The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Mercyful Fate/Kreator/Midnight, Atlanta, GA, November 16, 2022

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Mercyful Fate played Dallas on the opening night of their current tour a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately work got in the way. Things loosened up a bit and I decided to catch the final show of the tour in Atlanta and I’m glad I did.

I’d seen enough clips from the tour to see that King was on his game, especially for a 66 year old. On recent King Diamond tours he’d been using a female backup singer to help with the higher notes but apparently she wasn’t needed for this.

After an hour or so delay leaving Austin, we’re off to Atlanta on an east flight. A quick walk to the MARTA rail and I was off to my hotel which was a block off of the rail stop and a block from the venue. Perfect.

Doors were at 6 and around 5 I grabbed dinner at a little steakhouse between the venue and hotel. The burger was meh but the asparagus was good.

Once collecting my ticket at will call, I went straight into The Tabernacle. It’s an old church that’s been converted into a music venue. This place was great. I went downstairs to the basement to glance at the merch and grab a drink. The line was long so I went back upstairs to see Midnight.

The room sounded great and Midnight put on another great show. I’ve seen them a few times this year already with the last time being the night before the Fate tour started. No surprises.

Kreator was up next. I’m not a huge fan in general and only watched their last few songs. During their set I met up with some old friends and jumped in the merch line to hang out.

After Kreator finished, I moved up a little closer and waited for Fate to come on. They opened with The Oath and Corpse Without Soul and sounded fantastic. Their new single, The Jackal of Salzburg, was next. It was ok but I’d definitely need some more listens. The rest of the set never went past Don’t Break the Oath and they never deviated from the same list for the whole short tour. It would have been cool to hear some stuff from In the Shadows but oh well. The band was fantastic, too. Of course Hank Shermann and Mike Wead are beastly guitarists and fill-in bassist Becky was fantastic. My only issue was with the drummer. The dude is a total badass but was not doing some of the cool Kim Ruzz licks that I feel are signature things on those old Fate songs. No matter, I thoroughly enjoyed the set.

After the show I hung out with the Midnight guys. We went backstage for a “dummy check” to make sure they had all of their stuff and as we were leaving, I got scolded by Fate’s security for being back there without a pass. We were already on our way out, relax Ricky.

Rodney, Midnight’s road dog and merch guy, was staying in the same hotel so we went back and snoozed for a few hours before meeting up on the lobby at 5AM. Ugh. We both had 8AM flights. We jumped on the train and headed to the airport where I am writing this from. It was busy but we got through pretty quickly.

It was a short but great trip with no regrets. If/when Fate tours again, go. You won’t be disappointed.

Written by The Metal Files

November 18, 2022 at 3:47 pm

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WASP/Michael Schenker/Armored Saint, Dallas, TX, November 5, 2022

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As you may have seen and heard, WASP didn’t play. I’ll get to that later.

When this tour was announced, I had 2 viable options to see it…San Antonio and Dallas. My friend Lisa and I decided that we wanted to do the Dallas show so I grabbed tickets for us.
I’ve seen both Armored Saint and Schenker several times in recent years but haven’t seen WASP since 2000 at Jaxx in Springfield, VA. That was an awful show as Blackie was lip synching the whole time and all bass and rhythm guitars were canned. It really left a bad impression. Prior to that show I had only seen the Crimson Idol tour, which was incredible. I was super excited to catch them this time and the setlist looked good, although doing medleys is annoying to me.

On the day of the show a group of us headed up to Dallas for the easy ride and got checked into our hotel. We had a view of the venue and saw that a huge line had already been forming. We had VIP balcony tickets so I didn’t worry too much about trying to wait in that line.
Around 7 we walked over and got right in and went upstairs. While it wasn’t packed up there at all, we determined pretty quickly that if you didn’t have a spot right on the rail, you were going to be able to see anything…NOTHING. Ugh. Worst sight lines ever.

We squeezed Lisa into a spot so she could see and I just hung back and listened to the Armored Saint deliver another quality show. They are so fucking good.

Schenker was up next and as expected, he was great. He’s in his 67 and still shreds. The singer and the band were perfect. During Schenker’s set, I saw a Fire Marshall walk through the balcony with a counter in his hand. The downstairs area in front of the stage and the side patio areas were packed in like sardines. No question in my mind that they had oversold and seeing the Fire Marshall there confirmed that. In my head I thought that we’d not see WAS, but I wanted to stay positive.

While waiting for WASP to come on, Armored Saint’s Jeff Duncan strolled the balcony and seemed to try to be a bit incognito. As he passed by me, I said, “Got a minute to say hello to an old friend?” He smiled and hung out with me and another of his friends from the 80s for a bit. As we were standing there, he got a text from someone in Armored Saint that said, “WASP isn’t playing. Over capacity.” He quickly said his goodbyes and headed back to the backstage area as he didn’t want to get caught up in the mess that was about to happen.

It was getting to be 11PM at this point and being an outside venue, I figured there was a 12PM curfew on shows. No way were they going to get on and play a shortened set. Then all of the lights came on and an announcement came on through the PA. People were understandably livid and disappointed. They said we’d receive full refunds but I have my doubts.
The venue had also been selling $10 tickets leading up to the show and just recently started charging for parking. Sounds like they were trying to make up the deficit of booking an expensive show in contrast to the ticket prices and capacity. The promoter, the venue and WASP all have a responsibility in this. Based on the other much larger venues they had been booked in, this place was far too small to handle such a show. Not that it really matters, but I can’t see myself ever attending another show there. I heard a ton of horror stories about that place that night and it all made sense.

We were all pretty disappointed but life goes on. Lisa and I are considering flying out to another show on the tour as we both really want to see WASP. We just went back to the hotel, had a couple of drinks, some pizza and played some dice games for the rest of the night. Overall it was a great trip with great friends, but it could’ve been just a bit better. Fuck that venue in general.


Written by The Metal Files

November 7, 2022 at 12:01 pm

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Elton John, San Antonio, TX, October 29, 2022

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Concert season is upon us and everyone is on tour, including Elton John; but his run is coming to an end. He said “that’s it, I’m done and want to spend time with my family” and rightfully so. He’s 75.

My love for Elton’s music goes back about as far as I can remember thanks to my brother Robert (RIP) who was a big fan and used to spin Goodbye Yellow Brick Road all of the time when we were kids. He was 6 years older than me and really influenced my musical tastes at a very young age. He died in 2012 and I miss him more and more in recent years.

When tickets went on sale for this show seemingly years ago, I didn’t want to wait until the last minute nor did I want to be in the stands, so I paid the price and got pretty decent floor seats, but I did poor planning on getting a date for the show. Fortunately at the last minute my friend Stephanie accepted my offer and drove up from the valley to accompany me for the show.

She was running behind schedule because of traffic etc and we decided it was best just to meet up in San Antonio and head to the show from there. As we got close to the Alamodome, traffic was stacked up trying to find parking. To be honest it was a total shitshow. We were able to find a lot a few blocks away from the venue but it was a pain in the ass just trying to get to it. Once parked, we got our stuff together and walked to the venue. The line to get into the floor area was ridiculously long and by the time we got to our seats, Elton was just starting. I was relieved to just get in there on time.

I had watched some recent vids of the show on YouTube recently and to be honest the show seemed a bit dry and by the numbers…in person that ended up not being the case.

He opened the show with Bennie and the Jets and Philadelphia Freedom (I never cared for that song). His voice sounded great and the band was on fire. I didn’t realize that Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone were still in the band which is pretty impressive, especially Nigel who had been there since 1969! The set just kept getting better throughout the night and he told a great story about Border Song that Aretha Franklin had covered in 1972:

Even though I had known the setlist already, it was great seeing/hearing Have Mercy on the Criminal from 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player LP. It’s a great tune. It was just hit after hit and the whole show I had my brother on my mind. Music can be a bit emotional for me and Someone Saved My Life Tonight hit me pretty hard. There are a few lyrics in that one that punch me in the gut.

Then came Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, which opens the Yellow Brick Road album. So many memories and a wave of emptions came over me, but I maintained. Then Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word was played 2 songs later. This may be one of my all-time favorite non-metal songs ever. It was followed up with Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and for whatever reason I always think of the live version with George Michael and the part where he says, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!”:

He blasted through more hits and I really couldn’t believe how great his voice still sounded. Sure, he can’t hit those falsettos anymore, but he’s still incredible. Crocodile Rock (awful song) and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting closed out the main set of 20 f’n songs.

For the encore they played the PNAU remix of Elton and Dua Lipa doing Cold Heart (a mix of several different songs), Your Song and finally Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…that was when I really couldn’t hold back from shedding a few tears for my brother. At the end of the song Elton walked onto a lift and walked out through an opening in the brick wall and that was that.

As I stated earlier, the band was on fire but I noticed that Nigel wasn’t doing a lot of his signature licks in some of the songs. For me some of that minutia needs to be there, but hey, he’s also in his 70s so I guess he gets a pass. Dave Johnstone, on the other hand, was absolutely badass.

Overall the show was 10/10 and while there were certainly other songs I would love to have heard, I have no real complaints.

Upon leaving, I had trouble finding our parking lot which took some extra time and was a bit frustrating but eventually we got there and I took Stephanie back to her car and I headed back to Austin. My friends Kyle and Dave were also there and we were texting before and after the show. They were headed to our favorite watering hole in Austin right after and I wasn’t going to get there until about 1:20AM. I was super hungry as I hadn’t eaten since lunch so I had him order some food ahead of my arrival as they were getting there before me and it was waiting for me when I arrived. I pretty much inhaled it and we all shared our thoughts about the show. A good time was had by all. Also, I hope I never have to see another big show at the Alamodome ever again.

Thank you, Elton (and Bernie), for the lifetime of quality music that will stick with me until my last day.

Written by The Metal Files

October 31, 2022 at 8:30 am

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Raven, Riot Act, Crimson Devils, Austin, TX, September 24, 2022

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So many shows recently and upcoming, it’s making me tired. Last week my good friends Savage Master were in town and I hosted them and made breakfast for them. It’s always great having them at the house.

This week Raven came through and I offered up my house to them after their Saturday show at the Lost Well in Austin and he accepted. I really do like hosting bands and I’ve met John and Mark several times since 2000 and they’re great guys and total road dogs.

On with the show…

Crimson Devils started promptly at 9PM to an unfortunately super small crowd but they sounded great. Jake and Curtis and the drummer (who I don’t know) are well-rehearsed and super tight and it’s always a pleasure to see Curtis on bass. He’s a beast. There were several shows happening this night (Scorpions, Moxy, Warbringer/Heathen etc) and it looks like the draw was going to be small. A few more people started trickling in by the end of their set.

Riot Act features ex-Riot guitarist Rick Ventura who played on Narita, Fire Down Under, Restless Breed, and Born in America. LA Kouvaris was in Riot Act and unfortunately passed away from complications related to COVID in 2020. RIP. The band also features Don Chaffin who I recognized but couldn’t quite place. He sang for Dan Spitz’s Red Lamb who I saw play to a tiny crowd several years ago. The band opened with Rock City and went straight into Road Racin’. The crowd size was starting to grow and everyone was loving the classic Riot tunes. The band sounded great and Don’s vocals were a perfect fit. They played 2 originals which sounded like they could’ve been on any classic Riot album, good stuff. They closed the set with Altar of the King and Warrior, two of my favorites and they crowd was very boisterous and had grown a little more as people were getting there after seeing some of the aforementioned shows that night.

Riot Act setlist:…/the-lost-well-austin-tx…

Quick set change and the crowd had grown to about 50 folks or so, which was pretty decent all things considered.

Raven was touring for the 40th anniversary of their legendary Wiped Out album. Many of the old Austin Raven fans who saw them with Metallica in 1983 were in attendance and it was great seeing them all up front with fists in the air and singing every song.

Raven opened with Take Control and Hell Patrol and the crowd was all about it. John and Mark never stay on one spot on stage and getting good photos of them is hard. haha. They are one of the best live bands out there and always put on a great show. They rolled through the Wiped Out set like butter and closed the show with Wiped Out from their first 1980 7″ entitled Don’t Need Your Money. Mike Heller on drums is a perfect with them and really brings a new dynamic to them live and is a super nice guy as well.

Raven setlist:…/the-lost-well-austin-tx…

After the show, the band chilled out with fans, signed stuff, took pics and then we loaded up their trailer and headed back to my place along with their tour companion Joey. Once settled in at the house, I cranked the AC to super cold and everyone crashed out pretty quickly.

The next morning around 9ish, we all started coming back to life and I made breakfast tacos for everyone…it’s a tradition now for bands that I host. Nothing fancy but it always seems appreciated. It was fun talking with the guys and hearing old tour stories and just random conversations. “Johnny Action” will never be forgotten! 😉

After breakfast and loading up their RV, we snapped a photo, hugged it out and said our goodbyes.

The Gallagher brothers are truly nice guys and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with them.

This is also a good time to mention Jason McMaster and Metal Dave Glessner’s Talk Louder Podcast interview with John:

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2022 at 9:50 am

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Iron Maiden, Austin, TX, September 13, 2022

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Iron Maiden twice in seven days? Why not? Especially when they’re in my own back yard.

Triumph said it best: What’s another day of rock and roll?

Last night was the second date of the US leg of Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast Tour and they did not disappoint. While it was the same setlist as last week, this was a bit more enjoyable as it was in a smaller venue. The Moody Center is brand new and just opened up a couple of months ago. It’s a really nice venue.

One of my best friends, Marco, came into town from Vegas to catch the show and we met up with Lisa and Matt at my house to catch a ride together for the show.

It was like a family reunion last night. I saw so many people that I hadn’t seen in forever and it was quite nice. Comforting even. We hung out in the outer ring during Trivium, I just can’t care about that band at all. As they wrapped up, we made our way to the floor, grabbed some drinks and took our spots waiting for UFO’s Doctor, Doctor to start and when it did, it sent chills up our spines.

No need to talk about the set, it was what it was. And while I’m less annoyed by Gers than I used to be, it still pains me to see him playing H’s solos. Bruce did sound a little better last night than he did in Mexico City last week. The sound in the venue was really good, too.

I will say that the energy in Mexico City was way bigger than last night. Totally a different vibe altogether. While the crowd was into Fear of the Dark, it didn’t compare to last week’s show.

It was a great night and even better sharing it with some of my favorite people. ❤️

I also brought my old vest out of retirement. I’ve had that and The 2 Minutes To Midnight back patch since 86/87 and with my recent weight loss, I can fit into it a little better, but back to the closet it goes. I also broke my own rule of not wearing the shirt of the band that I’m seeing and sported my 2008 Texas shirt from the San Antonio show.

After the show we trekked over to the Texas Chili Parlor for a quick bite then off to Lost Well and ran into some friends there as well. ‘Twas a late night but Twas a great night, too.

Up the Irons! 🤘🏼

Written by The Metal Files

September 15, 2022 at 8:36 am

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