Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Yngwie Malmsteen/Lizzy Borden/Tchort
Live in Toronto, April 6, 2001

Reviewed By Waspman

As soon as I heard about this concert rolling through town, I knew I had to go! I've never seen Yngwie live and I'm a recently converted fan of Lizzy Borden, thanks to their awesome "comeback" album DEAL WITH THE DEVIL. I just KNEW that this was going to rule!

After standing in line in the bloody cold we were finally allowed into the venue, the Docks. For those that don't know, the Docks is truly in the center of industrial hell. I mean, we're talking buttfuck nowhere here people. Anyway, after a short wait, local boys Tchort took the stage, looking kinda…umm….goofy. Well, more specifically, the lead singer (even though 3 of the 4 band members sang at some point during the set) looked hilarious in his skin-tight leopard striped pants. Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to Tchort's set at all because I remember hearing a song of theirs somewhere in the past and not liking it. Actually, Tchort was pretty damn good, playing a rousing set that seemed to wake up the lethargic crowd. I guess I'd describe their music as a mix of Sabbath with 80's metal, with some cool twin guitar leads thrown in for good measure. Overall, an excellent set by these up & comers.

Lizzy Borden was next and was salivating at the chance to see these guys live. After about 15 minutes (this show had amazingly short times in between sets) the lights went down and "Tubular Bells" came over the speakers. The band then slammed the stage, starting with "There Will Be Blood Tonight", the opening song off their new album. Lizzy actually sang the first verse from behind the stage before running out as the first chorus began. Goddamn does this guy have a great set of pipes! He sang each song flawlessly even if he couldn't sustain the high notes as long as he does on his albums (it seemed he was slightly assisted by a vocal track but he WAS NOT lip-synching). Bassist Martin Andersson hit his runs flawlessly, meshing perfectly with Joey Scott's powerful drumming. Guitarist Alex Nelson was awesome, even contributing some great backing vocals. All the while Lizzy was in full "ringmaster" mode, playing to the crowd and running around the stage like a man possessed. Between every song he would go backstage and don a new outfit, getting into whatever character was needed for the next song. Highlights of the set included "Hell is for Heroes" (complete with crowd call & answer), "Red Rum" and especially "Me against the World" which really sparked the crowd. I was disappointed that the band didn't play "American Metal" which I had heard would be in the set, and REALLY pissed that they didn't do my personal fave, "Lovin' You is Murder" from the new album. Still, Lizzy proved that he's still got it and put on a fantastic show.

After the storm that was Lizzy Borden, the crowd was super-psyched to see guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen. The time in between sets was peppered with chants of "Malmsteen" as the anxious crowd awaited his arrival. Once again, the lights went down, and the crowd just roared as Yngwie slammed the stage…with only his drummer and bass player in tow…wtf?!?!? "O.K.", I thought, "he's just going to please the crowd and solo for awhile before really kicking in with vocals and keyboards." 10 minutes went by…then 15…then Yngwie sang "Highway Star". Still no sign of Jorn Lande (vocals) and Mats Olausson (keyboards). The entire crowd was obviously confused. Yngwie mentions that the band is just a 3-piece tonight and he'll tell us why "later". Well, later turned out to be almost an hour, at which point I was extremely irritated at Malmsteen. As it turns out, Jorn and Mats were held up at the border and not allowed into the country. FUCKING BORDER NAZIS. You can read Malmsteen's statement regarding the show here.

I know that there are a ton of people that were pissed off at Yngwie for doing the show (me included until I found out the reason for the absences), but I give the guy credit for still coming and putting on the best show he could. I mean, I was truly in awe of the guy's talent…all I can say is that everything you've heard about Malmsteen's playing is true! The guy is amazing. That being said, I didn't really want to listen to soloing for 2 hours, although John's drum solo was very cool.

Little did I know that the highlight of my night would occur as I wandered around the venue during Randy's bass solo. I went into the lounge area and who was standing there but Martin and Alex from Lizzy Borden! I immediately went up and introduced myself to them and explained that I was with Metal-Rules! Imagine my shock when Martin went "Yeah! I know that site, it's cool!" FUCK YEAH! Naturally I asked them if they had seen my review of DEAL WITH THE DEVIL - they had and loved it! * pause in the story as Waspman faints and then wakes up * Being the cool guys that they are, they chatted with me a bit and then gave me their manager's email address to set up a band interview! How cool is that? Thanks guys!

So, while Malmsteen's set was disappointing, the show as a whole was fantastic, and I strongly urge anyone who lives at or near one of the tour stops to make a point of going to see this show! Oh yeah, and hopefully look for an interview with the Lizzy Borden guys here on Metal-Rules! in the coming months!

Special thanks to Toni for getting me in to see this show, and to Julia and Ryan for just being cool!

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