Black Label Society – Gig Review, Brisbane, The Tivoli
A large crowd had already gathered at The Tivoli in Brisbane before the doors even opened on Sunday night. Again Brisbane fans had to cope with a Sunday night show of an A-grade metal band. This time around not too many were discouraged by the Sunday date. The Tivoli was packed and close to a sell-out crowd. And rightly so, because Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society was in town and the crowd were to witness one of the concert highlights of 2015.
Up-and-coming The Black Swamp had the honour to open the night for the Black Label Society. After having opened for Hellyeah and Sebastian Back earlier this year The Black Swamp got the opportunity to support another massive act. The Tivoli was already pretty packed when The Black Swamp entered the stage. Their mixture of sludge, southern rock and straight out metal hit the nerve of the fans. The Black Swamp had a great reception and surely won a lot of new fans that night. Showcasing their experience from earlier large shows the band seemed relaxed on stage and enjoyed themselves and their music. A special mention goes to both guitarists Jesse Kenny and Grant Scott. They worked perfectly together and kept the groove driving throughout the show. Despite the fact that the sound was not perfect (I’m whinging on a high level here) The Black Swamp put on an energetic show. I am sure we will hear a lot more from them.
After a 30-minute break the lights went out and the first riff of Black Label Society’s famous Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath mash-up “Whole Lotta Sabbath” blared throughout The Tivoli. The fans immediately started singing along. The anticipation was at boiling point now. When Zakk Wylde entered the stage playing the first notes of “The Beginning… At Last” the whole place exploded. Almost from the very first minute crowdsurfers made their way towards the stage.
Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society ripped through the first seven songs with extreme energy. Zakk Wylde was at his best, jumping on and off the stomp box at front centre stage. He has a stage presence that you rarely see. Powerful yet controlled, with excellent musicianship he is just larger than life. It is one thing to hear his solos on a record or watch live videos but to see him actually performing his music live elevates the whole experience of the Black Label Society.
The first half of the set went down in a storm with “Suicide Messiah” being the highlight. The second half of the set then changed to some lighter tones. “Angel Of Mercy” proved (as if it needed any proof) that Zakk Wylde is more than capable of performing quieter songs. During “In This River” he also showed his versatility as musician playing the piano. “The Blessed Hellride” completed this part of the show before the grand finale was on in the form of “Concrete Jungle” and the crowd favourite “Stillborn”.
What is left to say is that Zakk Wylde could have played on for another hour and I still would have wanted more. Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society is a band that you have to experience live to fully understand. If you missed him this time make sure you get a ticket next time around.