Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper and Rammstein ticket give aways

Well here’s something great for you readers of, I’ve made an agreement with Live Nation to give away pairs of tickets to two of the biggest concerts coming to the area! Rammstein is playing the 1st Mariner Arena (formerly Baltimore Arena) in Baltimore on Wednesday 25 April 2012 and Iron Maiden with Alice Cooper on Saturday 30 June 2012 at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion). One thing I hate about going to big concerts is sitting in the way back squinting to see exactly what the hell is going on so I’m not giving away nose bleed or lawn tickets but for both shows I’m giving away great seats! Rammstein will be premium floor seats and Iron Maiden will be in the 100 section. And of course for each show the tickets will be next to each other. All you have to do to enter this awesome contest is post a comment below telling me which of these two concerts you’d like to see the most. Unlike my past concerts, you CAN win tickets to both concerts so enter for both if you’d like! Be sure to use a valid email address that you check regularly when you enter so I can email you when you win. Don’t worry, I won’t put you on any email lists or sell your info, I hate spam just as much as you do. I’ll pick the lucky winner(s) at random (using from all valid entries at 5pm EST on Friday 9 March 2012. Now read on below for more info about each of these concerts.

Rammstein at 1st Mariner Arena
Rammstein is from Berlin, Germany and are the biggest band from the Neue Deutsche Härte scene there, a style of music that blends hard rock, industrial and metal. In December of 2011 they put out a compilation album that is a retrospective of the band’s entire history, aptly titled Made In Germany 1995-2011. This tour is to support that release and you can bet they’ll be playing a lot of material from their entire back catalog. On thing Rammstein is famous for is their theatrical live shows which use a ridiculous amount of pyrotechnics. And I’m not talking about a few fireworks here, they do things like walk around with 20 foot flames flying out of their costumes! Even if you don’t win the tickets from me you’ll want to be up close to really feel the heat coming from the stage, this isn’t your average performance. If you don’t want to wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, you can get tickets to this concert right now here for $47 – $90. This show is on Wednesday 25 April 2012 and starts at 8pm.

Iron Maiden at Jiffy Lube Live
Iron Maiden is the biggest of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) bands from the 80s. Lots of those bands have broken up or faded from the spotlight but not Iron Maiden. Their last concert in the area, in 2010 to support their latest album, The Final Frontier, was a rainy day and featured mostly newer material by the band. However this time they’ll be playing a more “best hits” oriented set list so expect to hear classics like Run To The Hills and The Trooper this time around. The opening act is Alice Cooper, the original shock rocker. You probably know him for 80s classics like School’s Out and No More Mr. Nice Guy but his newer material has been much darker. You know he’ll bring an entertaining show with him featuring various magic tricks including his trademark, decapitating himself via guillotine! Another great show you don’t want to be in the back for, so be sure to get seated tickets even if you don’t win them here. If you don’t risk losing out on good seats by waiting for this contest to end, you can get tickets now here from $40 – $109.25. This concert is on Saturday 30 June 2012 and starts at 7:30pm (and remember, Jiffy Lube Live has gotten rid of its no tailgating rule).

Well, those are your two choices. Check out these classic videos by these three classic bands:

Review of Ozzy Osbourne gig at 1st Mariner Arena

So Monday the 29th of November 2010 started off pretty normally for me, normal routine of going to work and all. I’d just seen Psycroptic and Keep Of Kalessin play Jaxx the night before, so I had a review to work on (you can read that here) but otherwise it was a normal day. Then my girlfriend called me to tell me she’d gotten me an early Xmas present, a 10th row ticket to see Ozzy that night at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena! Well the work day couldn’t go by fast enough at that point. The venue actually granted me a photo pass for Rob Halford‘s set (the opening act) but Ozzy’s people wouldn’t give me one. It didn’t really matter as I didn’t have my nice camera with me at work and I couldn’t make it to the venue early enough if I went home to get it. I did get to the venue around 8pm and I had been told Ozzy would hit the stage at 8:45 so instead of going through security to buy an expensive dinner, I hit up a little deli across the street. I got myself a pastrami sandwich, cheaper and better than anything inside the arena I’m sure, and headed into the venue. After sneaking my camera through security I headed to my seat. And again for the second time now at 1st Mariner Arena, the second I got to my seat I looked up at the stage and right then Ozzy came out to start the concert. Perfect timing again! The first time this happened was when I saw Slayer and Megadeth there in October and you can read my review of that here.

Since I completely missed Rob Halford’s set I won’t comment on that. I wasn’t too upset though since I’m not much of a Judas Priest fan anyways. I am, however, a huge Black Sabbath and Ozzy fan. The reason I’m such a huge metal head has a lot to do with Black Sabbath and the fact that I even run this website does too. That said, I know he’s past his prime, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love every second of this concert. The last time I saw Ozzy was almost three years ago in January 2008 at the Verizon Center. That wasn’t the greatest show, he had been sick and it was a short set and they all seemed to be just going through the motions. This concert fully made up for it though! This was the first time I have gotten to see the new guitarist, Gus G, play live with Ozzy, and the band definitely seemed more energized than when I saw them in 2008. Gug G did a great job of playing songs by each of his four main predecessors, Tony Iommi, Randy Rhodes, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde, and they played one of his own songs, Let Me Hear You Scream, too. I have video of him playing songs by each of these guys from this concert posted below so you can see how he handles them, so check them out at the end of the post. There was also a second guitarist on some songs, I think mostly the Black Sabbath songs really. This was actually the keyboardist Adam Wakeman, who also has played with Black Sabbath. He didn’t have any guitar solos and only played rhythm guitar and stayed out of the spotlight for most of the show. Ozzy’s voice started out a bit rough this show, but after his voiced dropped out a couple of times early on, he seemed to get it together and mostly stay on track for the rest of the show. He was entertaining as always, and he brought out his big foam-shooting hose several times throughout the night to spray the audience as well as himself. He really seemed to have a lot of energy up there, much more than the last time I saw him. There were a lot of loud booming fireworks and a sort of fire-rain pyrotechnics thing at the beginning of Mr. Crowley. All of this showed why after 40 years Ozzy is still headlining arenas, his shows are always over the top.

The setlist focused mostly on what are probably the two most popular albums of Ozzy’s career, Paranoid by Black Sabbath and Blizzard Of Ozz, his first solo record. The only Randy Rhodes era songs were from Blizzard, and they played the staples Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, Crazy Train and I Don’t Know. The only Black Sabbath songs played were all from Paranoid, and they of course played Iron Man, War Pigs, Paranoid as well as Fairies Wear Boots and they even incorporated the instrumental Rat Salad in the band solos. That was actually pretty damn awesome. They started it off as a sort of all band jam doing Rat Salad that morphed into a killer guitar solo by Gus G. He didn’t play with his teeth or behind his head like Zakk did the last time I saw Ozzy, but it was nice to hear a different style of guitarist up there shredding (and none of those pig squeal things Zakk does every fucking 5 seconds). They went back into a full band jam for a brief bit, before drummer Tommy Clufetos started on a pretty crazy drum solo of his own. They raised the platform the drums were on and his extended solo was pretty damn impressive, and included a bit of audience participation and fireworks too, which was all pretty cool. I had actually seen him do a big drum solo like this at the last Ozzy show I saw, but he was playing with the opener Rob Zombie then. The whole solo wrapped up as the band finally finished their rendition of Rat Salad. That was such a fresh take on that song, and was really one of the most fun solo/jam sessions I’ve seen at an Ozzy show since I saw Joe Holmes do a crazy guitar solo based around Symptom Of The Universe in the 90s. Hell, this might have been better than that actually. Anyways, I wasn’t missing Zakk Wylde at this point, and I’m not sure if he meant it that way or not, but Ozzy didn’t seem to be either when he stated between songs that the old material was the best! They did play a few Zakk songs, most notably the track Fire In The Sky from No Rest For The Wicked in 1988. The crowd seemed bewildered when he played this, I don’t think most people there knew this song at all. I got video of it though as I knew how rare this was for him to play, and you can see most people just sorta standing around like zombies. I don’t think that song has been in the live rotation for almost 20 years, so that was something pretty cool for the Ozzy die hard fans out there, instead of just playing all hits.

In all I had a great fucking time. The show was fantastic, 100 times better than the last really, and he played for the better part of 2 hours. Getting to see Ozzy is always a concert highlight of the year for me, and this was really one of the best shows I’ve seen him do in a very long time. I did like Zakk but I very much welcome the new guitarist, Gus G, to the fold and really I can’t wait to see them play again. Well, thanks for reading this whole thing. And don’t forget I’ve got a contest going on right now to give away a pair of tickets to see The Sword at the 9:30 Club on Monday, the 6th of December 2010. Go here to enter to win. You don’t have to sign up for anything to do it. Once you’re done with that check out the videos below that I shot from the floor, some of my best video footage yet (they even posted my video of Fairies Wear Boots to the official Ozzy Facebook and Twitter pages!). I’m really glad the venue wasn’t strict about using cameras down there. I recommend checking out my video for War Pigs as that should give you a good idea of my view at the concert. Enjoy!

Review of Slayer and Megadeth gig at 1st Mariner Arena

What a great show! I’m usually rather weary of concerts at larger venues like this, but I’m really glad I went. I didn’t get there in time to catch Anthrax, but I’m not a huge fan of theirs anyways so I wasn’t too upset about it. I was there for Megadeth and most of all Slayer. I hadn’t seen either of them play in several years. This tour, originally called Leg 2 of the American Carnage Tour was renamed the Jagermeister Music Tour and there were some random college girls walking around giving out Jagermeister merch, and Kerry King even did a shot of Jager on the stage between songs at one point. It was weird seeing product placement in the middle of a Slayer gig like that. The main draw to this tour though was that Megadeth was playing their classic 1990 album Rust In Peace from start to finish and Slayer would be playing their album Seasons In The Abyss, also from 1990, straight through also. It was in Baltimore, and I’d never been to the 1st Mariner Arena before, but I couldn’t miss that.

I was coming to the show after work, where a friend had met me. I had called the venue ahead of time and they told me Megadeth would be hitting the stage around 8pm and Slayer at 9:30 so I had a frame of reference on how to get there. There was a bit of traffic when I left around 6:45 and we were sweating making the gig on time. When we got to Baltimore we parked in a garage directly across from the venue and booked it inside. Just by sheer luck we had parked on the side that was general admittance tickets only, which is what we had. So we quickly got down there, realized Megadeth wasn’t playing yet and got beers. As soon as we walked back out onto the main floor the lights dimmed and the show started, you can’t plan timing that good! Megadeth started with the Rust In Peace album right out of the gate. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due was the first song but people weren’t getting into the show right away. A lot of heads kinda bobbing and fist pumping but I don’t think I even saw a mosh pit until half way through their set. Megadeth’s main man Dave Mustaine switched out guitars several times through the night, even pulling out some double neck flying V (does that make it a flying W?) guitar at one point. He also mentioned the problems with their last concert in Baltimore, the one where someone poured a drink on the mixing board three songs into their set so the show was canceled. More info on that fiasco here. He also called that venue, Rams Head Live, a piece of shit, which got people laughing a bit. They had the Rust In Peace album cover backdrop up while playing the songs from that album, but switched it to an image with Megadeth’s mascot Vic doing a sort of fist bump thing with background artwork from their latest album, Endgame. They also had a guy wearing a suit and a Vic mask with skeleton gloves come out on stage during Dawn Patrol, I suppose to distract people from the weakest song on Rust In Peace. One thing that sucked was Dave’s vocals during Megadeth’s entire set were shitty! They weren’t consistent at all and just sounded awful, which you can hear in the videos I posted below. I don’t think it was his voice as much as the PA not working correctly or something. The band seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and even did an encore. I always think it’s kind of odd when a band does that who isn’t the headliner. Especially since Slayer did not do the encore gimmick this show. Regardless, it was fun seeing Megadeth play some of those killer though less played songs on Rust In Peace like Five Magics and Poison Was The Cure. I didn’t see them last March when they came to the 9:30 Club playing the same album, so this was great. After they had played the album they played Head Crusher from their latest album in a mix of Megadeth classics like Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? People were really into the show by the time they finished and everyone knew the intensity was about to go up once Slayer hit the stage. Another odd thing, Dave said “God bless you” to the audience as he left the stage, which wouldn’t be that weird (we all know he’s become a born again Christian) except for the fact that fucking Slayer was up next.

A white curtain was dropped to hide the stage while Slayer set up. The crowd was in a state of anticipation when they started projecting the Slayer logo onto the curtain. I worked my way to the front as close to the center as I could get, ended up about 3 or 4 people back the entire show. I saw Slayer play Reign In Blood in 2003 at the now razed Nation so I figured I’d see them play Seasons In The Abyss too, since that album is also awesome. Maybe they’ll play Show No Mercy straight through for the next tour! I had assumed that Slayer would start their set with War Ensemble, the first song on Seasons In The Abyss, but they surprised me and played a couple songs off their latest album, World Painted Blood. The title track and Hate Worldwide are decent songs I guess, but that’s not what people were here for. Just as the crowd’s enthusiasm started to wane Slayer burst into War Ensemble and got the show really going. The audience instantly came to life and the pushing and shoving up front started and didn’t stop until the end of the show. I’d say War Ensemble is one of Slayer’s more “mosh friendly” songs, but really how many Slayer songs aren’t great for moshing to? For those who have not seen Slayer before, their mosh pits are intense! They have one of the most rabid fan bases in all of metal, which is really saying something. And let me tell you it’s not easy taking pictures or shooting video in the middle of all that! Hell, just keeping yourself relatively still while Slayer is 10 feet in front of you playing Raining Blood or Angel Of Death is not an easy task even if nobody else was there. But I’m no rookie to mosh pits, I love this shit. I did see a few kids getting pissed about all the pushing and elbows they were getting, but I mean it’s Slayer, what were you expecting people to be standing around staring blankly like it’s a fucking Fugazi concert? They actually had the security pull them out of the crowd to leave the front and avoid having to go back through the mosh pit. Those kids could not handle the Slayer! This was the first time I’d seen Slayer since Tom Araya had his neck surgery, after which he no longer head bangs. Kind of weird but not a huge deal, it did mean I could get more good pics of him throughout the show though. They played Seasons In The Abyss as advertised and again it was great hearing them play some of those awesome songs that never get played live from that album. Temptation really got people going crazy too, which I wasn’t really expecting. The sound seemed better for their set than the Megadeth show, though you can judge that for yourself with the videos below. They finished the set with just a few of their classics, South Of Heaven and the like. The only odd thing was after playing Raining Blood they immediately went into Aggressive Perfector, which is a bonus track from the Reign In Blood album. They didn’t do an encore and you could tell when the show rather abruptly ended after Angel Of Death the audience still wanted more. Some people started chanting Slayer for them to come back but really that wasn’t going to happen. I was covered in sweat and bruises but damn if that wasn’t a fun show. I really liked this venue too, they had an open setup and the fact they let me shoot video the entire time was great too. After the show someone told me that somebody had broken a leg or something in the pit, apparently toward stage left. I’m definitely glad I got the floor tickets instead of seats, the intensity of being up front at a Slayer show is second to none, though I’m glad I wasn’t the one with anything broken! Now check out the two Megadeth and six Slayer videos I shot last night that are posted below. Enjoy!