When I first saw this tour announcement, I have to admit, I was a bit confused. Black Label Society being more hard rock/metal, and The Black Dahlia Murder being death metal, it seems an odd pairing – but it works. I was also impressed with the cross-genre respect the fans had for one another. More on that below.
I have heard of Alien Weaponry before, but had never experienced their show until this tour. The boys from New Zealand represented their brand of thrash metal mixed with native New Zealand sounds very well; and I think fit right in as a proper opener for the tour. If you have not heard Alien Weaponry before, and you like something different mixed in with your thrash, give them a listen.
As The Apollo Theatre AC started to fill up, I saw many fans of The Black Dahlia Murder waiting for them to take the stage. Somewhat surprising to me, I saw even more fans of Black Label Society ready to watch The Black Dahlia Murder.
Being a big fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, it is always a pleasure to see and photograph them whenever I get a chance. They played an abbreviated opening set, which hilariously started by the lights dropping and “I Will Always Love You” being played (which also prompted an equally hilarious crowd sing-along), but the boys from Detroit still managed to crush their set. The Black Dahlia Murder also played several fan favorites including deep cuts such as Contagion, Statutory Ape, and Miasma; then closing out the set with Everything Went Black. One of my favorite things about seeing The Black Dahlia Murder live is the human waterfall. There reaches a point in every TBDM show, where there are so many crowd surfers, it almost looks like a human waterfall as they come over the pit barricade one after another. I love it.
After The Black Dahlia Murder was finished with their set, I honestly expected the death metal crowd to leave and the venue to be slightly emptier… Again, I was surprised and impressed with the cross-genre respect. The venue got no less crowded and everyone seemed to stay for Black Label Society. BLS may not be death metal, but let’s be honest here, the amount of talent in that band is nothing to shrug off or disrespect.
Black Label Society put up a front banner to cover the stage while final prep for their show was being done. It’s a great way to build up the suspense. I’m surprised more headliners don’t do this. It felt like forever before the opening mix started, the backdrop fell, and I was able to enter the pit, but the moment arrived and I was able to capture the images you see in the gallery below. Black Label Society is a high-energy band live. Zakk Wylde definitely dominates the stage when he stands on his riser, but even more so when he tears off into a signature Zakk Wylde solo. The man has magic fingers. Seeing them for the second time now, I still get goosebumps when Zakk enters his zone.
Black Label Society played for two hours. This is a band knows what the fans want; and they delivered. One BLS signature crowd-pleaser is Zakk playing his guitar over a balcony ledge in the crowd. It’s incredible to see. The amount of pure talent that this man has is mind-blowing.
For fans of Black Label Society, anytime this band is on tour, it is a show that should not be missed. Everyone in the crowd seemed to have a sense of family and belonging. It’s an amazing feeling when the crowd connects, and Black Label Society always connects with their fans.