Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Iced Earth with Into Eternity and Saviours [Worcester Palladium, 10/15/2008]

In Which I Am Too Poor To Buy A T-Shirt, But Score Free French Fries And Then End Up Detouring Through Downtown Boston Largely By Accident.

With a headline like that, you know there's going to be a colorful anecdote after the show content. This will come in good time.

As on the night before, I left right after work in order to get over and buy a ticket before they sold out. This was a consequence of me being too damn busy the week before and thus unable to purchase in advance, which kind of had a knock-on effect in terms of the rest of the night. I got in, paid my $25, and after getting my first beer, realized that I didn't have enough money for a t-shirt, thanks to the door cost, getting dinner on the way out, and the fact that Kamelot was like $30 the night before, which wasn't in the budget. This sucked, but I rationalized away; better to not buy beers then, and just camp the rail. I was going to do it anyway, and the rationalization made the fact that I had to do it without a cool Iced Earth tourshirt through my belt a little more palatable.

Saviours [4.5/7]
I didn't got to the extent of finding out how long this band's been around, and thus determining if their late-80s demo-tape sound is a survival or a re-creation; they could go either way, and the fact that I didn't do this research is a strong indicator about the quality of the band. They had some nice riffs, but they never closed the deal in terms of building memorable songs out of them, and I'm not sure that anyone in attendance could accurately determine, based on the performance offered, why they were on this tour. The advantage over any random local band is pretty dubious.

Into Eternity [5.5/7]
Once again, the Palladium's shitty sound strikes down a good band. Even if Tim was back in BC because his wife was having a baby, there's no excuse for the soundboard to effectively turn off both of this band's guitars for the first song and a half. Seriously, you wankers, there's virtually nothing in Into Eternity but guitars, and if they're buried, the audience is full of people looking around at each other wondering seriously, what the fuck is going on? They recovered as soon as the sound guys got their shit together, and did a good set; the new material is pretty cool, and it's an interesting tack to take; one wonders if they're able to pry a couple points out of Century Media to send to a cancer-research fund. No Tim, though, did tell, and this wasn't quite as good a set as some of the earlier ones that I've seen from this band.

Iced Earth [7/7]
It took a while, but here it was; the real thing, in top form. There's a lot to be said about bad business and artistic decisions, and Jon's ego squandering their chances to break through massively, but that Iced Earth is one of the absolute best power-thrash bands currently operating cannot be denied. It felt like a step back, even with Matt in full cry, at the start of the set, but then "Burning Times" starts up, and someone rams into me, and my cold's gone, I'm snorting fire, and I'm back ten years to when I first heard Something Wicked... and everything is right once again. The musicianship was pretty ace, as expected from Matt and Jon, though maybe not from the three interchangeable parts backing them, and covered every record (except maybe The Dark Saga, but they might have squeezed "The Hunter" in somewhere) in at least cursory fashion, though there was a heavy weighting towards the three Something Wicked records -- only one or two from the new album, though, so Jon has a decidedly different idea of what 'touring on a record' is than, say, Steve Harris. This wasn't Iced Earth at their peak, but the reunion felt genuine, and Matt's vocals on Ripper's parts beat the CDs virtually down through the ground. No "Dante's Inferno" or "The Funeral" -- though either was pretty much out of the question from the get-go -- but we didn't have to sit through any political disquisitions from Jon; call it a wash, and also a balls-out performance that challenged Gamma Ray's set in this building last month for the best power metal outing of the year.

On the way home, I stopped as I usually do for some eats and a large cup of cold coffee to keep from crashing into stuff on the way home. I put in my normal order at the McDonald's on the pike, and because there were actually some other people there -- probably also on the way home from the gig -- I got fries tossed in that I didn't ask for. Abstractly, it's healthier to not eat McDonald's' fries than to eat them, but they came free, and technically, I was ahead on calorie burn via only drinking that one beer at the show, and spending the whole time standing. Hooray rationalization! Things got more interesting when I attempted to get off the Pike at 128, and found that the entrance to said road was closed. I followed the detour signs, but apparently not very well, because I ended up pushing east, and eventually got onto Commonwealth Avenue. This was fortunate, because I now knew how to get home. The only problem is that this involved riding into Boston; following the T in from Chestnut Hill in through Allston, through Kenmore and taking the Mass Ave bridge across to the Cambridge side to pick up Memorial Drive, then over to Route 1 and north again. Thus this trip home was kind of a superset of the roads I traveled the night before getting back from Edguy, but done later, as an extension of something that burned a hell of a lot more gas in aggregate.

In retrospect, it's not real interesting. However, even at 1 and 2 in the morning, it's possible to make an adventure out of getting lost rather than cussing because the fucking highway department decided to close the connection between two of the most major roads in the area. And it probably was shorter than following the real detour to the next exit onto 128.

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