From the door, down the sidewalk, thru the parking lot, and down the street. It was a perpetual serpent of fans! I didn't arrive at the venue until about 3:00pm, doors didn't open until 5:00pm and the show didn't start until 7:00pm, and already that was the scene at the Marquee Theater in Tempe Arizona. Several people were out with signs reading 'Needs tickets', as this show, like so many previous and I'm sure to come, had long been sold out. Who was the headlining band that these people had been standing in line for hours upon hours to see? None other than the uber fast rising band of heart pounding, adrenalin pumping, musical grand masters of metal - Five Finger Death Punch. Along for the ride to get your sweat glands going for this lesson in pure metal are Shadows Fall, God Forbid, and 2Cents.
Once thru the doors and clearing the tight security checks, many people made a mad dash for the restrooms. While others bolted to the bar, or the merchandise booth. While a few brave souls sought to rush to the front and center of the railings front of the stage. Before the show had even started there was the occasional outburst from the crowd of "Five Finger!", and the immediate response 10 times louder of "Death Punch!". As more and more people crammed into the Marquee, you could feel the excitement and energy of the crowd growing.
A few minutes before the show the members of 2Cents joked and posed for a quick picture for me as the lead singer/drummer, Adam O’Rourke went out to the stage. Piece of advice folks, when drinking, don't try to do a hand stand as Adam did. Needless to say there was a slight mishap. Which than resulted in Adam raising the energy level more with his kool-aid red projectile vomiting into a trash bin just off side stage. The laughter and, slight disgust was immense! Once cleaned up, they took the stage. This band was really getting the crowd going. A decent sized pit started and the head banging had begun. Then came the time for everyone's favorite 2Cent song, "Get What?". I don't think there was a person in the room who didn't sing the catch phrase back, "Get Fucked!". These guys are full of animation and offer a great time. And if you think you can go to one of their shows and NOT smile and have fun, don't worry. They will call you out.
Up next was the metal magic of God Forbid. This is a band is not one to play anything that isn't short of making the walls bleed. A superb performance of pure metal intensity. Watching from backstage the sea of perfectly timed head banging in the crowd proved that this is a band you will see again. The body surfing had begun, mosh pits growing in size and intensity, and security started to tighten up. The crowd was eating up as much as God Forbid could dish out. When they ended their set, the crowd was left with smiles of satisfaction and the need for a smoke.
By this time even more security had started to line the front of the stage, and just getting up to take pictures I had to flash my press pass to more than one of them. So many people were shoved into the Marquee you could make s'mores' from the amount of body heat!
And to melt the metal beams holding up the building? None other than Shadows Fall. The amount of energy in the crowd sky rocketed. The speakers that were pouring out the power of their music was pulsing into the veins of the crowd and causing a frenzy of excitement. At one point a crowd surfer had collapsed mid-surf and was rushed to a waiting ambulance. (Yes you read that right, a waiting ambulance). The members of Shadows Fall ricochet from one side of the stage to the other and occasionally lead singer, Brian Fair will venture out to the top of the crowd. It's easy to fall in love with the music that Shadows Fall is putting out. Amazing vocals, lyrics and head banging beats, and guitar styles that the late great Dimebag Darrell would be jamming to.
As I stood watching the crowd with Ivan L. Moody of Five Finger Death Punch I asked, "So how many broken bones and concussions you think we'll have at this show?". His response after looking the crowd over, "A fuck of a lot!", than he took off to the rear of the venue.
Finally the time had come, every last soul who had a ticket was in the Marquee with eyes set on the stage. The place was shoulder to shoulder, you could hardly move. So many people were standing in anticipation of the carnage that was about to take place. The unfortunate bastards who didn't have a ticket were standing in the parking lot, on the sidewalks and in the beds of their trucks waiting to hear masterminds of metal, Five Finger Death Punch. Or so we thought.
As members of the local rock music station 98KUPD (who was presenting the show for the night), came on stage we learned from The Shan-Man and Bret Vesely, and Mark Randall, that lead singer, Ivan L. Moody had come ill, thus Five Finger Death Punch would not be performing. The crowd was quick to boo, hiss and even chuck a few empty bottles of water at the stage. Lucky for us it was just a bad joke. But well played by the amazing crew of 98KUPD.
The lights went out and the electricity in the room along with the energy went up to an immeasurable amounts. So high in fact that I think a few dead birds in the parking lot were brought back to life. Once again the immense crowd of well over fifteen hundred, chanted "Five Finger!!!.....Death Punch!!!" until it happened. Taking the stage like a nuclear explosion takes anything in its path, was the band in all its glory. With guns for props, a series of laser cannons, Jeremy Spencer up on risers with his breathtaking drums, Zoltan with his new B.C Rich signature ASM electric guitar, and Ivan's amazing new microphone stand. the shows was already a success for the onslaught of fans. With every pluck of a string from a guitar, strum of the bass, and pound on the drums the screams got louder. And when the voice of lead singer Ivan L Moody flooded their ear drums, the screams went up a few more decibels. The fans were in a trance thanks to the soulful rhythms, relatable lyrics, and potency from the all around music of the band in front of them. Mosh pit after mosh pit, bodies were being shoved from side to side. Some rode the wave of hands to the front of the stage to shake hands with Ivan, while others were cautious to stand to the side and enjoy the music and the show. The enthusiasm and animation of every last band member to the crowd makes you feel as if they are playing the show for you and no one else. Taking instructions from the band the crowd didn't hesitate for once second to sing "Hey hey hey hey" for Matt, or when the band requested "When we jump up, you jump up everybody jump!" This concert was an exercise routine for the mind, body and soul for everyone within range of the music! In retrospect I'm not sure who had more energy, the crowd or the band. The set list included Burn It Down, Salvation, Way Of The Fist, Hard To See, No One Gets Left Behind, Bad Company, Bullet Proof, White Knuckles, Never Enough, Dying Breed, Monster and the ever emotional, seemingly new metal anthem of The Bleeding. This is a band and a show that you shouldn't miss.
At the end of the night, once the concert goers had since left, and there was nothing left to do but reflect. I stood on the stage with the guys of 98KUPD looking out to a floor of empty water bottles that oddly looked like jelly-fish in a sea of concrete. There was a helluva good time exuded that night. And as a side note. There were at least 4 ambulances that Ivan noticed from the stage that came to the aid of people injured. Other people injured just hopped around, broken ankles and all, to make sure nothing was missed for this article so you can be sure you don't miss ANY of these bands when they come to play near you! You won't be disappointed in any way, shape or form!