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Diamond Head in Wisconsin and Illinois

Discussion in 'Live Concert Reviews.' started by opera races, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    At the end of August I flew up to Milwaukee (where I’m from originally) to see Diamond Head in three separate shows in Wisconsin and Illinois during their recent USA tour. By the way, if it wasn’t for Diamond Head you might not be seeing the other concert reviews here about the “Big 4” ;) Diamond Head is the band who originally wrote “Am I Evil?”, that song Metallica is known for covering :D Currently Diamond Head has just one member from the band’s original lineup – Brian Tatler, lead guitarist and the guy who wrote all the great classic Diamond Head music and guitar riffs. However the current band lineup has been together for awhile, is really tight, and does more than justice to not only the old classic Diamond Head songs but has put out excellent new music too.

    Following is more of a concert report than a concert review ... and yes I am a huge fan of this band to the point of being a silly fan girl at times but these guys kicked butt!

    Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin - August 25, 2011

    Initially I arrived at the venue, the Wild Horse Saloon Banquet Hall, a bit early, around 7:20 pm even though what I had seen gave a time of 8:00 pm. I didn’t see anyone around outside. The doors weren't locked so I walked in. I caught a glimpse of the stage and the Diamond Head backdrop and thought I saw the singer Nick Tart too but I didn't want to stand there and gawk at everything. A gentleman at the front where it looked like they would be selling tickets explained I was early and that they wouldn't be letting people in until eight. I nicely replied something like no problem, I'll come back later on.

    A little after eight I returned and walked back into the banquet hall. I still didn’t see a lot of people around for the show. I bought my ticket then saw Karl Wilcox, the drummer, walk by. He said hi and commented on my t-shirt (a What's In Your Head? album logo t-shirt I was fortunate to buy from the web site a few years ago). I saw Brian Tatler, the lead guitarist and main songwriter, said hi, quickly explained about how I had come up from Florida and asked whether he could sign my copy of his book which I had brought along (his autobiography published in 2009) (I’d ordered the book from the web site and forgot to ask to have it autographed). After Brian signed the book we chatted for awhile then he had a show to get ready for which I understood perfectly. In the meantime before the show started I also got to meet and chat with the rest of the guys in the band including the singer, Nick Tart, guitarist Andy “Abbz” Abberley and bassist Eddie Moohan. The guys in Diamond Head are the nicest, most down-to-earth people you can possibly meet and talk with.

    The opening band was from (I think) Wausau and called Led Devil.

    Unfortunately not a large number of people had showed up by the time Diamond Head was about to play. Don't ask me for a number; I'm not sure but yes the crowd was somewhat sparse. Well, those that did not come that is their loss as far as I'm concerned.

    I walked up to the stage, right up at the front and chose a spot between where I figured Brian and Nick would be performing. I didn't travel 1,200 miles and then some to watch Diamond Head from the back, did I? Ok, I admit that Brian is near the top of my list of favorite guitar players and Nick is one of my favorite singers if not my favorite singer right now but I still don't want to come off like I'm playing favorites in the band. I think all the guys in the band are excellent at what they do and as far as I'm concerned there are no passengers in Diamond Head.

    Another note, since I have spent the better part of my 10 or 12 years as a Diamond Head fan (yes I discovered Diamond Head late as I also came into Megadeth and Metallica surprisingly late for someone my age) expecting that I would see Diamond Head play in the USA (or be able to go to the UK and see the band there) around the same time as you-know-where freezes over, I hadn't contemplated their set lists for live shows too deeply. When I heard they were coming to the USA I figured the songs Metallica covered were a given. Otherwise I didn't have too many ideas on what other songs the band might play. I was hoping they would play In The Heat Of The Night which became a favorite live track of mine after buying and watching their live DVD, To The Devil His Due, of the London Astoria show in 2005 (numerous times). I was also hoping they would play songs from the two latest albums, All Will Be Revealed and What's In Your Head? I wondered whether they would tailor their set list toward Metallica fans and American musical sensibilities in general (the way I think Apocalyptica did the two times I saw them in Florida) or go along with what was working for and felt good to them. I was hoping for the latter.

    About all I can say about the Diamond Head set itself in Wisconsin Rapids is total awesomeness. It was both very wonderful and very surreal at the same time. Up until I returned home to Florida I was expecting to wake up at any moment because I almost couldn't believe any of it had actually happened. The guys played great and looked like they were having a blast as they seem to in every live video I've seen of the band - more reasons why I like Diamond Head so much and why they were at the top of my list as a band I wanted to see play live.

    I didn't write down the exact set list of the Wisconsin Rapids show. At most shows I attend I manage to jot down notes at about every other song but I was too into the music and enjoying the concert to even think about taking out my little notebook and try writing anything down! I know basically what the band played and I compared notes with the Bolingbrook and Milwaukee set lists I was able to photograph and with other set lists from Diamond Head dates in North America. What I noticed is that there was a subtle variation between most of the set lists which I thought was very cool. I have a lot more respect for bands who can vary their set lists and mix it up at least a little from date to date than play the exact same set list almost by rote during an entire tour.

    Pray For Me IMO turned out to be an excellent choice as a newer Diamond Head tune to play at all the shows. To me it seems to be one of those songs you don’t consider while listening to the studio version then somehow works out very well as a live tune. Each time I heard the song at the shows I attended I got more and more into it and appreciate it more now when I listen to it on the newest of Diamond Head’s albums, What’s In Your Head?

    I was very excited to hear the band play In The Heat of the Night!

    The Prince is another one of my favorites of the classic Diamond Head tunes.

    Sucking My Love I’ve always really liked the music. The lyrics ... erm ... I decided I might as well have a sense of humor about it at the shows!

    Another regular in the set at all three shows I saw was Give It To Me from All Will Be Revealed. I was glad to hear more than one song from the newer albums with Nick.

    Then of course there’s Diamond Head’s signature tune Am I Evil? What can I say about that song that most metal fans don’t know already? It was great to see for myself Am I Evil? played live (three times!).

    For their encore the band played Lightning To The Nations.

    Since none of the venues I saw Diamond Head at were exactly enormodomes, the stage not too far up off the floor, no barriers between the stage and the audience, and I made it a point to be right up at the front, I had the privilege of being able to watch Brian play guitar up close. That was AWESOME! I don’t play guitar myself and even go as far as to joke that I’m a half tone deaf guitar illiterate but I do appreciate listening to excellent guitar playing and seeing it even more!

    It was pretty much the first time that I had ever been right up front at any sort of concert, a very new experience for me. At the Wisconsin Rapids show I think I was a bit shy about leaning in too far to watch Brian play up close. Then at Bolingbrook and Milwaukee I decided it seemed ok to do that. Being right up front while the band members interacted with the audience - that was crazy to me but it was sooo AWESOME!

    I brought along my old Sony Digital Mavica FD camera but honestly after getting a few decent shots at the Wisconsin Rapids show I concentrated more on enjoying the Diamond Head concerts and getting into the music than on taking pictures. I feel the audio and video of all three shows will remain vividly in my head forever.

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    to be continued ...
     
  2. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Bolingbrook, Illinois - August 27, 2011

    Late Thursday afternoon on Aug 27 I left my friend M.'s home where I was staying during my time in Milwaukee and once again hit the road, this time heading to Bolingbrook, Illinois. From M.'s place it is a little more direct to take the "back roads" most of the way. The drive through Wisconsin was all right. The drive through Illinois was simply horrid and by the time I got to Bolingbrook I was feeling a bit stressed out - and I hadn't even found the venue yet. After taking a little breather I at last arrived at Tailgater's Sports Bar & Grill, a little later than I had planned on, but not actually late for anything. I am at a sports bar in suburban Chicago ... Not that it's a bad thing. I could see from the web site that it is a venue that has had quite a few fairly well known rock bands play there regularly and I also noticed, not that I'm an expert or pro or anything, but the stage setup at the back was a good size and looked nice and professional.

    When I first entered Tailgater's, the bouncer checking ID’s looked at my Florida driver's license and commented I had come a long way. I smiled and laughed. I saw Abbz and Jeff finishing up their dinner at a table up toward the front and I sat down and talked with them for awhile until they needed to leave to go back to the hotel before returning for the show.

    There were three bands that played before Diamond Head. I thought there was going to be two but there turned out to be three.

    The first was a cover band called Lost Souls who played a decent set of mostly 80’s hard rock tunes.

    The next band was Blackfinger. Not sure how to describe them. Their Facebook page says doom/psychedelic/rock.

    I walked up to my now regular spot up front and to the right at the stage thinking Diamond Head was up next and instead Bangalore Choir played. I thought Bangalore Choir had been the previous band and didn’t know about Blackfinger but one of the guys standing up at the front with me explained the situation to me. I decided Bangalore Choir was a pretty good band, fairly melodic. The singer, David Reece, previously sang with Accept for a time. I might look into Bangalore Choir more when I get a chance (so many records; so little ...).

    When I first approached the stage I saw some guys who seemed to be Diamond Head fans or at least knew about Diamond Head and liked music so I managed to get out of my shell and chat about Diamond Head and music with them and listen to what they had to say.

    There was definitely a larger crowd at Bolingbrook than at Wisconsin Rapids but I couldn’t say exactly how many people. Once I planted myself in my spot, I could see people around me and the crowd seemed to go fairly far back but again I’m not sure of a number.

    Diamond Head’s set list at Bolingbrook. One of the guys standing next to me at the front jotted down the set list for himself then was nice enough to let me take a picture of his list.

    Play It Loud
    Nothing To Lose
    The Prince
    Give It To Me
    To Heaven From Hell
    In the Heat of the Night
    It's Electric
    Pray For Me
    Sucking My Love
    Helpless
    Am I Evil?
    Encores
    Lightning To the Nations
    Streets of Gold

    Between the three Diamond Head shows I attended, I would say Bolingbrook was the best one. Of course the band played and sounded great. There seemed to be something electric in the air. The interaction between the band and the audience was great and lots of fun. Personally I found the show so, so, AWESOME!

    The band played Nothing To Lose from What’s In Your Head?, something a little different from the Wisconsin Rapids show and again I thought it very cool that they played a song from one of their newer albums.

    I was very happy to hear In The Heat of the Night again. At the beginning of the song I happened to look over at the guy standing to my right and we looked at each other and were both screaming, “That’s my favorite song!” at the same time!

    Nick’s rendition of Sucking My Love that night was absolutely over the top!

    The band played Lightning To The Nations for an encore. Then I was sort of surprised yet not surprised when they played a second encore, Streets of Gold. We had been such a good audience and the band was having such a good time we deserved it!

    After Diamond Head’s set I stayed and hung around by the merch table and got to chat with the guys again.

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    to be continued ...
     
  3. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin - August 28, 2011

    My friend M. and I had planned on going to the Milwaukee show together from the start but I joked with her that taking her to the Diamond Head show was her reward for putting up with me all week. I’m not going into specifics, but I’m really, really glad in more ways than one that M. went to Shank Hall with me.

    Previously I had sent M. some Diamond Head CD’s, so she could acquaint herself with the band’s music, which she told me both she and her husband listened to. On the night of the Shank Hall show I gave M. a crash course on the Diamond Head set list - Am I Evil is their signature song ... Sucking My Love is about ... Metallica covered ... Pray For Me is from the newest album ... my favorite is In The Heat of the Night and I like The Prince (which has the unconventional structure) a lot too ...

    I told M. it was her turn to drive. We had an unfortunately mediocre dinner at a restaurant not too far from Shank Hall but I was too excited to eat anyway. If the dinner had been better I would have an amusing story about the name of the restaurant ...

    As M. was about to turn left on N. Farwell Ave. (a one-way street) to look for a place to park, [silly fan girl mode]I saw Nick at the corner about to cross the street. I said to M., “That’s Nick!” Then, “M., that’s Nick!.” Then, “M., THAT’S NICK!!!” as I tried to figure out how to honk M.’s car horn. Nick crossed the street in front of us. M. finally realized who and what I was talking about. Nick waved at us and walked on.[/silly fan girl mode]

    Shank Hall is a quirky (to me) little venue on the east side of Milwaukee that came into being some time after I left Milwaukee.

    M. and I got drinks from the bar and settled down at a table near the front along the wall. We checked out the pictures on the wall. All sorts of bands and musicians have played at Shank Hall.

    I introduced M. to members of the Diamond Head gang as we saw them around Shank Hall before the show and some very AWESOME conversations were had with some very AWESOME people. We talked with Jeff who built Karl’s drum kit and was traveling with the band as a tech and helping out in other ways. M. and I also talked with Roman who was traveling with the band and doing a documentary video of Diamond Head’s USA tour.

    Brian came to the table where M. and I were sitting and talked with us for awhile. Very AWESOME!

    A man who originally was from England but now lived in Milwaukee came to the show with several items he hoped to have Brian sign. He had an old photograph from a Diamond Head show in London that he’d attended, several old Diamond Head singles and booklets from various Diamond Head CD’s. As Brian signed the items he showed them to M. and I. It was really neat to see the guy’s Diamond Head collection. I have a couple of the old singles myself but his were in much nicer condition!

    The opening band was Burning Sons, a local hardcore punk metal group.

    Right before Diamond Head’s set I planted myself in my spot at the front to the right between where Brian and Nick would be. M. stood to my right and Roman was at the far right to record video.

    Diamond Head’s set list at Shank Hall:

    Play It Loud
    Mine All Mine
    The Prince
    Give It To Me
    To Heaven From Hell
    In The Heat of the Night
    It’s Electric
    Pray For Me
    Sucking My Love
    Helpless
    Am I Evil?
    Encore
    Streets of Gold

    I was thrilled to hear the band play Mine All Mine, the first track from All Will Be Revealed and the first album with Nick. I think it’s a great tune and I’m always reminded of the first time I listened to AWBR (a copy of the tour edition I was lucky enough to get my hands on before the album was officially released) and the impact it had on me.

    Again, it was great to see In The Heat of the Night played live. I just love the video clip of that song from the live DVD that’s on the web site and ever since wanted to see that song played live for myself. I think In The Heat of the Night is simply a great well put together song and I love how the band performs it live. Then getting to see the song performed live three times ... AWESOME!!!

    Overall the band played great at Shank Hall and looked like they were having such a good time. Ever since I first got a hold of and watched the live DVD (numerous, numerous times by now) and saw what a great live band Diamond Head is and how much fun the guys seemed to be having on stage, those are some of the reasons why I wanted so see this band soo badly! Even on You Tube videos with less than stellar sound and video quality IMO you can still tell the band is playing great and having a blast every time they play!

    In a way I was also feeling ... for lack of a better term ... sad ... because I knew this was the last of the three Diamond Head shows on the USA tour I would be attending. I didn’t want it to end! The whole experience was still feeling like a very wonderful but very surreal dream I might wake up from at any moment.

    After the show M. and I hung around and chatted with everyone some more. M. made sure I got my picture taken with the band. We said our good-byes and left Shank Hall. As M. drove past Shank Hall on our way home, we saw the guys loading up their van, getting ready to go to their next destination.

    Both M. and I had a total blast seeing Diamond Head at Shank Hall. I feel like I made another convert to Diamond Head!

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  4. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Here’s a couple of You Tube videos I found from the shows I attended. In the Bolingbrook video I know I’m in there ... somewhere ... up front at the far, far right but all the guys around me were all taller than me and I still can't see myself in there lol. In the Shank Hall video you can at times, at the lower right, see the top of my head bobbing to the music ... too funny! And of course the band is playing great!





    (BTW why is almost every You Tube video of Diamond Head on their USA tour and others the song Am I Evil? The band does other songs quite well too ;))
     
  5. Slip'nn2Darkness

    Slip'nn2Darkness Sub Sonic Soul Shaker

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    Opera races.. EXCELLENT write up!!:grinthumb God I so want to go to Wisconsin for some good music concerts.. I swear I think that place has some of the best garage bands and some of the best concerts ever.. Summerfest comes to mind..

    I'll have to come back here when I have more time and read all this good stuff you posted..

    Your here in Florida.. Closer than me to some good concerts around Tampa.. But to me.. The stuff the Wisconsonites enjoy has to be one of the hot spots for some great times..
    Not to mention this place..

     
  6. LOU/REALM

    LOU/REALM Senior Member

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    Great gig write up Opera Races ! Great to see other people with enthusiasm about a truly great band DIAMOND HEAD !
    Ive seen the band twice ,once locally ....where they were ok, passable performance . Then last year at a festival with the big boys URIAH HEEP. U.F.O, SAXON, HELLOWEEN etc .....where on the big stage they were absolutely superb !!! Probably the best performance of the evening !!! :bow:That is some achievement with the competition they had.........I see a DIAMOND HEAD thread coming along.....:grinthumb
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  7. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    I feel like I was there with you Opera Races...:clap:

    Thanks so much for putting all this effort into your review.:cheers:
     
  8. Lynch

    Lynch Here for the cookies and the tunes

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    Sweet write-ups! I wasn't even aware these guys were still together and/or touring.

    Good job! :cheers2
     
  9. Sox

    Sox Avoiding The Swan Song

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    Nice one Opera Races, it's good to hear that the band members were so down to earth and friendly. I think a lot of the NWOBHM musos seem to be easy going characters. I'll have to look out for the next batch of UK dates as your write up has inspired me. :cheers2
     
  10. eberg15101

    eberg15101 Senior Member

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    I only knew a couple songs by these guys, but they seem like a great live band:grinthumb

    Awesome writeup!:D
     

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