The second installment of the resurrected “Headbangers Ball Tour” featured the return to the stage of 2 brothers famous for their role in one of metal’s most powerful and influential heavy metal bands of all time – the almighty Pantera – with their new musical endeavor Damageplan. Besides Vinnie Paul on drums and Dimebag Darrell on guitar, Damageplan featured former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on vocals and the Abbott Brothers’ tattoo artist Bob Zilla on bass. It was quite a different sound than what Pantera fans were used to, but having never seen Pantera live I was very excited for the tour and to see at least half of the legendary band in person – on EASTER SUNDAY nonetheless!
Unearth opened up the show with an energetic performance and rigid pace. Right off the bat, you could tell the crowd was there to throw down and release some tension.
My Heart Bleeds No Longer
This Lying World
Black Hearts Now Reign
Only the People
The Great Dividers
One Step Away
Drowning Pool was up on next with Jason Jones leading the cull. The HBB Tour also marked the return of Drowning Pool to the stage after original vocalist Dave Williams was found dead from an unknown heart condition in his bunk during the Ozzfest 2003 tour. I was interested in seeing what they had to offer, and they seemed like a scaled-down version of their previous form. The new vocals brought more range, but it often took away from the darker, more demonic nature of the lyrics and sound that Dave Williams brought to the group. The crowd still gave them a great response of support.
Cast Me Aside
If you’ve ever seen Hatebreed live, you should already know how quickly they can get the crowd amped up to a higher level. That’s exactly what they did on the Headbanger’s Ball Tour. The pits were insane from start to finish, and during “Perseverance” Jamey Jasta called for a massive circle pit that stretch from about the 2nd or 3rd row of people at the front of the crowd all of the way back to the soundboard and over to the balcony on stage right. The scene was chaotic. People were flying everywhere as they ran full speed in a circle that would make one dizzy if they were watching from above.
Beholder of Justice
This Is Now
Driven By Suffering
I Will Be Heard
Finally the band of the night was to perform. Damageplan took the stage to the opening intro of Breathing New Life playing overhead. They belted into it with precision and power, setting the crowd ablaze with fiery riffs and Vinnie’s chest-pounding drums. Between just about every song, they stopped and handed out shots of Black Tooth, Jager, and other types of liquor that were set out on a huge fold-out table on the side of the stage.
Breathing New Life
New Found Power
Walk (Pantera Cover)
A New Level (Pantera cover w/ all bands on the tour)
The Headbangers Ball Tour started and ended with a feeling of celebration. The resurgence of both Drowning Pool after they lost their vocalist and best friend to disease, and the Abbott brothers’ following the disbanding of Pantera, was a symbol of strength on this Easter Sunday. Before playing Pantera’s hit single “Walk”, Dime grabbed the mic and explained to the crowd how sorry he was about what happened to Pantera and that it was not he nor Vinnie Paul who decided to turn their backs on the fans, hinting at the obvious strife between them and vocalist Phil Anselmo. During “A New Level’ the second of the two Pantera hits performed, members from all of the bands on the tour came out and joined the band. They helped sing along, and stage dove into the crowd. When it all finally ended Dime and Vinnie threw guitar picks and drum sticks into the crowd, and walked along the front barricade shaking hands and giving high-fives.
Happy Birthday Dime! Your music lives on through all of us because of the music you’ve blessed us with. \m/