On this date in history, 7/31/1982, I traveled to Fort Wayne, IN, to see Van Halen at the Colliseum. This venue struck me as a smaller version of Market Square Arena in Indy. What was funny was that Van Halen apparently brought the same amount of equipment and this show was LOUD! Once again, they remained true to form and had a terrible opening act…After The Fire. I don't have the interest or the time to describe how boring and incompatible with Van Halen they actually were, so please just take my word for it. Van Halen had released the Diver Down album a few months prior to this show, and their cover of "Pretty Woman" was riding high on the charts. VH now had 5 albums of material to choose from and their set was full of stellar songs, solos, death defying Roth screams, and soaring Michael Anthony harmonies. On the night of this show, apparently David Lee Roth took it upon himself to do a little pre-show drinking. Either that, or he just developed some extreme song lyric amnesia. Whatever the case, the lyrics were forgotten during many songs, but whenever it happened, Dave just let out a monstrous scream and grinned that trademark grin of his, and everything was alright. Even on a night where mistakes were made, the charisma and talent in this band were completely unstoppable.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/31/2003, Ozzfest hit Deer Creek with a less than stellar overall lineup, but redeemed by a few above average performances. This version of the Oz man's yearly metal roadshow included Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Chevelle, Cradle Of Filth, Voivod, Nothingface, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Twisted Method, Hotwire, Memento, Motograter, Chimaira, Depswa, Grade 8, Sworn Enemy, Endo, and Unloco. Most of the second stage bands were average to below average with a few exceptions. Sworn Enemy stood out from the pack early on. Chimaira were making their debut on the tour that day and played with some fire that was much appreciated. Motograter were pretty good, all painted up and angry. Their singer would reappear a few years later fronting Five Finger Death Punch, so it kind of pains me to give him props, but I actually enjoyed Motograter's set. 3 crappy bands in a row followed them and then things got much better. Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Nothingface all played killer sets, energizing a crowd starved for quality mosh inducing madness. Voivod were much anticipated due to Jason Newsted's status as the former Metallica bass player. Unfortunately, Jason didn't really help their music, which was just not Ozzfest prime grade. Not to say they were bad, just not what the crowd was in the mood for. Cradle Of Filth headlined the second stage with a magnificent display of style and substance. Dani Filth alternately shrieked and let forth unearthly growls, leading his demonic accomplices in sonic terror through an hour's worth of spooky fun. As the show moved to the big stage I rested through Chevelle and Disturbed, just not a fan of either of those bands. Marilyn Manson took charge when he hit the stage and delivered one of the best sets of the entire concert. Korn followed and held serve, delivering the thunderous bass and quirky guitar riffs that that got the crowd jumping. Ozzy closed things out with help from Zakk Wylde, Jason Newsted (much more suited to Ozzy's songs) and Mike Bordin (Faith No More). It was always a joy to watch bands from beginning level up through the high tech spectacle of the Korns and Mansons of the world, and then top the whole thing off with the immortal Ozzy, bridging the years of his Black Sabbath and solo careers and entertaining us with his ever enthusiastic stage antics.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/31/2005, Ozzfest returned to Deer Creek with a much stronger overall lineup than the one on the same date from exactly 2 years before, with one notable exception…this one had no Ozzy! The bands at this version of the tour featured Iron Maiden, Mudvayne, Shadows Fall, Black Label Society, In Flames, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Mastodon, A Dozen Furies, Bury Your Dead, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Arch Enemy, It Dies Today, Soilwork, Gizmachi, and Wicked Wisdom. Wicked Wisdom were the opening band, and as it always happened, they were done before we could pass the annual body search by security to gain entrance to the venue. Wicked Wisdom was fronted by actress Jada Pinket-Smith (wife of Will Smith) and also featuring the drummer Fish from Fishbone. I had hoped to see them, but to no avail…thanks, security! Another female fronted band, the incredible Arch Enemy, were my first big highlight of the day. They killed it with great songs, blazing lead guitar work and the amazing Angela Gossow on vocals. Trivium, The Black Dahlia Murder, and The Haunted kept the intensity up, weighing in with blistering sets full of energy and technical brutality. Bury Your Dead hit the stage with their metalcore energy and during one song we found ourselves looking at a couple of movie stars as Will Smith (yes, THAT Will Smith!) and Jada Pinket-Smith joined the band for some backup vocals. Seeing Will Smith on an Ozzfest stage in a wife-beater t-shirt and seemingly enjoying every moment was a truly surreal moment. A Dozen Furies were up next. They had earned a spot on the tour by winning the contest on the reality show "Battle For Ozzfest." They were quite good, too, with youthful exuberance and obviously delighted to be on the best tour around at that time. Mastodon raised the bar several notches with their incredible set. I noticed that seemingly every band member from all the other second stage bands were crowded together on the side of the stage to witness Mastodon's performance. They were obviously the buzz band of the tour and the accolades were well earned and well deserved. As I Lay Dying couldn't match the Mastodon intensity, but were still pretty good. Killswitch Engage played an outrageously entertaining, high velocity set and paved the way for a totally stripped down, bare basics performance from Rob Zombie to close out the second stage. Zombie proved he can get by on the power of his music, his superb band, and his own larger than life charisma. I didn't get to see In Flames because I nearly succumbed to heat stroke, so I had to take shelter and re-hydrate myself to get ready for Black Label Society. The Zakk attack was a must for me. His playing, singing, and the whole BLS thing is a very appealing sound for me and so many others. Shadows Fall and Mudvayne played great sets, and then it was finally time for me to see the majestic Iron Maiden for the first time in my life. Up the Irons indeed…just a spectacular performance from top to bottom. They stuck to songs from their first 4 albums, and Bruce Dickinson proved why he is one of the premier singers in all of metal's history. Of course, he has the 3 guitar army of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers, plus the incredible rhythm section of Steve Harris on bass and Nicko McBrain on drums, to build all those iconic Maiden songs on top of. It would have been nice to have some Ozzy to follow Iron Maiden, but that isn't even a complaint. This show was golden and will always remain an incredible set of memories.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Braddon S Williams

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/31/2010, the Mayhem Festival touched down on Deer Creek soil to fulfill our metal thirst with another edition of the annual metal showcase. This tour featured, Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb Of God, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Hatebreed, Atreyu, Chimaira, 3 Inches Of Blood, Shadows Fall, Winds Of Plague, X-Factor 1, and Norma Jean. To the best of my recollections, Norma Jean were in the middle of their set when we made it to the second stage area, and they were throwing down with a vengeance. Winds Of Plague impressed me by managing to be pretty brutal even with keyboards. Shadows Fall killed it, as they always do, Brian Fair swinging his floor length dreads in a windmill motion that is a mesmerizing sight to see. I truly hope they return from hiatus one of these days to make some new music and tour again. I didn't stick around for 3 Inches Of Blood. I heard part of their first song and just wasn't feeling it. Too much effort trying to sound like Rob Halford with the high screams. Hatebreed got bodies in motion in the pit, with Jamey Jasta barking out his empowering lyrics over the crushing power of his band's bludgeoning riff machine. In This Moment's Maria Brink pulled off a really cool trick by walking out to the sound tent and then coaxing the crowd to stage a massive circle pit that rotated around the tent in a colossal frenzy. It was quite a sight to behold. Maria and the band played a great set and earned their headliner status. Lamb Of God crushed us with a massively powerful main stage massacre of a set. Then Rob Zombie unleashed his trademark spectacularly sinful spooktacular show, anchored by a band that included the guitar athletics of John 5, and the sick drumming of Joey Jordison (on load from Slipknot at that time). Korn brought it all to a close with a stage set that even topped Zombie's…no easy feat! Mayhem made me happy by continuing the legacy laid down by Ozzfest. Now, all we need is a new festival to pass the torch to the next generation of metalheads!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1976, I saw my very first rock concert. This was my Pandora's Box, the one that started a lifelong obsession. The show was at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN, and featured Kiss, Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band, and Artful Dodger. My father drove me and a couple of my friends there and back, seeing as how we were all 14 years old at the time. Tickets were $6.50 to see Kiss and Seger…seems like science fiction, right? I have so many memories from that first show. The general atmosphere inside the smoke filled arena (with the No Smoking sign on the giant scoreboard suspended from the ceiling, barely readable through the haze…and not all of it was cigarette smoke!), the sight of all those people, rock fans just like my friends and I (we were part of a movement…a tribe!), and the folks passing around a joint and offering it to us kids. Believe it or not, we politely declined…that time! When the lights went out and Artful Dodger hit that stage, I just grinned and let the music wash over me. I didn't know any of their songs, but it was gloriously loud, electric, and exciting. When Bob Seger and his Bullet Band followed, it got even better. Seger was touring in support of his incredible 'Live' Bullet album, and Night Moves was right around the corner. There was a palpable feeling that this band were already headliners. "Katmandu", "Turn The Page", and "Travelin' Man" were all superb. I distinctly remember Bob's sax player, the wonderfully named Alto Reed, standing atop the massive stack of PA speakers and wailing away on a solo on his shining golden horn. As great as Seger was, my buddies and I were on a holy mission to see our heroes, Kiss. I was literally transfixed by the sight of the larger than life (7 inch platform boots made them seem impossibly tall) superstars of my musical universe. From Gene Simmons breathing fire and vomiting stage blood during his bass solo, to Ace Frehley shooting sparks from the headstock of his Les Paul, to Paul Stanley's strutting, preening rock stud shtick, to Peter Criss bashing away on his huge chrome plated drum kit, this performance is indelibly tattooed on my teenage brain. Kiss had just released Destroyer, the album that (along with Kiss Alive the previous year) made nearly every young male rock fan in the country want to enlist in the Kiss Army! This show changed my life. This is where it all began. Thank you, Kiss and Bob Seger…and even Artful Dodger, for making my first time an event of a lifetime!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1988, I saw Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses play a devastating show of hard rock brilliance at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. GNR were riding the insane wave of popularity surrounding their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, and word in the arena prior to the show was that the upstart Guns were set to blow Aerosmith off the stage. This did not happen, but not for lack of effort by Axl Rose and company. At this time, they were still the original 5 piece classic lineup of the band, and they were phenomenal. The energy, the attitude, the songs, everything coalesced into this massively dangerous rock n' roll entity. Axl and Slash were the latest in a prestigious line of singers and lead guitarists that included Mick & Keith, Robert & Jimmy, David Lee & Eddie, and let's not forget Steven & Joe, but more about them in just a minute. As I was saying, Axl and Slash lit it up and had the ravenous crowd in the palms of their hands. At one point, Axl made an impassioned speech about how Aerosmith was one of the only bands that Guns would consider opening for. Aerosmith's bad boy past reputation had paved the way for the new poster children of decadence, and this speech was a great acknowledgement of that fact. After their blazing performance, Aerosmith had no choice but to bring it on full steam ahead, and that is precisely what they did. Steven Tyler galloped around the circular ramp that went up and around the drum set 3 times in a row at top speed, riding his microphone stand like a horse during the beginning of the opening song, and never slowed down for the rest of his time on stage. Joe Perry showed no signs of being intimidated by Slash's playing, unleashing his own sneering attack on a variety of prime axes. While Guns had just one (albeit fantastic) album of songs, Aerosmith had a vault of them and used it to great advantage. All in all, it was a clinic on how American rockers can throw down the jams. Hats off to Aerosmith for bringing along the hottest band on the scene at that time and letting them bring out the best in the headliners.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1992, a friend and I traveled to Illinois to check out Lollapalooza '92, at a venue that was a lot like our Deer Creek in Noblesville, but I don't recall the name of the place. The show itself included The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Lush, and The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. The first band that we heard was Pearl Jam, for some odd reason playing early in the afternoon. Regardless, they blazed like they should have headlined the show, with Eddie Vedder's manic energy transferring to both his band mates and the entire audience. Soundgarden brought the same intensity to their superb set, blasting through cuts from their Badmotorfinger album with savage intensity. During one song they were joined by Woody Weatherman from Corrosion Of Conformity and another highlight was when they covered "Cop Killer", the controversial song from Ice T's metal band, Body Count. I vividly remember Chris Cornell getting the whole capacity crowd to chant "Fuck the police" over and over during key moments of the song. Ice Cube followed this with a solid set of his gangsta rap solo material. He also utilized the power of the crowd, getting us to repeatedly yell "Fuck you Ice Cube" to hilarious effect. He played on the fact that he was the odd man out and actually won many of us over with his enthusiastic stage persona. Ministry brought their industrial metal insanity with frightening precision, accompanied by volcanic mosh pits and a mini-sod war that was quickly dispelled by Ministry's leader, Al Jourgensen, who informed us that he would be paid even if we managed to stop the show by ruining the soundboard. We stopped and the show went on. The Red Hot Chili Peppers ended the show with a funky flourish, bringing the crowd to a dancing, bouncing, joyful fever. Anthony Kiedis and Flea led the way, with new guitarist Arik Marshall taking the role of the "standing still guy", but playing really excellent guitar. Chad Smith kept the beats on the funky side and the band closed the show with a barrage of hits. A great show filled with a lot of diversity and magical performances, well worth the road trip.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History