8/11/17 The Chance Theater Poughkeepsie NY
We’re going to start this story back at Thanksgiving Eve 2016. It’s the single biggest party night of the year, and there I was, inside the Nuddy bar and grill in The Chance Theater complex in Poughkeepsie, NY. I’d just finished up watching the Trinity (Geoff Tate, Ripper Owens and Blaze Bayley), and I was hanging out with my DJ buddy Tigman and trying to convince him to play some DOKKEN songs while I anxiously awaited the arrival of Blaze Bayley. I had just met up with the trio backstage and had poor Blaze sign about a dozen album covers for me (He was very happy to do it!). He told me then that he would be making his way over to The Nuddy and that we’d have a pint together. True to his word, he showed up and we drank some Guinness while I got to ramble on to him about how much of an inspiration he had been to me as a kid.
Now, right about now, you may be asking yourself ,”Why the fuck is this asshole beginning a show review with a story from a bar a year prior?” I’m glad you asked that question, which there is a two part answer – 1. I just like boasting that I got to have drinks with my favorite IRON MAIDEN singer. It’s seriously one of my top stories. 2. It was this night that Blaze told me that he would be coming back to the area in August, which meant 9 months of building excitement, much to the dismay of anybody who had to put up with me for long periods of time, because when I get excited about something, I can’t fucking stop talking about it. So, fast forward 9 months to August 11th, 2017, and I’m walking into The Chance a few hours before the doors officially open as I help a buddy load some amps into the place. We just finished with the last one, and I was about to walk out and I see Blaze at the door, waving at me. In my mind, I’m saying to myself “,oh yeah, play it cool Drew”, but when he extended his hand for a handshake, I immediately reverted to the Chris Farley style fanboy that I am at heart, and all I could get out was “you remember that time you released Infinite Entanglement? That was cool!”
Anyway, I had a chance to preview the merchandise table and get some stuff early and get shirts while they still had them in my size (Saying I’m a huge Blaze Bayley fan can have two meanings!). Anyway, fast forward about 2 hours and it’s on to the show.
SINARO opens up the show. I had never heard of these guys before, but I was glad they finally came across my radar. Very tight band, with a sound that reminded me a little bit of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. These guys will definitely be making a name for themselves if they keep doing what they’re doing. Very impressive for an opener band.
Up next was LAST PHARAOH, a new group by local guitar mastermind Ron Toth. Where the fuck were these guys in 1987 (Prob Poughkeepsie, honestly)? Their singer, Tommy Santangelo has a Rob Halford meets Michael Kiske wail to his voice, while their drummer is an animal behind his kit. Their bassist, Michael James is impossible to photograph from the neck up, because of his windmilling and I’m pretty sure Ron Toth is filling out on applications that he plays 2200 notes a minute.
Next up was the Steve Bello band. Talented instrumental band, but they probably should have been the opener as they had a much calmer vibe than the previous bands. Sadly, their set had also been cut short, so they only got to play 4 songs, but the disappointment there didn’t last long as Blaze was set to hit the stage next.
If you haven’t seen Blaze Bayley perform live yet, you’re missing out on a very high energy show. Blaze is like a maniacal ball of energy onstage, and isn’t in the same place for more than a couple seconds. The Blaze Bayley show is a perfect blend of fast paced metal, well timed humor with the band, and inspirational words spoken from the heart. Covering songs from most of his career, Blaze busted out tunes from WOLFSBANE, IRON MAIDEN and his own solo albums. He sadly leftout a couple of albums from his solo career, but with a career that spans as long as his, it’s understandable that some sacrifices needed to be made.
“Manhunt”, “Futureal”, “Man On The Edge”, “Silicon Messiah”, etc., the list goes on and on. I was particularly stoked to witness the IRON MAIDEN song “Virus” live. It had been a staple in my arsenal for years and got played at nearly every show I played with any band I was in. As always, Blaze was ready to meet the people right after the show. He hung out until every fan that wanted an autograph or picture got one. If you see that Blaze Bayley is coming to your town, drop everything you’re doing and make sure you go. He gives 100% every time, and it’s one hell of a show for sure. He is one guy that definitely appreciates all his fans.