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Primal Fear - May 11/2014 - The Venue - Vancouver


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Attending my first concert since seeing Judas Priest in 1988 didn’t exactly get off to a rollicking start after the 40 minute drive from Surrey into downtown Vancouver. My son and I arrived about 45 minutes early and plunked ourselves down on an extremely uncomfortable bench on the street outside The Venue, and I had to be on constant alert for the safety of his iphone, as I kept my eyes on the regular potpourri of weirdos and nutjobs meandering along the sidewalk. Doors opened at 10 to 7, and we shuffled along in a short line – only to discover when we got there that #1 Son had forgotten to bring his effing ID, and there was no way in Hades that the chap on the door was granting him entrance without it. He even had to see MY ID for Christ’s sake, and I’m about several light years past legal age. No compromise; no simple solution – we had to hike several blocks back to the car, and I made like one of the Andretti clan in getting back to Surrey in 30 minutes to grab the ID in question. Then it was back on the freeway/speedway to return to the core of Vancouver to proudly display those cursed ID’s for the doorman, who didn’t even seem to have the slightest clue he’d given us the heave ho a little over an hour earlier.


After inserting some really bitchin’ musician earplugs with flat attenuation, we caught the last song and a half of the opening act, Hellchamber. Can’t really comment on them much – except to say we thought the earplugs might be naff ‘cause their sound was a bit muddy. After Unleash The Archers set up their own gear on stage, they kicked into a lively set, with Brittany Hayes proving to have an impressive set of lungs, but they lost points with me for the harsh vocals added by one of the guitar players to the majority of their material. Not certain what he was Cookie Monstering about, but I believe I might have picked out the terms, “Oreos” and “Chips Ahoy” through his growlings. The kicker was that they really didn’t need such nonsense anyway – Hayes’ voice is strong enough in its own right, and she’s very easy on the peepers, too. Again, their sound was a bit muffled, but much better than Hellchamber’s.


I had been really looking forward to seeing and hearing the Primal Fear line-up that recorded Delivering The Black, but I was kind of puzzled when the roadie set up one side of the stage with a left-handed, Black Les Paul ‘cause Magnus Karlsson ain’t a lefty. The roadie set up the other side with Alex Beyroldt’s Gold Top, and once the band arrived on stage, it was evident that the bloke manning the lefty Les Paul was NOT Magnus Karlsson. So there I was thinking, “Who the hell is this guy?” And I was disappointed. I felt like the Korean beauticians on the Seinfeld episode, who showed up at Rochelle, Rochelle! The Musical! and blurted out, “What??? No Bette Mid-a-rer???” when the understudy was introduced.


It turned out that Karlsson opted out of the tour to attend to family matters, and founding Primal Fear member, Tom Naumann, had stepped in to replace him. Eventually, Naumann won me over though – he’s competent enough of a player, and seemed to be having a blast onstage. It quickly became apparent that the reason the opening acts’ sound was a bit muddy was because they didn’t have anywhere near the powerful gear Primal Fear has. Everything was crystal clear with the earplugs in, and Ralf Scheepers possesses quite the impressive range. I’d hoped to pay a lot of attention to Randy Black’s performance, but the stage was kind of small and Mat Sinner always seemed to loom right in my line of vision. All in all, I feel I got my money’s worth from the show – even though I really wasn’t impressed with having to drive there twice due to the ID snafu.

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  • My Little Pony

I like The Venue. I haven't noticed too many odd characters outside - just typical Vancouver folk. That whole ID bullshit, though. Whatever happened to legal guardians? Oh, I guess he wasn't able to prove you were related? Glad you enjoyed what you went for, at least.

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