OMG! I’ve finally seen the light! The salvation I suppose one could say. It’s taken awhile but it finally happened. The albums never famously got along with me. I’ve seen Armored Saint 3 or 4 times in the past but still didn’t take to them with a rabid passion. So many friends speak so highly of them and I always wondered what I was missing. I mean, how can you go wrong with a vocalist like John Bush. The best and certainly most listenable Anthrax album (IMHO) in the catalog. And so another attempt as they rolled into Toronto during their Symbol of Salvation Tour.
ACT OF DEFIANCE – Opening Band
Act of Defiance started off the evening promptly at 8pm. The band formed in 2014 by former Megadeth members Chris Broderick (guitar) and Shawn Drover (drums). On vocals is Henry Derek and Matt Bachand handles bass. To be completely honest, they were not my flavor so much. Not to say that they were bad, I’m just searching for a tad more melody and no growling vocals personally. During a couple of songs, the melody and clean vocals surfaced, but just not in enough abundance for my tastes. But, what the hell do I know? Several fans clamored down front and displayed raised fists the entire set.
So, as I said previously…my salvation! During the current Armored Saint tour, they are featuring the Symbol of Salvation album in its entirety. The show took place on Tuesday, July 17 at Toronto’s Mod Club Theatre. The second of two back to back concert nights for me. Everything about this evening is exactly how a concert should be. And I’m comparing to the night before. Firstly the ticket price at the door read $35. Last nights was $50 in advance. There was only one opening band and the show started at 8pm. No need for headliners going on at 11pm as people have to work the next day. The headliner played for an hour and 45 minutes. The night before’s more expensive show saw the headliner on stage for only one hour and 15 minutes!
ARMORED SAINT – Headliner
Things started off with “March of the Saint”, surprising me at how well I knew the song. Right away I was sucked in, been waiting for this to happen! The band sounded amazing as well. Bush was so strong vocally. Again, I knew “Long Before I Die” way better than I thought and “Chemical Euphoria” flowed next.
From there it was into Symbol of Salvation in the correct running order. The opening three tracks of the set were delivered in rapid succession, but now Bush took a moment to introduce Symbol of Salvation. He questioned if we were ready, if we knew the lyrics. They launched into “Reign of Fire”, followed by “Dropping Like Flies”, “Last Train Home”, and “Tribal Dance”. OMG, was I ever a believer now! From time to time throughout the Symbol of Salvation presentation, he took time to introduce track. There were stories of ripping pants on stage and bright red underwear on clear display. He told us how much fun it was to play songs like “The Truth Always Hurts” as they’d never done so until this tour.
Armored Saint‘s original guitarist, David Earl Pritchard wrote these songs Bush informed. But Metal Blade kept the band going he added. He also talked about how guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan had both played at times with Pritchard before his death. But the two had never played together until Duncan filled Pritchard‘s space in Armored Saint. Of course, Armored Saint also features original members Gonzo Sandoval (drums) and Joey Vera (bass).
I found the energy ramping down a little during the mid portion of the album, but by the time they got into “Warzone” I was back on track! The awesome ripper “Burning Question” had the crowd singing right along, me included! Closing out the album run we found “Tainted Past” and “Spineless”. I can’t wait to listen to the Symbol of Salvation album when I get home! Wrapping up their first visit to Toronto in 18 years with a wicked encore pack including “Left Hook from Right Field”, “Win Hands Down” and “Can U Deliver”. What an even stronger finish!
Symbol of Salvation has been in my headphones all day at work for the last two days. Also, Win Hands Down! I’ve finally see Salvation!