Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rock On!

I saw this in the window of the theatre by my work and it made me smile.

Last night Black Sabbath rolled into Fresno. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a head banger from way back. Yes during the 80’s I was a heavy metal fool. Of course you can only go so far with the head banging in Fresno. Not too many tours come this way. Fresno is just not a big event town. That’s why we don’t have any pro sports teams and most headliners don’t schedule us though lately that has been changing.

Back in the day, THE place to see shows was Selland Arena.

I remember seeing Iron Maiden there. What a great time. Of course the pickings were slim so I also had to see Def Leppard there. Surprisingly I enjoyed the Def Lep show even though I was never into the pop metal bands. I also saw YES and INXS at the arena. Of course this was about 20 years ago.

These days, I am almost 40 and the last concert I went to was about six years ago at the much smaller Warnor’s Theatre. The band was Tesla.

So it was with great pleasure that I found out that Black Sabbath was coming to town. Well a version of Black Sabbath anyway. Technically the band is called Heaven and Hell and features the classic line up from the Mob Rules era of Black Sabbath. Something about Black Sabbath being associated with Ozzy Osbourne in the line up as opposed to Ronnie James Dio. I didn’t care because I love me some Sabbath and I did not want to miss the chance to see Tony Iommi live.

I also took the chance to get some bonding time with son number two, Frank. I talked about Rob earlier. Frank is younger and while Rob shares a lot of tastes with his Mom, Frank likes some of the music of my youth and he tagged along with me. Yay!

Actually the first thing we noticed when we got to the arena was that a LOT of us old guys were dragging their kids along to the show. Check this out.

This guy brought his wife and three little kids along. How cool is that? Especially when the little kids were wearing their tiny Black Sabbath T-Shirts. As we entered the arena, the theme was repeated over and over. A lot of times, whenever we saw a young boy walking past us, close behind would inevitably be an older version of the boy in the form of his dad. I guess a lot of guys my age had the same idea I did. We get to see some Sabbath and include the younger generation.

The show was good. There were three bands on the bill and the first was Queensryche. There was a time when Queensryche was my favorite band but they kind of went the Metalica route and started slowing done and getting tamer after the Empire Album. I had seen them once before and they put on a good show again playing sings from most of their albums. Next up was Alice Cooper. Gawd I hate Alice Cooper but his show started off very strong with three rockers, including No More Mr. Nice Guy and 18. Then the crap started with Alice and his theatrics. So Lame! In this phase of the show, Alice witnesses a satanic baby being born so he takes it upon himself to kill the baby. For killing the baby he is hung by a rope mid-stage. Looked just so silly. Bad acting and worse effects. How exactly did he manage to get by doing this for 30 years?

Heaven and Hell took the stage at last and Frank and I were in Sabbath ecstasy. It was exactly what you want mood-wise from a Sabbath concert. Long heavy songs with cool lighting effects. Totally rocked. Of course the big downside was that they only played songs from the three Black Sabbath albums that they recorded with Ronnie James Dio. No “Iron Man’, no “Paranoid”, no “War Pigs” and especially, no “Black Sabbath”. Oh well. Maybe when they pull thorough California with Ozzy.

This was easily the tamest concert I ever went to. The first time I saw Iron Maiden (with opening act The Vinnie Vincent Invasion no less) we almost got into a knife fight with some stoners on the arena floor. For this concert, the worst behavior I saw was a guy openly smoking a joint in the restroom filled with about 30 men.

Next up:It's Halloween so I show you how to make a squid hat.

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