Throwback Thursday Concert Review: An Evening w/ AMON AMARTH (Lawrence, KS))

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An Evening w/ AMON AMARTH – The Surtur Rising World Tour
April 16, 2011 @ 9p.m.
Granada Theater in Lawrence, KS

“Road Warriors” could’ve easily been the name of this headlining tour by Viking metal legends Amon Amarth, as the dates where spread few and far between. When I heard they were playing two sets and coming somewhere relatively close to St. Louis, there was no question that I should request a few days off work and plan a trip accordingly. Coincidently, many metal heads from around the Midwest had the same idea. Between eating at Jimmy Johns down the street and standing in line waiting for doors to open, I met folks from Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri that had taken time out of their busy lives to drive up to Lawrence on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and witness a rare evening full of Amon Amarth.

I left St. Louis around 3:30p.m. that afternoon, as I was trying to decide whether or not to go at the last minute because I was going to have to travel by myself due to unforeseen circumstances. The drive couldn’t have gone smoother thanks to the clear, sunny conditions in the Midwest. I arrived in Lawrence around 7:45p.m., found a place to park, and hung out at Jimmy Johns to feed my hunger before the real feast began. The doors opened promptly at 8p.m. and Amon Amarth was set to go on at 9p.m., so I hopped in line around 8:30p.m. to find quite a large gathering of metal heads ready for battle in black shirts with long hair and ZZ-Top beards. As I got inside I immediately went up to the pit area in front of stage to await the carnage that was about to ensue.

Amon Amarth hit the stage shortly after their scheduled time and blasted into the first track off Surtur Rising, which they were set to play in its entirety. As the Viking brethren took the stage, the crowd exploded with applause and cheers that seemed to take the band by surprise. It seemed like every single person attending the show were there for the same reason; to celebrate the existence heavy metal. And celebrate we did. Watching them play the entire new album was sort of like Amon Amarth opening up for… well… themselves! It was an awesome way to start a long brutal show, and the crowd was definitely pleased. As they finished the album, they announced they were taking a short break, only to return to rip our faces off.

As the pit cleared out a bit after their first set – it was very hot and sweaty already so most people went to cool off to get drinks – I secured an even better spot to the right of the stage in the pit. Finally the lights went out, the intro music came on, and the crowd again packed in together, ready to tear the place apart. And as the fast and heavy beginning of their first song Twilight of the Thunder Gods kicked in, they did just that. The intensity of the band as well as the crowd during the second set seemed tenfold in comparison to the first set as everyone was belting out the lyrics to their favorite songs. Here is their complete setlist for the night:

War of the Gods
Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
Destroyer of the Universe
Slaves of Fear
Live Without Regrets
The Last Stand of Frej
For Victory or Death
Wrath of the Norsemen
A Beast I Am
Doom Over Dead Man

*INTERMISSION*

Twilight of the Thunder God
Masters of War
Live for the Kill
With Oden on Our Side
Guardians of Asgaard
Asator
Varyags of Miklagaard
Thousand Years of Oppression
Without Fear > Victorious March > Gods of War Arise > Death in Fire *non-stop medley)
———–ENCORE————
Cry of the Blackbirds
Runes To My Memory
The Pursuit of Vikings

I hadn’t seen Amon Amarth since their first U.S. tour back in 2004 with Children of Bodom and Gojira, so I was very excited to hear them play songs from Twilight of the Thunder Gods – in addition to Surtur Rising of course. They had quite a bit of variety, ranging all the way to back their early days. They had some pretty cool merch, including a flag for $15 and various tour shirts and hoodies ranging from $20-$40. The most memorable parts of the night by far were singing “Happy Birthday” to their bassist, Ted, and screaming the entire chorus of Pursuit of Vikings along with the sold out crowd around me as Johan encouraged us.

I know I might say this often, but if this show comes anywhere close to you, do yourself a favor as a metal head to attend. I’ve been to so many shows that are a mix between hardcore and metal that it was great to remember what a true metal show is all about. Until next time, HAIL AAAASAAATOOOOORRRR!!!! =D

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