After arriving over an hour early to ensure I wouldn’t miss a single band in this planet aligning show, I walked up to a line that wrapped twice around the block. Fans kept it positive though, with endless compliments about the awesomeness of T-shirts, handing out high fives for obscure black metal bands, nods and smiles for great bands, and even taking pictures with people in shirts that matched or coordinated. The time passed quickly, and we were pleased to be able to hear (pretty clearly) Russian Circles play the first set of the day.
Finally, at the gates… I kept walking closer to the stage and getting more and more stoked; I would be able to shoot Opeth after waiting over ten years. Holy Moly, it was starting to sink in as I walked past the barrier and into the photo pit. Boomtime!
The Devin Townsend Project was on. A solid performer and certainly a talented one. To be honest, I knew only a little of his work, but enjoyed it nonetheless. He definitely seemed to have a decent following and offered some pretty quirky stage antics.
Oh hey, guess what? They didn’t leave enough room for security guards and photographers so all of us with photo passes got the boot. Hopes and dreams, shattered.
It could have been worse though, I could have been one of the photographers who flew in from LA to shoot for a publication covering this momentous show. Yeah. Sorry dude, that kinda sucks. So into the madness of the crowd we went, shielding our cameras as best we could, and while fighting for a view of the stage. It got a little rough.
Up next, jamming with their signature rock and blues sound was Eagles of Death Metal (EODM). Joining them onstage was Brent Hinds from Mastodon. Even though they’re not in the same genre as the other bands that played, they still fit right in. Such a great set!
Gojira is always amazing. They have quite a unique sound that incorporates many different styles of metal. The crowd was energetic as they sung all their songs and it echoed through the venue. Amazing. Add a heavy dose of stage smoke to the mix and it gave the whole place an eerie atmospheric feel. I love these guys and it was great to see them sharing the stage with so many amazing artists.
I inched as close as I could get to shoot Opeth. Their set was a good mix of old and new work. At one point they even acknowledged no one liked their new songs when they came out, but hoped everyone would now. They’re a different breed of musicians, and seem to play for themselves, working to stay authentic to their sound even in the face of opposition. I respect that even though we still sometimes want to hear Mikael rip out some old tunes. They are definitely one of my all time favorite bands and of course they killed it! I think my buddy Scott Brewkegger, self proclaimed “greatest dude ever” said it best: “they don’t know how to hit a bad note.”
Mastodon, is still a behemoth of metal. I had never gotten to see them live before, and hell, it was worth the wait. Showcasing a full set of all their greats was amazing to hear, and the crowd surged liked a incoming tsunami. We were all pushed up close to the stage, packed in like sardines. Kind of scary with camera equipment, but still closer nonetheless. Worth it. The stage visuals and light show intensified all the action bringing the show to an outstanding and satisfying finish.
Overall, it was a monumental show with outstanding performances all around; to see so many of my favorite bands converge was a show that could not be missed.