On This Day in History

On this date in history in 1985, Part 1:
A van load of my friends and I traveled to our old stomping grounds, Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, to attend a show featuring Deep Purple and Girlschool. I wrote up a different version of this one for my personal facebook page, because my friends and I did some drinking at this particular show.
I’m not here to talk about that, though. This post is about my recollections of the performance, sound, and feelings I experienced during Deep Purple’s hall of fame worthy set.

Deep Purple Providence USA March 1985


I don’t have much to say about Girlschool, because we spent the majority of their set in the bar at the top of the arena. We could see them but the sound was pretty muffled. I have heard some of their music and read accounts that they were a solid band, so I’m guessing they represented themselves as rocking women in what was then a predominantly male world of hard rock.
We had descended into the arena prior to Deep Purple’s arrival, and as soon as the house lights went black and the crowd surged, roaring, to their collective feet, we were treated to a majestic display of British classic hard, bluesy, progressive ROCK!
Purple were flag waving proponents of the “Everything louder than everything else” sound design.
Ian Paice’s drums were cannon shots, Roger Glover’s bass was thunderous, Jon Lord’s keyboards, particularly his Hammond B3 organ, filled the sonic spectrum with magic, Ritchie Blackmore’s Fender Stratocasters had godly tone and he played like a man possessed.
All of this was topped off by Ian Gillan’s amazing voice as he sang all the classics, including Highway Star, Space Truckin’, Knocking At Your Back Door, and of course everyone’s first song to attempt on a guitar, Smoke On The Water. All in all, a totally glorious time. It has been said before, but I must say it here…Deep Purple play one LOUD concert!
On this date in history, Part 2:
Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Shadows Fall, and Sworn Enemy converged on the new home of the Indiana Pacers, which at that time was called Conseco Fieldhouse.
This one happened in 2005 and it was a killer show. Sworn Enemy started the proceedings with a quick set that rocked solidly and set the pace for all that would follow. Each band knew what it was leading up to and brought out the best in each other.
Shadows Fall were next, and I remember being fascinated with the visual of lead singer Brian Fair windmilling his nearly floor length dreadlocks. Watching those thick ropes of hair spinning like a crazed helicopter blade made of human hair was quite a sight to see! His vocals were great, too…and the band threw down with a vengeance! Their lead guitarist, Jonathan Donais, is with Anthrax now and I just saw them recently, and he just keeps getting better and better. He was certainly shredding on that night in ’05.
The band I was most excited to see was up next…the mighty Lamb Of God. As soon as they took the stage everything noticeably kicked up several notches in intensity. Randy Blythe’s manic stage presence and demonic howls and growls were laser sharp and the band was airtight, executing the complex riffs and breakdowns with ferocious precision.

Lamb Of God – Omerta (Live 2005)


Nothing any of the other bands did was going to upstage the outrageous nine headed beast known as Slipknot. The madmen from Iowa bring the 3 ring circus from hell with them every time and the stage is just full of chaos during their entire time on stage. It is pure sensory overload and even without all the spectacle, they have produced some songs that have become anthems for their fan base, the notoriously named “Maggots!”
Short of an Ozzfest or Mayhem, this was undoubtedly one of the heavier package shows I had seen up to that time, featuring 4 bands with their own styles that definitely blended quite well on that night.

Slipknot – Before I Forget 2005


Written By Braddon S. Williams

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