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Apr 302013

Smashing Pumpkins unveil new stage at show in Melbourne, FLI was kind of hoping to see the LMG designed, projection mapped space orb with the art and graphics created by Sean Evans (Roger Waters’ The Wall), but the Smashing Pumpkins scrapped that along with playing Oceania in its entirety for this leg of the world tour. The new set up isn’t quite as magnificent, but the pyramid-like projection wall behind the band did its job to support the music.

The Pumpkins came out swinging with a gut-punching metal fest. “Zero,” a heavy, riffed-out version of “Starz,” and “Rhinoceros,” followed the opener, “Where Boys Fear to Tread.” “WBFTT” was very similar to the Mellon Collie tour version with a searing heavy metal intro:

A huge surprise as Billy dusted of “Rocket” for the Melbourne appearance:

The heaviness continued with fan favorite, “XYU”

Mainstream classics like “Tonight, Tonight” and “Disarm” were even given the heavy treatment. An Oceania suite or chunk of songs replaced playing the full album beginning with the title track:

One of the better new songs in concert proved to be “The Chimera” with an uptempo and dueling buzzsaw guitars:

Another fan favorite and Mellon Collie deep track, “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” closed out the night. It’s also a fan favorite for the Pumpkins to end on a soaring epic rather than a shorter, more popular song like “Today.” “Porcelina” is a newer setlist addition to this incarnation of the Pumpkins. If I’m not mistaken it didn’t appear until their SXSW appearance.

The mighty SP was super tight, fiercely loud, and heavy. Despite the ferociousness of the music, the band was lighthearted and giddy. Billy seems happy and unlike the past, the band is actually happy to be there too. The positivity is apparent in the music. When once shows were fueled by quarrels or Billy taking over the show himself, it now seems more like a band working together toward the same goal.


Private VIP Pre-Concert

They are doing these killer, uber-intimate pre-shows for those who can spare the change. I cannot. They busted out this sweet baby from Machina II (God I hope there is a reissue for that).


Apr 292013

RushI’m not the biggest Rush fan in the world, but as a metal, hard rock, alternative fan I can’t dismiss the gods of prog rock – especially with the chance to see them from a plush executive suite at the Amway Arena. Rush played with the true fans in mind. Here’s my definition of the true fan. I’m a casual fan. One of the guys in the box with me was “a big Rush fan,” but he was a 70s FM radio Rush fan. He knew the stories and urban legends, he has seen them 20 times, but he was getting hammered and waiting for all of their arena anthems. They let him down. But the true Rush fan, the ones that loved them in the beginning, and held on, appreciating where they were going through the 80s and early 90s were smiling ear to ear.

Rush came on around 7:30 an played until 11pm. The first set was a mix of more recent music like “Far Cry” from Snakes and Arrows and 80s cuts like “Grand Designs” from Power Windows and “Subdivisions” from 1982′s Signals. Next was a section highlighting their latest album, Clockwork Angels. They closed with a monster set that highlighted some deeper stuff from early Rush. No “Limelight,” no “Working Man,” not even a “Fly by Night” so as I said, fan boys were lovin’ it!


Now I feel corny recording “Tom Sawyer,” but I was actually holding out for “Limelight” and “Working Man” (remember, I’m just a casual fan):


Apr 132013

Anthrax performing at the House of Blues in Orlando without Scotty IanMetal fans at the House of Blues were greeted by four members of Anthrax around 9:40 pm to deliver some disheartening news. Frank and Joey disclosed that they had just left Scott Ian’s side at the hospital where he was diagnosed with food poisoning. Although Scotty’s night had gotten decidedly shitty, the rest of the guys were going to soldier on and give Orlando “the best god damn Anthrax show they could get.” Anthrax is a true band. They are not Anthrax without Joey. They don’t feel the same without Frank or Danny (although Dan’s successors have been phenomenal), they wouldn’t be the same band without Charlie, and they certainly couldn’t be Anthrax without the wicked, grinding crunch of founding member, Scotty’s rhythm guitar and stage banter, right? Sort of. Note: Some fans may differ, but I say this because I mostly tuned out during the non-Belladonna years.

I assumed that a guitar tech might fill in thunderous effect that Scott brings, but Shadows Fall shredder extraordinaire, Jon Donais, shouldered the load himself. The band was blistering and tight and so loud that they did a commendable job in the situation with such short notice. Fucking pros. As promised, they played Among the Living in its entirety (well, “Imitation of Life” wasn’t played), but not in sequence. I’m not sure if it was a last minute change due to Ian’s absence or if they’ve been doing it that way. Listening to the videos again it is more obvious that a guitar is missing than being drunk at the live show:

“I Am the Law”

They busted out “TNT” and Joey did a better-than-Bon-Scott Bon Scott from their collection of 70s arena jams titled Anthems

“Indians” Besides the 2-guitar assault, Scotty was missed during classic banter moments like the Waaaar Daaaaance!

“Got the Time” is one of my favorites. It’s so catchy that despite being hard and fast even non-metal fans can’t help but to like it:

“I’m the Man” is another one where Scott’s absence was glaring. The thick New York accent gives the rock/rap some cred and he is the yin to Frank’s yang on this one. They closed with a “drum solo/ I’m the Man / Antisocial” medley. At one point – somewhere between I’m the Man and Antisocial – people in the pit began vomiting in unison. I thought maybe Scotty was spreading the disease (get it?) from afar, but it was more likely the mixture of beer and exercise, but about 5 or 6 people began vomiting in close proximity of one another a la the pie eating contest in Stand By Me. Metal!!!!

Come to think of it, I don’t think Exodus played because Municipal Waste was before Anthrax. So Scott got sick and Exodus wasn’t even at this show.