The day had come. The Rock Allegiance Tour. I was FINALLY going to see Volbeat live after all kinds of mishaps prevented me from catching previous gigs. Plus, as an added bonus, I’d be seeing H.I.M., too? Where do I sign?? I got to Verizon Theatre nearly bursting with excitement (Yep. At my age I STILL get excited to see my favorite bands live!) and met up with my wonderful friend Chantelle (who took these killer photos you see) and waited for the magic to begin.
First up was H.I.M. I didn’t know what to expect, since I’m not that big on the latest record, Tears On Tape. Some bands, when they’re really passionate about their latest release, they beat you over the head with three quarters of said record and only give you a smattering of the hits. This was NOT the case with Ville Valo and Co, I’m happy to say. Opening with one of the better tracks off of Tape, “All Lips Go Blue” the band had all the Finnish flags in attendance waving wildly. “Buried Alive By Love” was next which served only to ramp up the intensity tenfold before giving way to my two favorites back-to-back, “Wings of a Butterfly”, and “Right Here In My Arms”.
Ville’s voice was perfect, and the band was a well-oiled machine behind him. Other highlights included their outstanding take on “Wicked Game”, “Soul On Fire”, “Into the Night”, and closer “The Funeral of Hearts”. To say I was impressed with H.I.M. live would be the understatement of the century. Count me in next time they’re in town, no question.
Up next? The Mighty Volbeat! Even though the place wasn’t packed to capacity, those in attendance, myself included made our approval known as the band tore through “Hallelujah Goat”, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, and “Radio Girl” before we knew what hit us. A good ol’fashioned dose of heavy metal rockabilly in “Sad Man’s Tongue” was sandwiched in between killer cuts “The Nameless One” and “Lola Montez” from newest album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies as well. The real treat for me though, was “Heaven Nor Hell”, my favorite Volbeat song all-time, and the live rendition was out of this world.
Michael Poulsen’s voice had all the power and range it does on record, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Rob Caggiano, guitarist and producer seems to be having more fun in this band than he did in Anthrax. It’s just something I noticed from his body language and audience interaction, and he really makes the band complete. Other Volbeat classics like “16 Dollars” and “Fallen” (dedicated to Poulsen’s late father) were interspersed with new tunes “Dead But Rising” and “Pearl Hart”, and the final 1-2-3 punch of “A Warrior’s Call”, “Doc Holliday”, and “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza” had the faithful up and screaming for more.
Everyone I know who has seen a Volbeat show swears up and down that it’s something NOT to be missed. Know what? They were right, 100%. And if you haven’t been fortunate enough to do so, I suggest you remedy that. You’ll thank me.