It’s been really difficult for me to write on RBM in a really long time. I’ve had my head elsewhere because of school and shit- but don’t worry, I’ve still been at the Palladium a ridiculous amount. I’ve recently seen a lot of shows, with a lot of bands that I really care about, but for some reason my heart just wasn’t in it. I was taking these experiences for granted. This changed when I went to my third concert of the week. This show reminded me of my roots, of my upbringing into the brothers of metal. It filled a void in my life that had been growing for six years. The Kings of Metal, Manowar, had finally returned to Massachusetts.
Joey DeMaio promised on their last tour that they would be back, so I don’t know why I was so surprised when the Palladium date got announced. I will admit that I had my fair share of doubts about the concert. I wasn’t sure if I would go see them this time around. In fact, I was so ambivalent that the biggest reason I decided to buy a ticket was so I could write about it here. There had been some weird stories swirling around them, and that paired with the $Jesusfuck ticket price in advance was enough to make me think it over for a few weeks. I am now ashamed. Totally, completely and utterly fucking embarrassed. Their performance on Saturday night was nothing short of incredible, and if you didn’t go, then I’m not sorry to say that you are the poorer for it. So lets start from the top, shall we?
The crowd started lining up at 11am, with the first people there being a personal friend of mine (rock on Spence, you totally deserve this shout-out), and another person from Philadelphia. You’ve got to wake up pretty early in the morning, is all I’m saying. I got there at a reasonable 6pm, for doors being at 7. The line for people that had bought tickets in advance was already just about to turn the block. Looking over the crowd, I felt rejuvenated. To see the audience that attends a Manowar show is to remind you who your brothers and sisters are. There was a feeling of camaraderie while waiting in line. It was alright to talk with the people around you- you’ve all been waiting for this day, you’ve probably all been at least lightly teased for liking Manowar at some point, and perhaps a bit harsher for paying $75 to see them. The Palladium seemed to have all their bouncers on hand, some of them were going up and down the line with announcements. It sort of surprised me, and sort of didn’t. No photography whatsoever, and if you were caught you were thrown out of the venue. It’s Manowar, ok? They could have told me that no one gets in without giving them a bag of M&Ms and I would have gone with it. They were also handing out drinking bracelets in line to get people in quicker. That was awesome, and Palladium, if you’re reading this, keep that.
Fast-forwarding a bit to the show: I’m mostly going to skip Holyhell. You all know that I don’t trash metal musicians, because we are ALL BROTHERS OF METAL, and that our music is so diverse only makes us stronger. Seeing them perform did force me to see that they have some talented musicians- plus their cover of Dio’s Holy Diver was pretty cool. I’m not offended by their music, they just aren’t my thing. Moving on.
If you’ve heard a live rendition of their title track recorded in America, you know how the show began. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the United States of America- all hail- Manowar!” Then queue up something like this:
Here is the setlist, since I don’t want to write it all here. Look at it. Closer. Yeah, that’s right, Kings of Metal. TWICE. Joey DeMaio stopped the song during the call-and-response. Remember when I said that the Palladium had a ton of security there? Any less and there wouldn’t have been enough to catch all the crowd surfers (the bane of my existence as a fixture in the front row). People were getting hurt, and not like knocked in the head accidentally but it’s a metal show so get over it hurt. Like, seriously hurt. I’ve been to my fair share, and before Mr. DeMaio stopped the song, this concert had the biggest crowd surfer:song ration I’d experienced. That shit isn’t appropriate for a Manowar show. So Mr. DeMaio stops the song, and tells security that if any more crowd surfers get caught, to give them back their money and kick their asses out of the hall. Some may say that it was totally un-metal of him to do so. To those, I would say this: “Fuck You. You go to a Manowar show to headbang with your brothers. You go to a Warbringer show to crowd surf. If the crowd surfers had continued, an actual fist-fight would have taken place between those of us in the front and anyone punching people in the head- which was actually taking place. There is a time and a place to crowd surf. That time and place is not in the vicinity of Manowar. Second, we got to hear two different solos for Kings of Metal, what the fuck do you have to complain about? Lastly, what is and is not metal is for Manowar to decide, not you.” This would probably end with me making a Sign of the Hammer at you and walking away in disgust.
The topic of Joey DeMaio’s speech was somewhat related: Assholes. I can’t do any sort of justice to it, so if you missed it, you missed it, and that’s just too bad for you. Just know that he threatened several people, it was awesome, and it ended with him downing a beer.
This show was utterly fantastic. Carl Logan was on FIRE! Even with the Ross the Boss solos, his performance was exceptionally executed. Eric Adams still has his amazing range of high and low, clean and rough, that I would do unspeakable things to have for myself. Donnie Hamzik had a very good show with the guys, and as it was his first show, I’m going to be nice. The thing that I thought was the biggest improvement: Mr. Hamzik looked like he was actually enjoying himself. He looked happy to be there, playing in Manowar again in front of an audience. Joey DeMaio. What can I say about him? The music was perfect of course. But I guess what I have to say about him I can say about Manowar as a whole as well: that the energy, the stage presence, the attitude is all still there just as much as it ever was.
That sort of brings me to my point of this article. Manowar’s music is, to me, just as good as it ever was. Who gives a fuck if members are eccentric? While our genre is certainly not exempt of the hero-worship that other musics display- perhaps ours is indeed more prevalent- I was sort of hoping that we would be beyond bring a microscope to our favorite musicians. They aren’t some Hollywood celebrities. They are the Kings of Metal. I’m not exempt from this, I did get caught up in it for a while. But you know, making music is their job. It’s the reason we listen to Manowar. They don’t just make up some bullshit and play it, they believe in what they’re saying. Because of them, we know that it’s okay to wear leather and play our music louder than hell. So, ladies and gentlemen, all hail MANOWAR!
PLAY THIS SONG LOUDER THAN HELL!