited about the show. It was a bit of an end of summer blast, and the day was excellent.

It all started around 1 when we headed to Looney Tunes to meet Satch at an in-store. Sparing the ugly details, we were among the last to meet him, but he was a cool guy, signing Mat's bass and a couple of CD covers for us.

Later on, we got geared up and headed for Jones Beach. Always a nice venue, especially at the end of summer when it's cooling off but still beautiful out. We arrived early, parked and setup our barbecue for a long night of debauchery! Mat met a number of message board friends, had plenty of beer and some good food.

Had a total blast in the parking lot, but the hour came to get to our seats. We had orchestra seats, I've never sat so close at Jones Beach. We literally sat down and within 5 seconds the lights dimmed. It was the best timing you could possibly imagine. Satriani hit the stage and it was utter perfection for the entire duration. He was fantastic! There's no other way to say it. His European setlist was as follows...I believe it's mostly the same, if not identical:

  • Flying In A Blue Dream
  • Crushing Day
  • Devil's Slide
  • Belly Dancer
  • Cool #9
  • Mind Storm
  • Seven String
  • The Crush Of Love
  • New Last Jam
  • Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing
  • Extremist
  • Summer Song
  • Headless Horseman
  • Midnight
  • I Believe
  • Starry Night
  • Raspberry Jam Delta-V
  • Ice 9
  • Oriental Melody
  • Mountain Song
  • Always With Me, Always With You
  • Satch Boogie
  • Why
  • Surfing With The Alien
  • Friends

There may be errors there, and I'm not sure if he played all of those, but you get the idea. I'm bad w/ his titles anyways, as there is never any vocals. Regardless, Satriani rocked and really blew me away. Impressed doesn't even cut it.

A short break later, Dream Theater came out. I've seen them twice this year already and 3x on this tour, so it was nothing new, but impressive as well.

  • New Millenium
  • Strange DeJa Vu
  • War Inside My Head
  • The Test that Stumped Them All
  • Instrumedley
  • Lines in The Sand (w/ Doug Pinnick)
  • Blind Faith
  • Lifting Shadows off a Dream
  • The Spirit Carries On
  • Solitary Shell
  • Pull Me Under
  • E: Take The Time (w/ Satriani)

They had played Great Debate on other shows, and this is the only song I've yet to see from 6 Degrees. I wouldn't say I was disappointed though, the rest of the show was great, including Doug Pinnick's vocals in Lines in the Sand , the truly INSANE Instrumedley (I can't even begin to describe...) and the final song, Take the time. Satriani came out and did the Rush cover jam, but the solos were just astounding. Trading off between Satch, Petrucci and Jordan. I don't think anyone left w/out their jaw on the floor. It was really that amazing.

In the end, both sets were great, but having seen DT so many times and never Satriani, the highlight really was finally seeing him in action. It rained for a bit...who cares? I had so much fun. What a way to 'end' the summer!!!

Trey Anastasio:
19th June, 2002 - Radio City Music Hall, NY, NY


The show as a whole felt substantially different from last year's tour. Radio City Music Hall is a very nice venue, but there's nothing like that summer feeling, seeing a band outdoors (last year's show was at Jones Beach). etc....

Setlist:

Set I

  • Push On'Til the Day
  • Mozambique
  • Cayman Review
  • Last Tube

Set II

  • Simple Twist Up Dave
  • Plasma
  • At the BBQ
  • Mr. Completely
  • Night Speaks to a Woman
  • Ether Sunday
  • At the Gazebo
  • E: Alive Again

Down:
1st May, 2002 - Roseland, NY, NY


Boring...Phil just yapped on and on, about nothing. What an exciting encore!!! Phil yapping for 10 minutes and then one uninspired song! At least they played Stone the Crow, probably their best.

Setlist:

  • The Seed
  • Something On My Side
  • Temptation's Wings
  • Lifer
  • Lysergik Funeral Procession
  • Rehab
  • Ghosts Of The Mississippi
  • Learn From My Mistake
  • Beautifully Depressed
  • Lies
  • New Orleans Is A Dying Whore
  • Stone The Crow
  • Eyes Of The South
  • E: Bury Me In Smoke

Days of the New:
29th April, 2002 - Mercury Lounge, NY, NY


.....

In Flames:
11th April, 2002 - WWF World, NY, NY


Missed all of Jag Panzer (saw the last song). Sounded good!

In Flames - Great....It was really awesome finally seeing them.

  • Bullet Ride
  • Embody The Invisible
  • Clayman
  • Artifacts of the Black Rain
  • Behind Space
  • Clad In Shadows
  • Episode 666
  • Only For The Weak
  • Gyroscope
  • Ordinary Story
  • Pinball Map
  • Colony

That's the setlist. Stuck around for 4 Iced Earth songs, then headed out.

Dream Theater:
28th March, 2002 - Beacon Theater, NY, NY


I have seen many concerts. Many bands...I've even seen Metallica several times. But after seeing Dream Theater's version of Master of Puppets, no show will ever be the same. There is so much you can say of MoP - but to easily encapsulate it, it's one of the best metal records and best records in general - EVER. As a longtime metal fan, an old school Metallica fan and an enormous music 'buff' if you will, there's no denying what MoP did for metal in the mid 80s.

I knew they were going to do it. The first set was phenomenal. Crowd was great, the song selection was cool too. In the intermission we all wondered if they really would do Puppets again. They had done it in Barcelona and Chicago, so that was the question. As the lights dimmed for the 2nd set, they began Overture. If they started that, they've gotta play the whole record right? But will they still have time for Puppets?

YES! 6 Degrees, all of it...into Puppets, ALL OF IT! Puppets sounded so goddamn good. Every note was on, it was fast, metal, headbanging, people screaming lyrics in the air. It was metal heaven really. The crowd knew everything (I was born for dying!), it felt like 1986, just w/ a lot less hair (except for me of course). I could go on forever, but you get the point. It fucking rocked.

Of course, they still weren't done and we got a stunning version of Home and Pull Me Under, both with insane speed up/slow down timings between Petrucci and Portnoy.

So much fun, so memorable and such METAL! Definitely a top 5 show.

  • The Glass Prison
  • Strange Deja Vu
  • Through My Words
  • Fatal Tragedy
  • Burning My Soul '96
  • Another Hand/The Killing Hand
  • Misunderstood
  • Lie
  • The Spirit Carries On
  • Take the Time

  • SDOIT
  • Master of Puppets
  • E: Home
  • E: Pull Me Under

Total Playing Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Overkill:
23rd March, 2002 - Paramount Theater, Asbury Park, NJ


7x seeing the band, 3rd time in the last 11 months. Once we heard that they were shooting a DVD and recording the show, we had to go. Tix were $10.

The first 3 songs are in order, as well as the encore - the rest is jumbled.

  • Necroshine
  • Thunderhead
  • E.vil N.ever D.ies
  • Deny the Cross
  • I Hate
  • Wrecking Crew->Powersurge
  • Gasoline Dream
  • Battle
  • It Lives
  • Long Time Dyin'
  • Bleed Me
  • Hello from the Gutter
  • Years of Decay
  • Spiritual Healing
  • Shred
  • In Union We Stand
  • Overkill
  • E: Horrorscope
  • E: Rotten to the Core->Elimination
  • E: Fuck You

I got all the way up front, up against the barrier. It was awesome, headbanging the entire time. Definitely got into some cameras - so I'm hoping to get on the DVD...That would simply rock!

Slayer:
25th January, 2002 - Convention Hall - Asbury Park, NJ


2nd leg of God Hates the World Tour

Having seen the band on the first leg of their US tour, I had no plans on catching this date. However, once the news broke that Dave Lombardo would be playing with them, I got tickets immediately. Pretty much my drum idol from a decade earlier, there was no chance I'd miss this.

The setlist was virtually identical to the show in November, which was a bit of a letdown. They removed New Faith and Dittohead, and replaced them with Payback and Threshold (I think) from God Hates us All, and tossed in Born of Fire which was a complete shock!

Dave filled in perfectly, doing all his and Paul's stuff flawlessly. Everything was right on, faster than you can imagine and he sounded phenomenal. Despite the setlist being the same, it was a spectacular experience. The venue was pretty cool too, down in Assbury park, a mix of old school metal fans and whatever you would call Slayer fans today. I was stuck in the pit the entire time, of course, soaking in the whole experience.

  1. Darkness of Christ
  2. Disciple
  3. War Ensemble
  4. Stain Of Mind
  5. Threshold (?)
  6. God Send Death
  7. Postmortem
  8. Raining Blood
  9. Hell Awaits
  10. Die By The Sword
  11. Payback
  12. Bloodline
  13. Payback
  14. Born of Fire
  15. Dead Skin Mask
  16. Seasons In The Abyss
  17. Mandatory Suicide
  18. Chemical Warfare
  19. E: South Of Heaven
  20. E: Angel Of Death

Dream Theater:
19th January, 2002 - BB King's Bar & Grill


These tickets were only announced online and the place was very small. Definitely less than a thousand here, so I was able to get up close. I was near Jordan, so I didn't really get to see Petrucci very much, which sucked, but watching Jordan and Myung was fantastic.

Mat was 'ill' and we got in late, but it wouldn't have mattered. The snow wasn't as major as they anticipated, but we did get a couple of inches and had to sit in line outside of the place for an hour. Standing in the snow for an hour SUCKS obviously, everyone was soaked by the time we got in.

The setlist:

  • Intro Tape-End of Finally Free
  • The Glass Prison
  • Under a Glass Moon
  • Guitar Solo
  • Scarred (with Rush-2112 jam)
  • Cover My Eyes
  • Strange Deja Vu
  • Through My Words
  • Fatal Tragedy
  • Lifting Shadows off a Dream (with new Intro)
  • Blind Faith
  • Keyboard Solo
  • Lines in the Sand
  • Misunderstood
  • Lie
  • Piano/Key Solo
  • The Spirit Carries On
  • Pull Me Under
  • E: Home
  • E: Hollow Years
  • E: Take the Time (with Rush-Working Man/By-Tor)

Great stuff.