Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira & Eagles Of Death Metal live in Philadelphia, US, 2017

When I first saw the tour poster, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Devin Townsend Project and Russian Circles playing together, in Philadelphia? For me it was a show not to be missed and many others agreed as it sold out quickly.
Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira & Eagles Of Death Metal live show 2017 poster

The event was held on May 6th, 2017, at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA. The venue has an indoor capacity of 3,000, but the show was held on their outdoor lot behind their building. I’m not sure how many attended, but the outdoor area appeared to be much larger than the indoor space.
Russian Circles was the first band of the day. The Chicago trio has been around since 2004 and consists of Mike Sullivan, Dave Turncrantz and Brian Cook. They are an instrumental band, but their so sound is both full and powerful, that it’s hard to believe that the music is coming from only three musicians. Unfortunately, their set was half over when I made it to the venue. I planned on getting my camera equipment together as they played, but their music pulled me straight to the stage making me wish that I hadn’t missed the first part of the set.
The Devin Townsend Project played next. Devin Townsend often quipped to the audience, getting laughter from his one-liners and comments between songs. He was a joy to watch and he was very animated during his performance. He seemed to have a facial expression to go with every note he played on guitar. He and his band performed a five song set that included a few off his latest release, “Transcendence”, including “Stormbending” and “Failure”. Townsend and his band are touring with Gojira and Opeth through the first half of May and then continue with more U.S. dates through August.
The Eagles Of Death Metal were next up. Jesse Hughes and his band are the epitome of gritty rock and roll. If you’ve never seen them live, Hughes is a fantastic frontman and his stage antics are captivating. When you watch the band, you can’t help but feeling that they’re having their own party within the midst of the set. As a spectator, you want to join in on the fun. As I looked around, I saw most of the audience singing aloud and dancing in place as the band ripped through a seven song set which included “Complexity”, “Whorehoppin” and a cover of David Bowie’s, “Moonage Daydream”. I’m looking forward to the day they come back through town so that I can see them again.
Gojira stepped onto the stage next and I was looking forward to seeing them live. Many people have told me not to miss them in concert and now I understand why. Their eleven song set was intense from the first note that was played. Their set included songs from “Magma”, “From Mars to Sirius”, “L’enfant sauvage”, and “The Way of All Flesh”, including “Only Pain”, “Stranded”, “Toxic Garbage Island” and “L’enfant sauvage”. When they finished, several around people me let out a collective “wow” and wow was about the only thing that could be said. The set was incredible.
As day turned to night, Opeth stepped onto the stage. They had many fans in attendance, based on all of the Opeth shirts I saw in the audience. The band was a change of pace from Gojira. Their progressive rock sound is much more subdued and was more of an experience than anything. The mood was set with deep red and blue stage lighting, white spot lights and smoke. Singer, Mikael Akerfeldt, occasionally joked with the crowd commenting on the length of their songs, their alleged number one hits, and other comments that got laughs each time. Their eight song set included a few from their 2016 release, “Sorceress”, including “Sorceress”, “The Wilde Flowers” and “Era”. The remaining songs came from “Ghost Reveries”, “Heritage”, “My Arms Your Hearse”, “Pale Communion” and “Deliverance”.
To end the evening, Mastodon took the stage. The band has been on a roll with the release of the acclaimed “Once More Around the Sun” in 2014 and the March 2017 release of the equally awesome “Emperor of Sand”. Their 20 song set included many from their latest release, including “Sultan’s Curse”, “Show Yourself”, “Precious Stones”, “Steambreather”, “Roots Remain”, and “Ancient Kingdom”. The set was wild in typical Mastodon fashion. Troy Sanders bass playing and back bends are always great to watch, while Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher’s guitar playing were incredible. Top that off with Brann Dailor destroying the drums and you have an exceptional performance. When it was over, the audience was drained. For eight straight hours, they sang, danced, moshed and body slammed each other. In between sets, it was rare to see anyone move from their spot to take a break. The show was that good, that no one dared miss a moment of it. As the crowd exited and made their way back to their respective vehicles, the conversations were about the music, the bands and how awesome the show was.
Over the years, I’ve been to many great shows, but only a few stand out as being special and holding a sentimental part of your memory bank. For me, this show was something special. If only it could be repeated.
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