Tuesday, March 26, 2013

From The Vault - ARMORED SAINT

This is the first of some Anthrax-themed vault postings here (more coming on Anthrax and S.O.D.) since Anthrax is coming to town very soon (and Red Lamb just played here on March 24 - show review coming soon). Armored Saint singer John Bush fronted Anthrax through arguably the band’s most creative and critically acclaimed period. I was fortunate enough to catch Armored Saint twice in the late 80s, then again during 2000.

My favorite show was on Memorial Day, May 26, 1986 at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand in Des Moines as part of the Iowa Jam, an annual Memorial Day festival (sadly long defunct now). Check out this monster lineup: the bill was topped by Aerosmith (supporting Done With Mirrors), Ted Nugent (out for Little Miss Dangerous), Dokken (promoting Under Lock And Key), Metallica (with Cliff Burton on the Master Of Puppets tour), and Armored Saint (supporting Delirious Nomad). Armored Saint was on first at 11 am and fired up the crowd with an inspired 35–40 minute set of songs from the first two albums. I’ll post the audio of this show later, so I’ll save additional comments for then. As you might expect, Metallica stunned an unsuspecting crowd, while the remaining bands all put on great shows.

I must’ve gotten lucky because the next time I saw Armored Saint was on the Raising Fear supporting Grim Reaper (supporting Rock You To Hell) with Helloween (touring for Keeper Of The Seven Keys - Part I) on October 17, 1987 at The Rimco Center in Rock Island, Illinois. This was an MTV Headbanger's Ball-sponsored tour. Helloween was amazing as they closed their opening set with “Halloween” and “How Many Tears”. Armored Saint a set similar to what I heard at the Iowa Jam the year before with the addition of some new songs like “Chemical Euphoria” and “Raising Fear”. Grim Reaper got upstaged by the openers, but they still put on a great show playing the title tracks from their three albums amongst other songs.

Click on any of the pictures to see more photos of Armored Saint live in 2000 (14).

Finally, the show from which the pictures are from was May 28, 2000 at Brick By Brick in San Diego during promotion for the Revelation album. This was a rapid, packed crowd eager to hear Armored Saint after an absence of many years while John Bush was in Anthrax. The main attraction for me was finally being able to hear songs performed from Symbol Of Salvation, standouts such as “Reign Of Fire”, “Dropping Like Flies” and “Tribal Dance”. With no security barricade it was difficult getting great pictures at the packed club, and it should be evident from them that everyone, both band and crowd, was having a fun night.

Anthrax performs Thursday, April 4 at First Avenue in Minneapolis with support from Exodus, High On Fire, Municipal Waste, and Holy Grail.

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