Something was in the air today. As I was awakened by the phone, I had to go to the hospital early this a.m. to check in on a friend. I could feel that something was amiss, a little off center. On the cusp of a full moon, today is also the start of daylight-saving time. So, this day started out wacky for me. But it was only going to get wackier.
Three bands on the bill at Dallas' Amplified Live, some of the 1980's best metal bands, all to play at a club that might hold 1000 people, I had something positive to look forward to. Or so I thought. Upon my arrival, one hour before doors opened, there were already 150 people ahead of me in the line. By the time I got to the door, there were at least 300 behind me, and Armored Saint wasn't set to take the stage for another 30 minutes. By the time Armored Saint hit the stage the SRO floor was full.'
Armored Saint played for about 50 minutes and they came to deliver. Opening with "Reign of Fire", a scorching, full throttle assault of the senses, the crowd was really into it. John Bush is simply all business. His vocals are spot on. He encourages the crowd to sing along, and he hits every note with that youthful aggression that we all used to have when we were eighteen. It's hard to believe these guys are as old as me and still doing this stuff at this high level. "Chemical Euphoria", "Long Before I Die", and "March of the Saint" were some of the highlights of the set, where Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan bounced guitar solos off each other, while Gonzo and Joey Vera provided the bass pounding grooves that hold this band together. And they are as tight as it gets. On a small stage like this, it really made the experience better, for me. Truly aggressive, this was a solid performance from one of the classic metal bands that really has it all together, mentally and musically. March On!
I went to get a beer after the set and it was almost impossible/impassable to get to the bar. By the time that The Michael Schenker Group was about to hit the stage it was nearly unthinkable to even get to the floor again. But I did. Michael Schenker's set consisted of about ten cuts, half MSG classics and half UFO anthems. This guitar god is responsible for some of the greatest riffs of all time, tunes that started all this rock/metal stuff. The performances of "Lights Out", "Doctor, Doctor", "Rock Bottom" and "Only You Can Rock Me", made me think of really what we have onstage here, a real guitar hero. What would rock be today if he didn't come up with this stuff? The MSG list was comprised of "Armed and Ready" and "Red Sky" a cool track that I hadn't heard before, that really featured the styling's of vocalist Ronnie Romero. A cool set. Another trip to the bar.
Don't ask me, but I somehow managed to get up very close for the W.A.S.P. set to begin at 9:15, or 9:30, or 10pm. The sideshow was about to begin. But it never started.
The crowd was getting somewhat restless. Then the dreaded worst. A voice over the in house speaker system informed us that the Dallas fire marshal had decided that this venue was over capacity. And so, the show was over. "Please kindly head to the exits, all ticket purchases will be refunded. Thank you" Not all were happy. Some people were even turned away at the door earlier during MSG due to overcrowding. W.A.S.P.'s official statement was "W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless said: "The Dallas Police Department advised us to leave the venue immediately because they said they could not guarantee our safety."
And so, we all closed our tabs and left, some with t-shirts in hand. I'm not sure what truly happened, but I still had a good time. Amplified Live is a great place to see a show, but in my humble opinion, it shouldn't ever be allowed to get this crowded. It's simply not safe, especially after witnessing the recent tragic events during Halloween in Seoul, South Korea. But I still like the place, inside and out for what it is, it's a cool scene. Maybe next time.
Latest Update from the promoter 11/7/22 - "After the dust settled in Dallas, we wanted to make a clarifying statement letting everyone know that Amplified Live did not intentionally over sell the show. There was a clerical error on the venue capacity certificate that didn't include the entire outdoor venue space. When they re branded the venue, they were issued a new certificate with this omission. While that area is clearly venue space, the Dallas Fire Dept had no choice but to shut down the show because of that reason and the venue will be having a new certificate issued ASAP. Again, we are sorry for what happened."