Monday, February 19, 2018

BLS in Calgary

Last Saturday night was a big night for metal in Calgary, with Sabaton returning to The Palace and Black Label Society playing at the University of Calgary. I already had a ticket for BLS before I was aware Sabaton would be in town, but I saw Joakim and the boys from Falun last year, so I was happy with my choice. BLS had Eyehategod and freakin' Corrosion of Conformity opening for them. I would've paid to see CoC as a headliner. Sadly, I missed pretty much all of Eyehategod's set waiting in line to get through security. That's what you have to put up with when you take in a show at the U. Nonetheless, the rest of the show was amazing.

Fronted by the immortal Pepper Keenan, CoC played a solid set that leaned heavily on their classic albums from the 90s. I especially enjoyed Vote with a Bullet, Albatross and Who's Got the Fire. Now I'm really hoping for that on-again, off-again Down reunion.

Then it was time for Black Label Society, with frontman and guitar god, Zakk Wylde.

Zakk Wylde is an absolute madman, pounding his chest and his guitar in equal measure. BLS played for over two hours with many songs bleeding into one another such that at times you weren't sure what they were playing. The set combined songs from their new album Grimmest Hits with an excellent selection of older stuff, especially from the albums 1919 Eternal, The Blessed Hellride and Mafia. It was at times poignant, such as the performance of In this River in tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell. Other times, it was sheer madness, especially when Zakk went on a ten minute guitar solo playing Fire It Up while walking through the crowd with a train of roadies following behind him carrying his audio cable aloft. The virtuosity of this man cannot be overstated. He is arguably the greatest heavy metal guitarist in the world today. Great show and one more thing off my bucket list!


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