Until a month or so prior to this show at Trees Dallas, I had no clue Chris Jericho was in a band. But in my defense, I’ve never been a real fan of wrestling, so it’s not like I keep up with what the athletes do in the rest of their time. Of course, I’m in the minority, though; and a lot of people in D/FW were and had been pumped for this Sunday night rock show with FOZZY for quite a while.
From what I heard, local act NO WEAPON FORMED put on a phenomenal show, which was surely the biggest one the band has played yet. Another opener, SHAMAN’S HARVEST, impressed the hell out of me. They mined a rich, blues-inspired rock genre, utilizing some amazing four-part harmonies. Not only that, but they delivered one hell of a killer show! Now it was time for FOZZY! “Do you wanna start a war?!” Jericho asked after taking the stage.
He had brought along something from his wrestling profession: a robe that from a distance looked like it could have been encrusted with hundreds of diamonds. Instead, they were LED lights that quickly flashed an array of red and blue lights as they kicked things off with the title track from their newest release, Do You Wanna Start a War
The good thing about not being familiar with bands is how you are left in the dark so to speak. You haven’t the faintest idea as to what to expect. That was the position I found myself in; and for starters, I was slightly taken aback by how great Jericho’s voice sounded. It was certainly behooving of the semi-classic sounding style of metal they played; and the backing vocals guitarist Rich Ward and bassist Jeff Rouse added really set things off on that one.
Jericho’s showmanship was impeccable this night and as they wound things into the next song, he played to the crowd, placing his finger behind his ear to egg on the cheering. “Alright, Dallas! Here we go!!” he roared. “To Kill a Stranger” worked the crowd (which numbered a few hundred) into frenzy, and things only escalated from there. Before the next song, the frontman led the rabid crowd in pumping their fists in the air and chanting, HEY! HEY! HEY!” many times over.
After sufficiently working everyone up, they launched into another new jam, “One Crazed Anarchist”. The guitar tones Ward and fellow axe slinger Billy Grey produced were very rich and mesmerizing, but again, all eyes were primarily on Jericho. He now stood on the barrier (this was one of the few times I’ve been to Trees where they have had one setup), smiling and singing at the fans, as well as giving out some fist bumps to some lucky supporters.
A chant of “FOZZY!” was often heard this night; and when it started in-between songs at this point, Jericho beamed at everyone and let it play out. “Dallas! You’ve got a lot of energy tonight!” he declared, before Grey, Rouse and Ward took on more of the spotlight on “Sin and Bones”. The former jumped off of the box at center stage that was often used by Jericho, while the latter two rocked out on it, with Rouse somewhat kneeling on the box and Ward leaning in as they jammed. I should also say the double bass drums Frank Fontsere was manning sounded extra heavy on that number.
After a few more hard-hitting originals, they turned their attention to another song from their new album, though it wasn’t theirs. Their choice to cover “S.O.S.” by ABBA is a bit of an interesting one, though they certainly put a FOZZY spin on it, making it a little more metal sounding. It was still incredibly fun, though. I mean, even if you’re not a real ABBA fan, their songs are next to impossible to not get into, and that was exactly how FOZZY’S rendition of it was. Fontsere then ended it by tossing one of his drum sticks into the air and catching it.
They knocked out a couple older cuts that were quickly turned into sing-alongs, and even “Bad Tattoo” became one. Fans have already learned the words, singing the chorus, “I can’t get rid of you; like a bad tattoo. And you never go away, no matter what I say…”
He again got on the barrier to deliver the first few lines of the track; and Ward kind of stole the show with his wicked solo on the Theremin, almost acting as if it were an opponent, as he reeled his hand back to manipulate the instrument, looking as if he were about to punch it.
With their 57-minute long set coming to an end, Jericho threw in some major laughs. “Do you have to go to work tomorrow?” he asked, with little response. “You don’t have to go to work?! You don’t have jobs?!” he laughed, saying that he would write a note to anyone’s boss in case they showed up late to the office the next day. “…Sorry they’re late, they had too much fun at the FOZZY show. Leave him alone. Fuck you, signed, Chris Jericho.” I think a lot of people probably wanted to take him up on that offer.
“Sandpaper”, from Sin and Bones, proved to be a fan favorite and their 57-minute long set was capped off with a track from their 2000 self-titled record, a cover of KROKUS’ “Eat the Rich”. “I want you to go home and tell your friends you saw the band of the hour…” Jericho finished, making a bunch of rhymes (a la Springsteen fashion), finishing with, “…You just got your asses kicked by FOZZY.”
Yeah, that was kind of an understatement.
I was blown away by the performance Jericho, Rouse, Fontsere, Ward and Grey put on. It was a full-scale assault from start to finish; and I thoroughly enjoyed how intuitive Jericho was with the fans. He was watching everyone, not only basking in the love they were being shown, but truly paying attention to what was going on. I’m convinced all his years in the wrestling circuit have helped make him the mighty frontman he is. The level of showmanship and skill he possesses outshines a lot of the ones I’ve seen. This night was a fantastic one, and FOZZY alone was responsible for that!
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the guy who was wearing a bear suit this night. I guess he was supposed to be FOZZY BEAR; and he was really getting into the music.
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