JULY, 6th 2003 at WITH FULL FORCE Open Air / Leipzig, GER
I remember when I first heard about SAINT VITUS reforming for some selected live shows, I nearly wet my pants, due to the fact, that I never got to see the ULTIMATE (at least in my humble opinion...) Doom Metal band during their illustrious lifespan. So, after Dave Chandler and Scott 'Wino' Weinrich having their issues settled and teaming up again with Mark Adams and Armando Acosta, two shows were announced. One taking place in Chicago, covering the whole of America, and one European show at the infamous WITH FULL FORCE Open Air in Leipzig/Germany. Of course no second thought was wasted, whether to show up or not at the latter event!!After a turbulent and stressful voyage and the first subsequent days at the festival, I turned more and more nervous, as THE gig was getting closer every hour.
To get me started on Saturday, I took another opportunity to watch the so-called Doom "supergroup" DEBRIS INC., consisting of ex-TROUBLE members Ron Holzner on bass and drumming animal Barry Stern, as well as Dave Chandler himself. After having seen them at WACKEN last year, I didn't expect the most spectular show ever, as I found them to be quite OK, but nothing really extraordinary. This time somehow, they surely caught my attention a lot more, as it was definitely a joy to see such near-legendary musicians enjoying themselves on stage like that, and doing far better than before. Although I still think that most of the songmaterial merely ranges from good to OK, it was worth watching the whole thing, due to some decent tunes like "Pain" (a heavy stomper for sure!) and to witness DC's incredibly crushing guitar sound! The latter making the wait for the real deal even more unbearable.
After MADBALL finished their show of raging Hardcore madness, the time had finally come for the moment every self-respecting Doom Metal head was waiting for. THE RETURN OF SAINT VITUS MK. II!!!! They started with "Clear Windowpane", where Chandler immediately showed, that he's still obsessed with desecrating his Wah-Wah pedal to the max. The whole band was in really good shape, and Wino was charismatic as ever. "Dying Inside" (!!!) and "White Magic/Black Magic" followed, when it was eventually time to concentrate on their classic "V" album, from which they played "Living Backwards" and the utterly brilliant "I Bleed Black"! While playing the latter, the audience could witness Wino fucking up the last verse, as he began to sing, while Dave was still indulging in his solo lunacy. To me it's stuff like that, which makes gigs likes these even more special.
Next one overrunning the crowd was "White Stallions", which still sound a little peculiar, though greatly unique, when Wino is singing it instead of Scott Reagers. During that one, they incorporated their traditional solos, in which Armando and Dave took their chances to be in the spotlight. After finishing the song, Chandler asked the audience, if they'd like to sing with Wino, and everyone with least bit of brains left knew, that the time had come for THE Doom anthem "Born Too Late". Let me assure you: The moment the first chord was hit after the guitar-fiddle intro, time literally stood still!!! One was just run over, by a wave of lava-like riff genius. Even slower than on the album, this song made even the most lethargic Doom-Monger go berzerk. FUCKING PRICELESS!!! Too bad, this song was the one finishing this nearly spiritual experience, as it marked the end of one of the most intense gigs, I ever had the rare fortune to witness!! Also I still think, that it's a shame VITUS were only given 45 minutes to play, thus making them not play classics like "Zombie Hunger" and "Saint Vitus", which they did a few days earlier in Chicago. This aside though, anyone who wasn't there missed one helluva show!!!!!!
(OPOLUS XXXVIII AS)