Wednesday, October 20, 2010

0 LIVE REVIEW: "BlackDiamondSkye Tour" at Key Arena (Photos)

Alice in Chains | Photo by Nik Christofferson

Alice in Chains. Deftones. Mastodon.

Whoever dreamed up the "BlackDiamondSkye Tour" deserves at the very least a reach around from Katy Perry. A fitting reward I’d imagine if there was such a thing beyond the obvious accolades from folks like myself for booking a tour consisting of three of the biggest and most revered names spanning hard rock, alt metal, and metal-- past. present. future. As you would imagine, it’s not rocket science to know exactly how this show went down.

The Key was undoubtedly AIC’s house and they owned the hometown arena for over 2 hours. Jerry, Sean, Mike and William began with “Them Bones” ended with “Would?”, and the set was flawless-- filled with all the hits and even more fanfare thanks to the big money stage arrangment and light show. Did I mention they filmed the thing in 3D for a yet-to-be-determined concert film?

A few welcome highlights included the addition of the moody Jar of Flies opener “Rotten Apple”, a tune I’m not sure I’m ever heard live before? Also, pretty much clinching the night as “epic” was the Layne Staley tribute “Love, Hate, Love”, to which William Duvall echoed the Moore Theater 2009 vocal performance that sent chills down my spine. All in all, AIC is one of the greatest hard rock acts in the world, and once again they showed why in front of a packed arena of adoring hometown fans-- hell of a show.

Deftones | Photo by Nik Christofferson

Admittedly the huge draw of the “BlackDiamondSkye Tour” for yours truly was the return of the Deftones to Seattle. No secret here, for no other reason than they have been absent in recent years due to the health issues of bassist Chi Cheng following a car wreck in 2008. I also had not realized how much I missed the Deftones until a certain surprise triumph titled “Diamond Eyes” was unleashed back in May of this year. A fine record that is still somewhere among my list of best records of the year.

In concert in 2010, the Deftones with Sergio Garcia filling in on bass looked and sounded ageless and reborn-- just as vital as the first time I saw them stir up a mud pit at End Fest ’99. Chino explored the stage with vigor, looking to be in tip-top shape physically. Vocally he made quick and savage work of material ranging all the Deftones records-- every throat shredding scream near perfect. Renditions of “Rocket Skates”, “My Own Summer”, “Be Quiet and Drive” and a double shot of ‘Adreneline’-- “Engine No. 9” and “7 Words” to end the brain blistering hour, were all highlights of the set. Chino even held down Maynard’s cameo on the ‘White Pony’ classic “Passenger”. Like I said you sometimes don’t know what you’re missing until all your senses are ravaged by an all too familiar force. In this case, the Deftones looked and sounded as vibrant and as ax murder brutal as ever.

Mastodon | Photo by Nik Christofferson
It was a little frightening when the evening’s opener took the stage at 7pm sharp and probably only a Neumos’ sized crowd was on hand. It was a weird, weird scene during the early evening Mastodon set-- so many empty seats and the floor was a ghost town. I find it hard to believe people are still naive to Mastodon in this city. Where was everyone? Oh yeah, just getting off work, and scarfing down a quick burger before the inevitable $8.50 big rock show brews started flowing. Come on (not sure who I'm ranting at), lets give folks a little time on a Friday night to get there shit togther so they can enjoy the $80 concert you are throwing. Jeebus. I actually read recently that the Madison Square Garden show boasted similiar Mastodon attendance shortcomings, an unfortunate tour logistics oversight for certain.

 Meanwhile, a short 45 minutes is not the best way to experience one of metal’s primo purveyors of ass kickery, but hey, I really can't complain. The mighty Mastodon hit on each record at least once plus a couple and it was wicked-- my own private VIP show. The single surprise of the setlist was opener “Naked Burn” off ‘Leviathan’. Other than that, the immense one-two punch of “Megalodon” and “Blood and Thunder” that closed the quick and deafening set, was just about the best primer you could ask for going into this night of heavy rock instant gratification.

See more BlackDiamondSkye Tour photos HERE

Alice in Chains Setlist:
Them Bones
Dam That River
Rain When I Die
Check My Head
Your Decision
No Excuses
Last of My Kind
Rotten Apple
We Die Young
Acid Bubble
Down in a Hole
Lesson Learned
Black Gives Way to Blue
Love Hate Love
Man in the Box

Deftones Setlist:
1. Rocket Skates
2. My Own Summer (Shove It)
3. Around the Fur
4. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
5. Diamond Eyes
6. You've Seen The Butcher
7. Sextape
8. Passenger
9. Change (In the House of Flies)
10. Birthmark
11. Engine No. 9
12. 7 Words

Mastodon Setlist:
1. Naked Burn
2. Divinations
3. Oblivion
4. Crystal Skull
5. Colony Of Birchmen
6. The Czar
7. Megalodon
8. Blood and Thunder

Words and Photos by Nik Christofferson


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