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Road Reports

Artist: Black Label Society
Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square
Opener: Brand New Sin
Date: 10/26/2005
Label: Artemis Records
Promoter: unknown

Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society came to town tonight and it seemed as though the Nokia Theatre in Times Square would need to send out for a beer run. Opening the show was Brand New Sin, who I sadly missed most of. They sounded good from what I did see yet only seemed to do a 45 minute set. Snaring pictures would be impossible as there was terrible lighting and the group was not allowing flash photography. As I understand the group would be supporting their latest release on Century Media Records entitled “Recipe For Disaster”. It’s definitely the kind of group that was a perfect opener for BLS. I hope to be able to see them again or review some of their music if the means to do some becomes an option. There is a lot of good Rock and Roll to these guys and after their set lead singer Joe Altier was seen walking around the venue shaking hands and posing for pictures with fans. I always find that a cool thing to do when it is possible for the band to do it.

After a significant wait time due to Zakk running late it was time for the main event. He is one of the best guitar players in the Heavy Metal industry and has recorded an extensive body of work both on his own and with the Legendary Ozzy Osbourne. His set kicked off with “Fire It Up” from his new Artemis Records release “Mafia” and the performance tonight would feature a good number of songs from this album as well as an assortment from his past releases. The past year has found Zakk to be very vocal about the tragic loss of “Dimebag” who Wylde viewed as the Brother he never had. He had recorded a tribute video for his “In This River” song and also during the set would slow things down so he could reflect with the audience. He put his guitar aside and sat at a piano and performed that song and did an almost 20 minute tribute to the late shredder. It was indeed moving but I was not sure it was a great idea to do this as early in the set as he did. Bringing the momentum down that drastically should have been saved for later because Dime’s death hit a lot of Metal fans hard as well. After all, this person also shot down members of the audience and for a while I know people were spooked about even attending shows. It was great to see this tribute done because there was a real connection between Dime and Zakk and in that aspect it mattered a whole lot more. Zakk also invited members of the audience up on the stage for the performance of the song “Spoke In The Wheel”. He certainly has a connection to his fans and most of them are what he refers to as “Chapter Members”. Essentially each City is a Chapter and this ethic is held very strong by the people in the crowd. I guess this makes me a part of the Brooklyn Chapter or something like that – who knows. The members of BLS for the tour remain as Craig Nunenmacher on drums and 2nd guitarist Nick Catanese. Joining the group once again on bass is John Deservio who is replacing the space left by James Lomenzo who quit the band only a few months ago.

As much as I enjoy the music of BLS I think a lot of it follows the same groove lately and risks repetition. His new album while very interesting did not win me over 100%; and I felt that I liked “The Blessed Hellride” a little more. I also think the group needs to place less emphasis on the heavy alcohol use during a show. I have seen too many bad shows as a result of this from some other artists and I also worry about this influencing or gearing up of some of the crowd who can’t handle it or you don’t want geared up. BLS brings a lot of different folks to the shows and you never want to see any incidents start that ruin it for the rest of the audience. Otherwise it was a good time and I hope to see them once again. The set list is very incomplete as it was hard to write and take pics however these are some of the numbers performed in the almost 2 hour show.

Set List:
1. Fire It Up
2. Bleed For Me
3. In This River
4. Suicide Messiah
5. Spoke In The Wheel
6. Forever Down
7. Spread Your Wings
8. Stillborn
9. Blessed Hellride

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