Iced Earth @ Starland Ballroom (6/14/2004)

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Artist: Iced Earth
Venue: Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ)
Opener: Trivium & Beyond The Embrace
Label: SPV Records
Date: 6/14/2004

Normally I would not compose a review for a band that I had just seen very recently. However, this second chance to see Iced Earth perform had a few reasons for getting me to do it. As the Metal World knows by now, Drummer Richard Christy had left the band in the middle of the tour to focus on his interests in comedy. More specific for the Howard Stern radio program which is out of New York. He has since obtained the position, so congrats to him. Jumping into the drum chair was the incredible Bobby Jarzombek (formerly of Halford, Riot, & Pain Museum). Bobby had been in the band a few short weeks but he was a natural fit. Thunderous double bass drumming and solid fills were par for the course this evening. I even saw him providing extra backing vocals when it was needed. A welcome addition to this lineup in my humble opinion.

Jon Schaffer was also in top health once again. If you read my previous review, you will recall me mentioning that the last time I saw them he was suffering a violent stomach flu and he was ghostly white and barely finished the set. He literally looked like he would drop that evening and had to be given credit for making it through the night for the devoted fans in attendance. Also in peak form was Tim “Ripper” Owens. His vocals clearer and more powerful than ever. I half wondered if the PA system was just that much better than that of BB Kings. Perhaps it was or perhaps Ripper was that much more accustomed to the Iced Earth material than when I saw them. Either way, he was outstanding and joins the likes of Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, and similar screamers of note as one of the best the industry has to offer.

As the set played, I compared it to my notes from the last show. Not one number was added or removed. This is not a complaint for the Iced Earth set runs just over two hours. Clearly everyone got their moneys worth.

As an aside, I was annoyed to find out that I had missed Beyond The Embrace as I am enjoying their CD quite a bit. The venue informed me that they were to hit the stage at 8:45pm. We arrived at 9 and Trivium were just going on. As I mused that we would run later than expected that evening, I was told that Beyond had just finished their set. Trivium, while a tight outfit that seemed to go over well with the crowd failed to impress me. Perhaps it was my being annoyed at something I missed or it could be the fact that I felt it hard to discern them from too many of the new bands. They play well, but had stuff that sounded too much like everything else that is up and coming. Perhaps this will change on further listens. I will give them another shot should I see them opening again.

So if you don’t already have “The Glorious Burden” CD by Iced Earth go out and snare a copy as it is one of the finest pieces of Metal released in many months. It is probably their breakthrough album, so don’t be left behind to play catch up on it. The short tour appears to be over, so follow the band website for future appearances, you will not regret the decision to see them live. Trust me on this.

Before I go I want to talk about the venue. In my opinion, the Starland Ballroom was a treat for me to attend. It was my first time there and I made sure to take in as much of the place as possible. It offers a large area in front of the stage for fans to bang their heads or mosh if deemed necessary. Also, there are side areas where roomy levels allow for easy view of the performers. The spot where I stood had a bar which made it easier than wading the crowd with ones beverage. There was also a small side bar on each side of the floor that was kept very busy by the fans. The is a room with a pool table and the front entrance allows for a decent sized merchandise booth. When you combine that with the quality lighting rigs and excellent PA System you cannot go wrong. I look forward to returning, as some quality acts are hitting the place. Since L’Amour and the Birch Hill have closed down, it is good to have a place to go even though it is a 45 minute drive from my vicinity. Be sure to take a look at the place so you can make plans to visit if you should find yourself in the New York, New Jersey area.

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

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

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