In the midst of their own headlining tour taking them all over the Southwestern states, Fozzy took a break to play a support gig with legendary Iron Maiden. Banc of California Stadium was the setting for this stop to perform an interim set between the headliners and The Raven Age. Chris Jericho and company, the one-time cover band now a bona fide original rock band brought their brand of melodic hard rock to the metal aficionado crowd of Maidenites. Yes, in case you were not aware, that Chris Jericho, the professional wrestler.
The band one by one arrives on the stage as a mixed version of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs plays over the P.A. Jericho the last to arrive, ascends the light box that bears the band’s name and greets the crowd with a screaming, “Los Angeles, are you ready for Fozzy?” Fozzy kicks off their performance with the title track of their latest release, Judas. This mid-tempo anthem seems to have the band almost restrained as its pace does not allow for the full force energy to be unleashed in ensuing numbers. When the group tears into Drinkin’ With Jesus the energy level is pushed to a full eleven. Jericho moves about the stage from his perch on the light box, to swaggering back and forth to either side of the stage. Guitarist Rich Ward stays primarily on the left side of the stage and goes about his business with some flash here and there, in contrast to guitarist Billy Grey. Grey, the inciter in chief appears to take on the role of making sure everyone is engaged in the show, and he executes the role with great enthusiasm. He and Jericho interplay and delight the horde with their overt exaggerated gesturing. Necessary job skills for a venue with a capacity of 22,000 in which the farthest spectators can be an estimated 400 plus feet away.
Paul Di Leo (bass) contributes a large portion of the backing vocals and stays near home to be close to his microphone. He is probably the least boisterous of the front stagers, but does get in his share of mane tosses. Frank Frontsere mans the drums and because of the sheer volume of the band, you have to really focus to discern his masterful playing. In case you were wondering about that band name, Fozzy started as a cover band with the tongue in cheek name of Fozzy Osbourne, and they deliver a slightly abbreviated eight song set. The culmination of their evening is a cover of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap which leaves the now packed stadium primed and ready for the headliner. Mission accomplished!
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