Apparently Cedar Rapids, Iowa appreciates their rock music. On Saturday, September 20, the US Cellular Center was a packed house of more than 8,000 people, some of whom lined up as early as 8 am to get their desired position to see Nothing More, Hellyeah, Volbeat, and Five Finger Death Punch. The show was a record setter for the venue, being the highest attended show there since Nickelback in 2007 and also the largest concert since the building reopened after renovations in June 2013.
Due to the long line and time-consuming pat-downs at the door, not everyone made it into the venue in time to see opening act Nothing More. Unfortunate, as they seemed to have a very energetic stage presence, culminating in the performance of the tune Salem, in which all band members joined in a drum “solo.” The band also mentioned that this was the biggest show they had ever played.
Just a brief pause before Hellyeah took the stage and a burst of cheers and applause emanated from the crowd each and every time Vinnie Paul stood up from behind the drum kit. The raised cell phones during the song Moth really brought a visual element to the lyrics, “like a moth to a flame.”
As the Volbeat stage setup was a little more time-intensive, the break was a little longer, but the majority of the crowd took advantage of the time by loading up on beer, visiting the restroom or heading out for a smoke break. Soon enough the Danish fellows hit the stage in front of a backdrop of what resembles the “creepy guy in a hat” that appears on more than one of their album covers. Michael Poulsen led the crowd in reciting some Elvis “uh-huh-huh” sounds, as well as a rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. And of course there were the radio hits- A Warrior’s Call, Fallen, Still Counting and more. Partially through the set, the backdrop fell to reveal a metal skull design with what appeared to be an Elvis hairstyle. There was a slight problem with the sound during Dead But Rising but that was quickly remedied. Poulsen also made some little girl’s night by bringing her on stage for Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza, though he did change the word “booze” to “chocolate” for her benefit, as she rocked out with her pink headphones.
As the lights went down and the crowd began to push their way even closer to the front, drummer Jeremy Spencer (formerly of W.A.S.P.) entered the stage in his neon skeleton getup, complete with face paint, which would later be replaced by a different, but equally as creepy mask. Zoltan Bathory, Darrell Roberts, and Matt Snell were not far behind, and then entered Ivan Moody, baseball bat waving. While the band is completely hard-hitting, Moody has a melodic, soulful voice as well, especially on songs like Remember Everything. Five Finger Death Punch hit the stage with ferocity. Occasionally bands will make the crowd wait until closer to the end for their favorite tunes. Not the case with FFDP- throwing out Never Enough, Hard to See, and Bad Company all within the first few songs. The entire crowd was on their feet with fists and horns in the air. While FFDP may not be everyone’s first choice of a concert to bring their young child to, there were several in attendance and Moody took the chance to bring a few young fellas up on the stage and most likely made their dreams come true. It seems safe to say that Iowa, namely Cedar Rapids, is not a location to be counted out on any metal or rock tour line-up.
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