BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL

SEPTEMBER 14, 2013 • 08:14 PM

THE BATTLE OF SAN BERNARDINO

It’s been a little while since I’ve had a post strictly dedicated to music, but Friday provided a platinum opportunity to do just that. I took a vacation day and attended The Battle Of San Bernardino, a 9-hour concert featuring Iron Maiden and their buddies Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Sabaton, Overkill and Warbringer. I can confirm that the battle was very one-sided and that heavy metal won.

I used to wish for days like this as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, because while we got our fair share of touring bands coming through, we never got anything on this scale.  An all-day, all-heavy show like this was thousands of miles away, both literally and figuratively. And even though I’m not a fan of the San Manuel Pavilion because of its distant location and terrible ingress and egress, I nonetheless have an involuntary soft spot for it because it was the site of the two US Festivals that took place when I was in junior high school. In particular, the 1983 US Festival’s “Heavy Metal Day” was easily the most jealousy-inducing live music event of that era, especially after the films Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Valley Girl had already convinced me that I was, like, totally missing out on things by not being in southern California. Want to see for yourself? Van Halen’s headlining set in front of 375,000 people is right here and is a shining example of early 80s excess.

So here I am with my partners in crime for the day. The photo below was taken while Anthrax was playing “Antisocial”, and my old friend and “metal lawyer” Eric German, there on the left, just couldn’t stop singing along to that chorus. I get that. Next to Eric is guitarist extraordinaire Jeff George, whose new band Harlot will soon be selling albums and leaving trails of destruction in equal measures. Eric’s equally awesome wife Laura is second from right, and she is way more metal than you. Believe it, kiddo. Believe it.

So yeah, Iron Maiden. Let’s talk about them. It’s funny, because if you’re not into the band at all, especially here in the United States, they just sort of fly along under the radar and you never really hear about them. But they’re (not so) quietly one of the biggest bands in the world and have been for almost 30 years, even though they’ve never made the cover of Rolling Stone, never get played on the radio, and won’t ever get into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame unless they buy tickets. The crowd of 40,000 they pulled today is gigantic for them in the US but a normal day at the office in Europe, Asia, South America or Australia. Over time they’ve been able to pull off the very difficult trick of consistently making new albums of strong material that goes over well live and shows progression, but still has an instantly recognizable sound and lived-in feel from the first listen. They’re also expertly managed and have a very effective touring strategy (they alternate “new album” tours with “old stuff” tours; tonight was the latter),  and there’s not a band or manager alive who couldn’t learn something from how they’ve do things and treat people.

Tonight’s show saw the band delivering the goods - as usual. Even though I’ve seen this band at least 15 times and I saw this exact same set last year, it’s an amazing production and time stands still while it happens. The set is heavily based around the “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” album (5 of the album’s 8 songs get an airing) and numerous other mid-80s classics - “The Number Of The Beast”, “The Trooper”, “2 Minutes To Midnight”, “Phantom Of The Opera”, “Aces High” along with sing-alongs “Run To The Hills”, “Iron Maiden” and “Running Free”. But none of this would be anywhere near what it is without the band members themselves, who have all remained in excellent physical shape well into their 50s, and so there’s no tired, “drag out the hits and get outta here” vibe in the least - the band starts the show in top gear and stays there for the duration. In particular, lead singer Bruce Dickinson tears around the stage in leaps and bounds like someone thirty years younger than he actually is, which is all the more amazing considering how powerful his vocals are and how difficult those songs are to sing. If you’re not familiar with his voice, all you need to know is that his nickname is The Human Air Raid Siren, and word has it that Bruce prepares for tours by putting instrumental versions of the full 2-hour set onto an iPod and then singing it while rollerblading nonstop around a track.

And if that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

ARCHIVE

DEAD & COMPANY | DECEMBER 31, 2015 | LOS ANGELES FORUM | “SCARLET > TOUCH > FIRE! OH MY…OH MY GOD!”
January 1, 2016

DEAD & COMPANY - DECEMBER 30, 2015 - LOS ANGELES FORUM - I HAD A HARD RUN
December 31, 2015

DEAD & COMPANY | LOS ANGELES, DECEMBER 2015 | PRELUDE: FROM THE WATTS TOWERS TO THE FABULOUS FORUM
December 30, 2015

DEAD & COMPANY - LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 28, 2015: ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, AND PROBABLY NOT THE LAST ONE
November 28, 2015

DEAD & COMPANY - LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 27, 2015: FROM FEAR AND LOATHING TO NEARLY FLOATING
November 27, 2015

8-BITS SUMMER SEASON, GAME 6: MAYBE I SHOULD BE RUSTY MORE OFTEN
August 23, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, THE RECAP - 11 FINAL THOUGHTS
July 22, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, NIGHT FIVE: ALL THE YEARS COMBINE
July 7, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, NIGHT FOUR: THE NINETIES, AND A 239th BIRTHDAY
July 5th, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, NIGHT THREE: THE SLAMMIN’ LATE SEVENTIES
July 4, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, NIGHT TWO: THE EARLY EIGHTIES, MORE OR LESS
June 30, 2015

GD50: FARE THEE WELL, NIGHT ONE: TREY SILENCES THE HATERS, AND THE SET LIST IS A DREAM MADE REAL
June 28, 2015

THIS DARKNESS
June 27, 2015

8-BITS GAME 14: JUNE GLOOM
June 27, 2015

8-BITS GAME 13: THEN CAME THE LAST DAYS OF MAY
June 27, 2015

8-BITS GAME 12 - FEAR, PART IV: FREEZE
June 26, 2015

8-BITS GAME 11 - FEAR, PART III: WITCH HUNT
June 26, 2015

8-BITS GAME 10: FEAR, PART II: THE WEAPON
June 25, 2015

8-BITS GAME 9: FEAR, PART I: THE ENEMY WITHIN
June 24, 2015

RUSH - R40 OPENING NIGHT - BOK CENTER - TULSA, OK
May 9, 2015 • 2:34 AM

KYLE RAMBEAU DOMINATES THE ALUMINUM LEAGUE, AND UNFORTUNATELY THAT’S A PROBLEM
April 23, 2015 • 8:41 AM

SUBSTITUTION BLUES
March 23, 2015 • 9:15 AM

WHEN GOALIES ATTACK
March 11, 2015 • 6:46 PM

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
March 6, 2015 • 8:33 AM

8-BITS, GAME 4: A LONG WALK ON A SHORT PIER
February 23, 2015 • 6:38 PM

8-BITS vs. THE CANADIENS: WE BLEU IT
February 13, 2015 • 3:08 PM

DRAGON SLAYER
January 20, 2015 • 07:22 PM

TOP SHELVED
January 16, 2015 • 02:28 PM

8 MONTHS GONE, 8-BITS ARRIVAL
January 09, 2015 • 05:43 PM

THE LOS ANGELES SHARKS, GAME 3: “I SCORED?”
April 11, 2014 • 08:16 AM

KISS ALIVE IV: THE KISS ARMY DEFEATS THE ROCK HALL
April 09, 2014 • 10:01 PM

KISS ALIVE III - THE LOS ANGELES KISS
April 05, 2014 • 10:37 AM

KISS ALIVE II -- THE (VERY RARE) ACOUSTIC SHOW
April 04, 2014 • 09:10 AM

KISS ALIVE
April 01, 2014 • 07:14 AM

BACK TO SCHOOL, PART 3 OF 3: THE FIRST CLINICAL TEST
March 28, 2014 • 06:44 AM

BACK TO SCHOOL, PART 2: MEET THE SFSU CREW
March 25, 2014 • 08:36 PM

BACK TO SCHOOL, PART 1 of 3: WELCOME TO SFSU
March 23, 2014 • 08:14 PM

CONCERT REVIEW: TOOL WITH SPECIAL GUESTS YEAHMAN & THE BRAHS
March 18, 2014 • 02:23 PM

LA SHARKS GAIN A 3-3 TIE, BUT THAT’S NOT ALRIGHT
March 12, 2014 • 07:15 PM

HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL WEEKEND, PART 2 - THE LOS ANGELES SHARKS
March 06, 2014 • 06:54 PM

HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL WEEKEND, PART 1- MANOWAR: NONE MORE METAL
March 04, 2014 • 08:38 AM

WHO NEEDS DRUGS AND ALCOHOL WHEN YOU’VE GOT SPIRITUALIZED?
February 17, 2014 • 09:16 PM

THE LAST SKATE?
February 5, 2014 • 08:10 PM

“THIS IS THE LAST SEASON...IT’LL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW.” -Joe McGrath, GM, Charlestown Chiefs
January 14, 2014 • 07:04 AM

OUT ON A LIMB
NOVEMBER 11, 2013 • 06:47 AM

THE NEIL PEART PRACTICE PRINCIPLE
NOVEMBER 4, 2013 • 08:23 AM

RUST BUILDUP
OCTOBER 15, 2013 • 06:25 AM

PERSEVERANCE, THY NAME IS ORANGE GOBLIN
OCTOBER 10, 2013 • 08:08 PM

I HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 • 05:00 AM

THE BATTLE OF SAN BERNARDINO
SEPTEMBER 14, 2013 • 08:14 PM

PUR-PAK, MACCA...AND ME? WAIT, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 • 07:48 AM

ROSALITA! SKATE A LITTLE LIGHTER!
SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 • 09:28 AM

TRUST YOUR EDGE - EVEN IF YOU CAN’T DO BACKWARDS CROSSOVERS
AUGUST 6, 2013 • 04:19 PM

THE CUTTING EDGE
JULY 23, 2013 • 05:00 AM

TAKE HOLD OF THE SKATES
JULY 17, 2013 • 09:13 AM

I WANT TO SHOW YOU ALL MY WARES
JULY 1, 2013 • 08:30 AM

IN THE HI-FIDELITY FIRST CLASS TRAVELING SET
JUNE 28, 2013 • 08:04 PM

A SUDDEN GUST OF GRAVITY
JUNE 25, 2013 • 02:25 PM

FIRST STEPS
JUNE 18, 2013 • 03:30 PM

HOCKEY REDUX
JUNE 14, 2013 • 08:00 PM

GOLDEN GODS AND HEAVY METAL
MAY 09, 2013 • 09:49 AM

SURFERS ON A TIDAL WAVE
April 29, 2013 • 10:57 AM

SEALFIT CHALLENGE: MISSION SECURED
April 22, 2013 • 08:39 AM

MODERN DAY WARRIORS
APRIL 18, 2013 • 10:15 AM