mics, etc.) to the eventual concert later.
So we enjoyed our little personal mini-concert and took some more pictures. After stepping out again, it was time for the first beer of the night and a little more waiting (we were getting pretty good at that by the time).
Sadly the guys at the venue screwed up and didn't open the door we were standing by but another one, robbing us of our well-deserved spots in the first row. We settled for second and opted just to take first row when we deemed fit to do so.
Finally the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered, Have a Drink on Me by AC/DC hit and Fozzy entered the stage. A few seconds later, the Ayatollah of Rock'n'Rollah himself materialized and did what only he can do, and what most band-leaders and pro wrestlers lack these days: total control of the crowd with every motion, look and gesture, directing them to do exactly what he wanted them to and having them eat out of the palm of his hand and just being too damn froot (look it up in his books, guys and girls) to really show that he cared much about it, because he is Chris Jericho and these things just come natural to him.
They opened up their set with Spider in my Mouth, the opening track of their current album "Sin and Bones" and the place basically exploded. They followed that with their current Single Sandpaper and then went back in time to their roots as mostly a cover band (remember Fozzy Osbourne?) with a cover of Krokus' Eat the Rich. Then came songs such as She's my Addiction, To Kill a Stranger and Enemy before they finished the set off, way too early after about an hour on stage, with Blood Happens. By that time I had virtually headbanged my neck off and was drenched in sweat, had shot more than 70 pictures and was looking forward to my next Fozzy concert, which I somehow hoped could be right on the next day. Sadly, flights from Vienna to Zürich are pretty expensive, when you want book them the night before, so I'm putting all my hopes in the upcoming summer festival line-ups.
Besides being a wrestling fan for more than 20 years, I've also been a big metalhead for the greater part of the last two decades. I've attended probably a few hundred concerts and festivals all over Austria and Europe and have seen probably most of "name" acts (and lots and lots of smaller, more underground bands) of that period on stage during this period. With that being said, Fozzy as a live band blow most, if not all of these bands out of the water with their stage-performance. Jericho, as a big metal fan himself, also greatly profits from his 20+ years of experience as a performer and entertainer in the ring. He is just such a show-off on stage, with his sunglasses, sleeveless shirt and rock star mentality. He really draws the audience into his world, runs around,poses, jumps off the drumset-podest, points at the crowd, interacts with the other band members, hoists up the mic-stand, slaps hand with fans and has an all-around great time. The rest of the band are just as professional, never miss a beat and you can just feel that they all love performing on stage and are really experienced and well-rounded musicians. Rich "The Duke" Ward is an awesome and wildly entertaining guitar hero and backup vocalist, Paul Di Leo is just a beast on the bass, Billy Grey on the second guitar is a real speed machine and Frank Fontsere holds the whole thing together on a rhythmic level with his awesome drum play.
After Fozzy, Soil played and we watched them with a kind of admiration and pity - yeah, they had their fans and those reacted to their various hits, but it just wasn't Fozzy playing there on the stage and at no point did they get the reactions or had the control of the crowd that their preceding act had.
At various points after the concert we briefly met Rich, Paul and Billy who all were very appreciative of our kind words and Billy told us they had plans for the festival summer and hoped they'd be back soon.
My recommendation: If Fozzy plays anywhere near you or near enough we're you'd consider to go see them: Stop considering and just go, they are both an awesome live act and have come into their own during the last few albums, created a unique sound and will just rock your head off. If you can afford it, also get the VIP package, as the band really is very down to earth, approachable and friendly and treats its fans first class.
On a side note, we decided to close the evening out with a few more drinks and took a cab to a well known hard rock/metal establishment in town - and managed to get the one driver in Vienna who actually knew his way around town AND started talking about Fedor Emelianenko and Junior Dos Santos plus had actually trained MMA for a while.