I decided to scrap my plans to go to Wacken this year to witness the final metal show at the historic Effenaar Club in Eindhoven Holland and the Dynamo Open Air in Hellendoorn and boy am I glad I did. The Effenaar was destroyed the week after the show to make room for a new building.
Laaz Rockit and Testament Destroy the Effenaar!
I had a hunch what was awaiting me but everybody was in for a real treat. I got there and hooked up with some of my friends and went over to the Effenaar Club for the soundcheck. Doug Hall (Testament and Iron Maiden) was doing a great job with the mix. Everything was tuned just right. Side note for those of you interested – Testament was tuned to 420 and Laaz Rockit kept it at 440. Then it was time for us to leave because we wanted to eat dinner before the show. Doors opened around 7:45. There was a local band playing as well so we took our sweet time with dinner because we thought they would open up the show and possibly play for 45 minutes. Well what we didn?t know that band was the closing band. So we almost missed the beginning. Luckily my good friend came running over to the restaurant to tell us that Laaz Rockit will be going on in about 5 minutes. We walked in the building and it was pretty much right then when Laaz Rockit busted into Fire in the Hole. I was blown away. The sheer intensity of Laaz Rockit was mind blowing. It was like they never stopped playing. They were in total harmony and Michael Coons was incredible. His voice was much more intense and a tad raspy which made it much more brutal sounding. You could clearly see these guys loved every second of being on that stage. Willie Lange was acting as insane as back in the day jumping around and head banging like a lunatic. I thought it was funny as well when Michael introduced the band he introduced the drummer as Dr. Agnello. He was joking that some people did a bit more than others with their time off. The highlight was when Willie?s kids came on stage head banging much like their dad and singing Back Breaker with Michael. All in all a true treat for any thrash metal fan.
Laaz Rockit setlist:
Fire In the Hole
Spared From The Fire
Forced To Fight
Most Dangerous Game
Shot To Hell
City’s Gonna Burn
Then it was time to make my way all the way up to the front. There was quite a long time for set change due to some technical difficulties. After like 45 minutes of getting things back the way the were supposed to be Testament came on with full steam. They opened with the Preacher. As always, Johnny Tempesta was a master behind his drum kit. Alex played his solos amazingly, most of the time even with his eyes closed. He told me that it is much easier for him that way. I guess you truly have to feel the music. Watching him is such a treat. Chuck Billy was in great form, pulling the crowd in right from the start. Greg Christian on bass was awesome. I haven?t seen him or Alex since the Thrash of the Titans show on stage. Eric as always was right on the mark. He had a few issues with the stage divers knocking over his microphone and stepping on his pedals. Boy let me tell you there were so many stage divers. During Over the Wall I would estimate there were 10 ? 20 people on the stage at all times including me and I haven?t dived of a stage in at least 15 years. The band played 8 songs with Johnny Tempesta then brought out Louie Clemente the original drummer and played the other 7 songs with him. It was so great to see the original lineup perform at a smaller club. I would say there were about 800 people probably and the place was sold out. I have to say this was possibly the best Testament show I have ever seen.
Testament set list:
Sins of Omission
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Trial by Fire
Practice what you Preach
Let go World
Over the Wall
7 Days of May
Disciple of the Watch
Then it was time to get some rest because Hellendoorn where the Dynamo was held was about 100Miles/160 Kilometers away from Eindhoven which is located in the South of Holland. We drove for about 2 ? hours due to the rain and we had to check into the hotel prior to going to the show. It took as a very long time to find the open air due to the fact that there were hardly any signs. Due to that we missed a bunch of bands including Masterplan, Mercenary and Laaz Rockit which we heard while we were trying to figure out the ticket situation outside. I was told by them later that they had some difficulties with their sound so they weren?t as happy with this show as they were with the Effenaar show. Since it had been raining pretty much all day the festival grounds were a mess. I can?t remember the last time I have seen so much mud. Oh wait I never have seen this much mud in my life. I almost lost my shoes a few times while trying to make my way to the stages. One cool thing was that they had tents so it wasn?t a true openair. The sad part was that there was room for 10,000 people and only roughly 3000 showed up. I have a hunch there was a lot of money lost.
The first band that we heard was EverGrey, I have to say not my bag of tea at all. As soon as they finished, another rainstorm hit and it rained so hard for like 5 minutes that there was even more mud and dirt. I was positive I had to throw away my shoes when I was done. To top it off, it was also very cold and being cold and wet doesn?t really agree with me that much.
Finally we got our tickets all sorted out and I got a backstage pass to go talk to people in the backstage area. I saw Alex Skolnick and talked to him for a while. I asked him if there would be another Testament record with him on it and he said that he wasn?t asked at this point but he would be interested. One can only hope, imagine a Testament record with the original lineup!
We saw Gorefest play from the side of the stage and they were really good, the singer was so heavy. I liked his vocal style very much. Got to hand it to the man, I found out that he broke his foot a few weeks ago, took his cast off right before Dynamo, played the show and got a new cast on Sunday morning. That is so old school!
After that was Obituary. I was positively surprised, they tore it up. They were awesome. I know it wasn?t James Murphy on guitar but still that is another band that looked like they never stopped playing. Great show they put on.
Then it was time again for Testament to hit the stage. As always Chuck immediately pulled in the crowd. The setlist didn?t change much. After the first song it was cool to see all the Anthrax guys walked onto the back of the stage and were standing right next to Johnny Tempesta. They were making faces at him all the time. Testament played about one 1:05 hours and again Louie came out after a few songs. Chuck announced that it was the first time since 1987 for Alex, Greg or Louie to play at the Dynamo Festival. It is my understanding that the Dynamo Festival was the second show they did in 1987 after the Dynamo Club. Anthrax was also on the Dynamo Open Air bill in 87.
Then it was time for Jon Olivia?s Pain to come on and I have to say I was very disappointed. Generic metal, nothing that drew me in. I watched two songs and moved back to the backstage tent to warm up. After his show ended, it was time for Anthrax to prepare. I was very interested in seeing this show due to the fact the first thrash show I ever saw was Testament and Anthrax so I was very interested in the original lineup. In my book Joey is the singer for Anthrax and again I was proven right. Pretty much right on time the lights went dark and the blues brothers intro started immediately followed by Among the Living. The energy was incredible. Joey was running around and Scott and Frank were jumping around. Dan Spitz was into it as well. It looked like they had a really good time and were enjoying themselves very much. Johnny Tempesta was standing next to Charlie the whole time telling him let me play the next song. I found out that he told Benante before the show just to stay in the dressing room because he was going to play the songs.
Unfortunately due to the weather I decided to take off after NFL which was the 5th song so I missed Chuck Billy doing guest vocals during Indians. But then again since it started raining again probably a wise choice I made because we had to park in a field which was pretty much already destroyed by all the cars that parked there. We got out fairly easy and miraculously found our hotel very fast. Actually much faster than we found the Dynamo gig.
The Dynamo show was a bit disappointing I have to say. I expected more from a show that usually has up to 100,000 visitors. T-shirts were expensive and they didn?t even have any 2XL. I can?t believe that nobody wears 2XL in Holland. The best thing next to the bands was all the different food choices they had. That was great. The prices were right as well.
I hope we will see another Dynamo but after the low attendance I wouldn?t be surprised if this was the last one. Granted it had been raining for a few days and it was cold but they had a great lineup so no excuse for the metal heads not to show up if you ask me.
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