Black Label Society - Gig Review
Posted by Hunter on Wed, 16 Feb 2011.
In 2009 Zakk Wylde had something of a wake up call due to a major health scare, and I'm so glad he paid attention to it. Since then he has remained sober, and I'm glad he's still around, because like a few others from that generation of hard hitting rock personalities, his song writing and performances are actually getting better. Following on from an awesome, well received support slot by one of the UK's best up and coming rock bands, Godsized, the packed out O2 crowd were ready to see the main act. The stage was hidden from view by a massive BLS flag whilst the road crew rushed around preparing the stage. Stage ready, Zakk and his crew took to the stage, accompanied by sirens, still hidden from view by the flag, the drums thundered into life, the flag dropped and the amps fired up.
Zakk just has this presence which, even if you're not a fan, your jaw just hits the floor. It's like the God of Thunder, Thor has just strode out onto stage wanting to impart his wisdom by blowing out your eardrums with a wall of Marshall's. And by god, you had better listen.
Quite frankly it must have been a nightmare for Zakk sorting out the setlist given that he's such a prolific song writer / guitarist. When you have a choice of songs from Ozzy Osbourne, your own solo works, and eight Black Label Society albums, with the latest being "Order of the Black", what do you do!? You obviously need to promote your new material, and we were indeed treated to the likes of Overlord, Parade of the Dead and Crazy Horse, but you need to include older, crowd favouites too. Well, Black Label Society pulled it off including tracks such as The Beginning....At Last, Funeral Bell, What's In You, Destruction Overdrive, Fire it up (with balloons), Blessed Hellride and more. Yeah, you read the bit in brackets right, "with balloons". For some reason we were treated to some very large balloon / inflatables, being batted around between the audience and the band, not quite what I expected, but great fun nonetheless.
The night was actually crowned when Neil Fish, guitarist from Godsized, came and chatted to us whilst watching BLS with us with a huge grin on his face. This was obviously Neil's metal nirvana, with Zakk being one of his long time idols.
I feel special mention should be made too of the Black Label Society fans. In general, they wouldn't look out of place in the US Ron Perlman vehicle, "Sons of Anarchy", but it has to be said, the fans I met were fantastic. Loads of massive guys bumping into one another, but no bad tempers or silly attitudes, no stupid fights, no bad atmosphere.
The show was everything you'd expect from one of the great rock showmen. Loud, brutal, tight, professional, electric. The bands performance was brilliant, interacting with the audience, the sound great, the light show spot on (no pun intended), the audience, awesome, and if Ollie Reed were alive he would have said "The wall of amps, oh, you should see the wall of amps". It was an incredible gig, and have to say should you get the chance to see Zakk, Black Label Society, you absolutely must seize upon it! Awesome!