Venue: Jones Beach Theater (Wantaugh, NY)
Opener: Anthrax and Crobot
Label: Universal Music
When the announcement came that the mighty Motorhead would be doing a summer closing show at Jones Beach Theater I knew that I had to be there because it has been a super long time since I have seen the band in action. Another concern of mine was based on Lemmy showing some seriously scary health issues that have been halting events and keeping the band off the road every now and again for the last year or so. Personally speaking I did feel that Jones Beach Theater was a strange choice of venue for this show that paired “Team Lemmy” with Anthrax and would find support from Crobot because I had seen Slayer with King Diamond here not too long ago and the attendance was marginal if you could even say that. One would hope that with this being the only regional show for New York before the band was off to their Motorboat Cruise that the masses would assemble. When I arrived to the Jones Beach parking lot there were not a whole lot of cars yet and I just assumed that most were getting here for the beginning of Anthrax set. Here we go.
Crobot: Adding to my overall show excitement tonight was the fact that the band Crobot was opening up the shows on this tour. Now I’ve heard the name for a couple of years but for some reason or another I just have not yet managed to catch them in action. I was glad that this was going to end tonight so I could see what some other journalistic friends were all generating the buzz about. The band is a four piece and fronted by Brandon Yeagley who comes off as a modern day hippy rocker from the days of old. Sonically the band has a dirty groove to them and the vibe is like a Psychedelic Riff Rock band when it comes down to it. I had to say that they were really solid in sound and knew their stuff on the stage when it came to rocking out with each other. The bassist performed like a man possessed and you would have thought that he was performing inside a packed to the doors Madison Square Garden and when preacher man vocalist Brandon spoke to you the folks that were wise enough to arrive early were surely being entertained. I would definitely like to catch them again if the means allow and while I know they are a part of the upcoming “Food Truck and Rock Carnival” I am not yet sure I have cleared the necessary credentials to get you the closest and most accurate narrative. Now it was time for Anthrax and of course with that being the case more of the Metal faithful had gotten into place but still when I looked around it was not what I was anticipating.
Anthrax: It wasn’t all that long ago that I saw Anthrax as the last and most recent time was when they came through NYC and hit The Hammerstein Ballroom supporting Volbeat. Come to think of it that show was supported by Crobot but I missed their set based on the early start time. That was a fantastic show and believe it or not some of the fans only remained for Volbeat and then split after Anthrax had finished. What a waste of a good concert ticket price but I digress; so here we are on the beautiful beachfront getting ready to be musically thrashed by long time masters of the craft. Before they came out the Black Sabbath Dio years tune “Mob Rules” blasted across the PA and as it ended I expected the band to hit the stage but there was yet more intro theme music. Honestly this is time that could have given the fans an additional song and since I was reading how only “9” tunes made up their show on this tour felt that cutting additional intro stuff would have been a better idea. They would open up with “Madhouse” which had everyone singing along to and then it was no nonsense into “Caught In A Mosh”. What I observed a lot clearer tonight was just how psyched up Frankie Bello gets during his shows. Man does this musician love being a part of Anthrax and for him it seems to be a thrill ride night after night. I’ve seen the band on so many occasions but with tonight’s show I really took notice as to how much energy he had and was putting out there. Charlie Benante remains one of my very favorite Metal drummers because it is just a force behind those Tamas and so precise with beat after beat.
I had to chuckle since I could see this very clearly based on my vantage point. Charlies drums not only had a reworked Starbucks design to the shells but his bass drum heads displayed a painting of “Goodfellas” on one kick and the band members on the other one. It was pretty cool and quite detailed from what I could see. You should be able to make this out as well in several of my photographs so do take a look. Singer Joey was on point and sounding better and better. It’s amazing that so much of his sonic register has managed to have been kept because it is not easy with material that requires the pipes that is does. The downside of an Anthrax support set is that the band tends to play it safe by offering up mostly standards that the fans see over and over and while some of the fans don’t care it’s the ones that long for deeper cuts. I guess “Medusa” applies as a deep cut so I was happy for that one and with the stellar cover of Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” we were all reminded of the late great Ronnie James Dio. Of course they would follow this with “In The End” and during this tune heavy homage was paid to both Dio and “Dimebag”. For some reason the song felt longer than usual but perhaps I was just imagining things. Since there was seating in most parts of the arena the smaller general admission corral was where you needed to be as the final tune “Indians” led us into the finish of the Anthrax set. Once again a solid experience from the Bronx boys but as mentioned one with very few surprises. I know they are also on this carnival event bill so perhaps some difference will be offered up then since it’s going to be catering to a lot of the same people.
Motorhead: It was now the moment of Metal truth for those assembled in Jones Beach Theater. I say it like this because the past couple of weeks of reports all around the Interwebs had cited how Lemmy was in bad health and either cancelling gigs before they happened or was walking offstage after a few numbers saying it was just too much for him to handle. I sure as hell didn’t want that to happen this evening but of course I felt that the musician’s health should be his paramount of concerns whether he has a gig obligation or not. That being said the lights went down and out he walked. Perhaps a little slower in step but still his rallying cry of “we are Motorhead and we play Rock and Roll” got the crowd yelling as loud as they could as they thundered into the opening number “Bomber”. Now with Lemmy being the vocalist there is not a lot of running about on stage where he is concerned and with the health stuff I felt that it was better he was in one place anyway. “Stay Clean” has always been a favorite tune of mine so I was happy that they rumbled into this one as the second tune and as it completed guitarist Campbell came over and held Lemmy’s arm up over his head like a champion fighter would have happen at the close of a match. For me this felt weird but I did feel that Lemmy seemed weaker than he had been observed on other show occasions. Hey these health things can knock the wind out of you and he apparently had a lung infection of some kind and that is no fun at all speaking as someone who has had bouts of bronchitis over the years.
Lemmy was not really making much conversation and the set list did appear to be on the shorter side with both a drum and guitar solo in its mix. There is a lot of “the same” being done in a Motorhead show set like the Anthrax one as some songs can just never be out of the repertoire and while I loved the inclusion of “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” had to laugh a little when he chided the audience about “Doctor Rock” from “Orgasmatron”, an album he said you all scream for but nobody bought it. “Doctor Rock” also leads us into a thunderous drum solo by Mikkey Dee who has been the Motorhead drummer for longer than anyone else at this point and he is just a monster who impresses me again and again. It’s all solid and steady and super-duper heavy. Truly he is the perfect drummer for such a band and Lemmy always says after he is done that he is the best drummer in the world in his eyes. The interesting thing was how the band was on tour supporting their “Bad Magic” album and yet there was nothing being played from the release at this show. I found that to be very weird but since Lemmy was really looking knocked out from being sick I guess the best plan was to deliver the essentials and get the hell out of there. The two works prior to the new one got some love in “Lost Woman Blues” and “Just Cos You Got The Power” but the rest of the set would be aimed at the iconic tracks of “No Class”, “Ace Of Spades” (which is one of the best Metal songs ever) and the closing one of “Overkill”. Nice work Lemmy now please get some rest.
Closing up I have to be completely honest and say that I do think it’s time that Lemmy sits back and rests on his laurels. His health is not worth risking on the road and maybe the band should ease up on a heavy touring itinerary after the cruise happens in a few weeks. I love my Motorhead tunes for sure but I don’t want to see anything happening to Lemmy before it’s supposed to and I think that he has given the Metal Legions his all for many decades and deserves to chill out and make the occasional guest appearance and record more music. The greater issue I had about the show overall was the complete lack of support that it seemed to get in this region. There appeared to be less in number than the abysmal “Mayhem Fest” from the summer and yes some people balked that it was in Long Island and a pain in the butt to get to but if I can take a three-hour trek out to support one of Metals true leaders then so can more of you. Let’s hope that Lemmy continues to be on the mend and in best of health so many more years of his music can be enjoyed in this fashion. I think the tour has a week or so more dates before they head off to the cruise and thought I heard Scott Ian say that this was their final night of the tour but I could have been mistaken. I know they are also doing the cruise so those of you who are doing the carnival as well get a triple dose of mosh.
Full Motorhead Photo Gallery: http://piercingmetal.com/motorhead-live-photos-jones-beach-theater-9162015/
Anthrax Set List:
2. Caught in a Mosh
3. Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
4. Antisocial (Trust cover)
5. Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
7. Neon Knights (Black Sabbath cover)
8. In the End
Motorhead Set List:
2. Stay Clean
4. Over the Top
5. Guitar Solo
6. The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
7. Rock It
8. Lost Woman Blues
9. Doctor Rock (with Drum Solo)
10. Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
11. No Class
12. Ace of Spades