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Pantera Pummels Memphis!

Review/Art by The Rocker James West

Photos/Art by The Rocker Chic Danette West

Awwww… the peaceful, serene life in our new country home in my home state of Arkansas.  Quite a change from living life on the edge of a razor blade in what has become California!  Well it may not have been THAT bad, but a change in scenery has made both The Rocker Chic and I feel a bit rejuvenated and ready for new adventures.

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ALL HAIL DIMEBAG!!!

What better way to get our feet wet than by taking a little 3.5 hour drive through a monsoon rain storm to nearby Memphis to witness a little peaceful gathering of tranquil music and good cheer at the FedExForum.  With bands like Nest, Lamb Of God, and Pantera you would think we’d be singing’ Kumbaya and cuddling with God’s little creatures… Who am I kidding here… We’re about to get our F**king Faces Melted Off!

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Good news is our faces were left safe and intact throughout the first band’s performance!  Nest took the stage to an eager Memphis crowd and served as more of a “toe-dip” into the sounds of gutterly-visceral metal that was to come.  Based out of St. Louis, Nest is a 3-piece band led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist John Jarvis.  What the band lacked in “Shock N Awe” performance they more than made up for in great songs and performance- with even a little ZZ Top “Cheap Sunglasses” thrown in to help keep us old geezers pacified!  

I happened to glance off to stage left during Nest’s performance and noticed a familiar face belonging to Phil Anselmo rocking out to Nest’s performance.  That’s pretty damn cool to witness!

 

If I had any cause for concern about being in the pit it would be for the next band on the night’s agenda- Lamb Of God!  I’m a big fan of their ferocious attitude in both vocal and musical performance, but for my first mosh pit event I was having serious second thoughts…

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CAUGHT IN A MOSH!!!

When marking our territory in the pit I decided to be a little strategic- I noticed a cool Rocker who happened to be assisting his disabled brother in a wheelchair in front of us, so I guided my gal to stand right behind them with me right next to her!  This enabled me to keep a better check behind us to help protect the handicapped in front while also hopefully deterring any incoming Moshers from running into all of us!   Another benefit was some extra front head-space to take pictures of the stage.

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The point of no return came and… BOOOM!  Welcome to Crazy-Ville! Lol  The audience adrenaline shot from about a 6 to a 666 in one-second!  Crazy f**king Insane!  It was cool as hell… 

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Fists pumping in the air, bodies jumping in cadence, and loony-tune kids moshing behind us for the next hour straight!  Luckily, our body placement in the crowd during the craziness seem to be paying off for our safety.  Every now and then a rogue mosher would get close behind us, but with some push-back we were able to fend them off for the most part.  There were a couple times during both the Lamb Of God and Pantera performances that some body surfers got a little close to our handicapped friend and to The Rocker Chic, but with a little courtesy shove our territory security held tight for the remainder of the evening.

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Oh, I forgot to mention there was also a kick ass metal band performing in front of us! Lol

The Lamb Of God set was extraordinary!  What we got that night was two complete headlining stage setups from both Lamb Of God and Pantera.  The Lamb Of God set totally blew me away in both visual and visceral extremes.  It was like part of my brain was constantly cued in on the mosh pit behind my back and the other part was being blown away by the theatrics and performance of Lamb Of God in front of me!  The eleven-song set unleashed a heavy metal wrath over the crowd.

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Relentless and unforgiving, vocalist Randy Blyth, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Art Cruz all performed with the same intensity displayed throughout their 30-year history!  Why this incredible band isn’t headlining makes me want to scratch my head, but it’s hard to scratch your head when your fist is pumping in the air!

THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE!

Before I get into Pantera I’d like to get ONE THING straight… NO, this is not Pantera!  The band we know and idolized ended twenty years ago with the death of Dimebag Darrell and later with the death of his brother Vinnie Paul in 2018.  What we saw this evening was the ULTIMATE TRIBUTE to both Dimebag and Vinnie and the music created as PANTERA. 

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Even though most of the crowd may have lost their hearing during the Lamb Of God set, EVERYONE KNOWS the intention of this concert and this tour- IT’S A TRIBUTE HONORING DIMEBAG, VINNIE, AND THE MAGIC THAT WAS PANTERA!

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I was never fortunate enough to witness the original Pantera in all their glory, so I feel truly blessed to be able to witness the genuine sincerity and honest nature of this extraordinary tribute to the band that was PANTERA!  And just In case anyone ever thought likewise, after almost EVERY SONG the crowd was reminded of this fact by the band – verbally by Phil and by gestures and salutes by Zakk, Rex, and Charlie.  It was on visuals displayed on the screen; it was on all their clothing attire and even staging elements.

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My personal take is that with all the energy given in this salute in both performance and respectful gestures, something else has blossomed-  A NEW VERSION OF THE BAND FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS! 

 

I went from being CAUGHT IN A MOSH to being CAUGHT IN A MOSH OF EMOTIONS during this incredible performance.  NO- it’s not Pantera, but THIS IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT DESERVES LIFE AFTER TRIBUTE!

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The energy transference was incredible to witness from the Pit!  Maybe it was the volatile atmosphere of a crowd moshing and fists pumping in the air that gives off enormous energy to the band performing, and in return, the band feeding off that energy to give their absolute best performance in return back to that crowd and audience.  Phil Anselmo seemed truly grateful and appreciative along with Zakk and the rest of the band this special night in Memphis.

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Pantera was a highly-tuned machine that night, pumping out its best renditions of several of the bands classics, including my personal favorites “I’m Broken”, “Floods” and of course, “Cowboys From Hell”!

 

Thankfully, our handicapped friend in front of us stayed safe, with his brother commenting that “He was in Heaven” during the show!  My beloved Rocker Chic Danette also survived unscathed and surprisingly Head-Banged with the best of the crowd with her fists in the air and yelling like she just didn’t care! Lol

 

For a “tribute performance” I still feel that I witnessed one of my best concert experiences that night- In front of the sacred stage, along Rock’s true soldiers, in unison with our musical heroes…  RIP Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul!

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NEST
SET LIST

1. Gamut Of Emotions

 

2. Suffering Builds Character

3. Can't Pretend

4. What's The Issue?

5. Packaged Sweets

6. It's True

7. Nice Slot

8. Time To Panic

9. Fall Guy

10. Cheap Sunglasses

LAMB OF GOD SET LIST

1. Memento Mori

2. Walk With Me In Hell

3. Hourglass

4. Now You've Got Something To Die For

5. Resurrection Man

6. Ditch

7. Ruin

8. Contractor

9. Vigil

10. Laid To Rest

11. Redneck

PANTERA
SET LIST

1. A New Level

2. Mouth For War

3. Strength Beyond Strength

4. Becoming

5. I'm Broken

6. Suicide Note Pt. II

7. 5 Minutes Alone

8. This Love

9. Floods

10. Walk

11. Domination/Hollow

12. Cowboys From Hell

13.  Fucking Hostile (encore)

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