It’s been a while since I’ve shot a Nuclear Blast show. Last time, it was Accept and Sabaton, also at the Regency Ballroom. And like last time, the performance was a crowd-pleaser. Each band was quintessential metal. The crowd was definitely into it, and so was I.
First up: Warbringer! Sometimes, particularly when there’s more than one opener, the floor is empty and what crowd there is remains mostly prosaic. Not so with this act; there was a mosh pit going almost immediately. They were just the thing to get the Regency moving.
Next up was Iced Earth. Just as Warbringer got the crowd moving, Iced Earth got the crowd thinking. They didn’t just rip out song after song – they actually took a few minutes to speak to the folks in the audience, but not so much that anyone wondered what happened to the music.
As I’ve said before, many bands sometimes forget why they’re on stage in the first place: for the fans. Iced Earth definitely took this to heart, and the fans love ’em for it. This could be seen from the headbangers at the edge of the stage to the classic metalheads in the back of the auditorium.
Finally, Symphony X took the stage. Now, I’ve wanted to shoot Symphony X for more than a year. Everything I’d seen and heard about them sounded awesome, but being there in-person is something else entirely. This is not just a metal band. Some of their songs were simply aural emotion crafted into music and laid bare.
This was both unexpected and magical, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The moshers had been going all night… yet for some of Symphony X’s performance the crowd paused to listen, rapt to the mystic sounds emanating from the stage. It’s quite something to see a venue full of wild, moshing metalheads suddenly pause, as if in communal meditation, entranced.
I don’t know when Symphony X will next visit the Bay Area, but I hope I’m there for it.