Iced Earth @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/29/2004)

Logo - Iced Earth

Artist: Iced Earth
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Children Of Bodom, Evergrey
Label: SPV Records
Date: 4-29-2004
Photos: Kamil Skorupka

I can honestly say that after having “The Glorious Burden” CD in my stereo for some time now that this was a show I was totally looking forward to. B.B. Kings Club had been sold out for this particular event for over two months. The reaction was almost immediate when the show that was to feature Iced Earth, Children Of Bodom and Evergrey was announced and tickets made available. Surely this was a night full of killer music. Iced Earth would be returning with Tim “Ripper” Owens formerly of Judas Priest at the microphone and for those who have heard the CD, you just knew this was going to be good. As luck would have it, prior to the performance I was going to be able to meet Tim Owens backstage to run a few questions by him. I jumped at the chance since this is not so easily done. When I caught up with Tim backstage before the soundcheck I found him to be quite friendly and very enthused about the soon to be performed show. I was told also that Jon Schaffer was very ill and had not been doing good all day. He was plagued with a stomach virus of some kind. The interview is featured at the bottom of this review.

Evergrey kicked off the evening with a very short set (unfortunately) of some numbers off of their new release. Being new to their music, I cannot bring to you any of the names but they are quite a talented act who I will gladly go to see again. After their performance the band milled about the venue and chatted up with fans. I saw them walking around much to the delight of the audience. When it was time for Children Of Bodom to begin their set, it was clear by the audience reaction that the crowd was equally theirs as much as that of Iced Earth. I found them to be one of the best new bands that I had seen in a long time delivering a brutal set that the audience and crowd surfers clearly appreciated. This was the first time I had ever seen C.O.B. as I recall they opened for Dimmu Borgir at a L’Amours show I covered, but that evening I was running late. Oh well. That happens.

Evergrey Set List: The Masterplan, Rulers of the Mind, End of Your Days, Blinded, Recreation Day, A Touch of Blessing, Ambassador.

Children Of Bodom Set List: Hate Me!, Chokehold (Cocked ‘n’ Loaded), Sixpounder, Angels Don’t Kill, Silent Night, Bodom Night, Needled 24/7, Everytime I Die, Hate Crew Deathroll, Downfall.

The main event was now set to occur. The club P.A. system blasted the sound of the Star Spangled Banner, which was particulary great to hear the audience also sing along to. Especially in New York City. Given Jon Schaffer’s strong patriotic stance, I am sure this assisted in him feeling better to hit the stage. Suddenly Ripper was there and the band launched into “Declaration Day”. Essentially the first performance number off the new CD. It sounded great, as Ripper is as good live as he is on the CD. He said hello New York and stuff like that, but truly kept the chatter to a minimum as this band was here to play. If one looked close as Jon, you can tell he was not feeling well, and even the announcer for the show mentioned Jon being sick. So you know this was for real. Given his condition, I think we were lucky that he did not cancel the event. I am also glad as this was filled to capacity. At first glance I felt the room fits about 1000 people.

Considering he was ill, Jon Schaffer did not speak very much. He only took the time to do so prior to the group playing “Greenface” which he dedicated to the Navy S.E.A.L.S. and all the fighting personnel who were serving their countries in the Middle East at this time. Ripper told the audience that there was a video from the album, but no one would show it. The song its for is “When The Eagle Cries”, it features a lot of 9-11 imagery, and is very well done. I guess essentially that the music video stations are more concerned with how much bling bling that the rap artists are wearing as opposed to something with a little more social commentary and relevance. Oh well, I don’t watch those stations anyway. Do you?

The set as you will see below is a great mix of old and new numbers. I had only heard a couple of their old songs and was interested in some of the fans reaction to Ripper singing in place of the former singer Matthew Barlow. A few people told me how they hated Ripper before it even began, and I am happy to announce that they thought he did a terrific job on the old material and they no longer thought this. I was happy to see this openness, as Tim basically filled the need of vocalist much like he did when he joined Judas Priest. He does a damned good job if you ask me. There was a point in the evening where Jon was not on stage at all. Owens joked that they needed to kill time while Jon puked offstage. Given how bad he felt and if it was a stomach thing, he was probably not kidding around. He did say they were going to keep buckets on the stage but changed their minds. The rest of the band was in top notch form, Richard Christy on drums pounding away like a madman on his massive Pearl kit. James McDonough on the bass holding down the metal in superb fashion. Their sound was great if I did not say this already, and carried across the venue well. The place itself it is a nice venue, however, it is long from left to right of the stage and not so much as front to back. Meaning, you can see great from the back bar, but there is a chance you might not should you be too far left or right.

Late in the show there seemed to be a disturbance in the front that caused Ripper himself to eject a person from the crowd. On checking with some of the folks closer by I was told that this person who got ejected was doing some violent mosh dancing and was really hitting people in the face and starting problems. Ripper saw it from the stage mid-song and at the end had one of the rather large venue staff remove the problem. Moshing about is good since its part of metal, but don’t hit no one in the face or be an idiot if no one around you is doing it. Why get your dumb ass kicked out or worse yet be throttled by a bouncer. Not my idea of a good time.

Talk about getting a value filled set. The Iced Earth set alone was over two hours which was very impressive. I really think some of my favorite tunes were “Dracula”, “Something Wicked” and of course the selections from “TGB”. They really put their all into this show, and I hope some of it makes its way to some live recordings. Of course the main highlight of the night was the complete performance of “Gettysburg”. This number in three parts served as the encore (and of course that makes sense since the tunes run almost 30 minutes). However, the decided to give us one more and play “Iced Earth”, and then it was done. After the show, I walked about the venue were I was able to catch up with “Metal” Mike Chlasiak of Testament (formerly Halford) and Chris Caffery of Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra who were both in attendance. I said some hellos to find out what they were both up to. Each of these gents has something up their sleeves for the diehard metal fan. Mike doing a new CD with Testament, and Chris his solo CD and some new T.S.O. All in all, it was a great time for anyone who was in attendance and a show that I recommend anyone go to see for an evening of good solid heavy metal.

Iced Earth Set:
1. Star Spangled Banner intro:
2. Declaration Day
3. Burning Time
4. Vengeance Is Mine
5. Angels Holocaust
6. Violate
7. Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
8. Greenface
9. Red Baron/Blue Max
10. Dracula
11. When The Eagle Cries
12. My Own Savior
13. Prophecy
14. Birth Of The Wicked
15. Coming Curse
16. Gettysburg (Devil To Pay, Hold At All Costs, High Water Mark)
17. Iced Earth

Official Website: http://www.icedearth.com
Official Website: http://www.evergrey.net
Official Website: http://www.cobhc.com

Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of PiercingMetal.com and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.

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