Ghost / Kamelot / Exodus @ Glen Helen Amphitheater – 07/01/2017
Achieving massive worldwide success after the release of 2010’s album Opus Eponymous and two successful subsequent albums and multiple tours, Grammy award winning rockers Ghost landed the opening spot on Iron Maiden’s massive North American Book of Souls 2017 tour. This two month tour routes through the USA with two stops in Canada and the largest show of the trek took place at Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, CA on Saturday July 1rst. Joining Iron Maiden and Ghost on this day only were special guests Exodus and Kamelot, making this somewhat of a mini-festival for 30,000 Southern CA metal-heads. Iron Maiden and Ghost may seem like an odd pairing but they do share one thing in common – LOTS of loyal fans.
At 5:00pm on a bright, sunny 90 degree day, Bay Area Thrash veterans Exodus took the stage to kick off the festivities and succeeded in setting the bar extremely high for the rest of the bands. Opening with the classic “Bonded by Blood”, the thrash attack started as vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza piloted the band through a brutal 8 song 45 minute set. “Zetro” had to deal with some sound/microphone issues through the first two songs but all seemed to be worked out from there on out. Much to everyone’s delight, riff master Gary Holt recently returned to the USA after touring in Europe with Slayer and his guitar mastery is a critical ingredient to the Exodus recipe. Holt roams the stage while executing his trademark spastic head banging as he trades of scorching solos with fellow axe master Lee Altus all while the combo of Jack Gibson on bass and Tom Hunting on drums provide the galloping thunder that anchors the band. Classics such as “Lesson in Violence” and “The Toxic Waltz” got the crowd moving the way they should at an Exodus show with a large circle pit. The set ended with “Strike of the Beast” and Exodus without a doubt proved they are the fifth member of the “Big Four”.
Exodus Set List:
Bonded by Blood | Blood In, Blood Out | Fabulous Disaster | A Lesson in Violence | Blacklist | War is my Shepherd | The Toxic Waltz | Strike of the Beast
Exodus Photo Gallery
Kamelot was up next and it seemed many fans were not overly familiar with this power metal giant but appeared anxious to experience their live performance. Similar to what Exodus encountered with the sound issues, Kamelot vocalist Tommy Karevik experienced microphone issues through the first two songs. The band delivered a strong set but the vibe was just off as the crowd just never seemed to be fully engaged. Kamelot welcomed Kobra Paige from Kobra and the Lotus and Lauren Hart of Once Human as guest vocalists along with Karevik. The band finished strong but unfortunately seemed to leave the fans uninterested.
Kamelot Set List
Rule the World | Veil of Elysium | Insomnia | Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) (with Kobra Paige) | Karma | Forever | March of Mephisto (with Kobra Paige and Lauren Hart)
Kamelot Photo Gallery
By the time Ghost took the stage, Glen Helen Amphitheater had much more fan activity than the earlier bands and it was clear there was a large Ghost fan presence on this day. The stage was setup with a large backdrop that looked like a church’s stained glass windows except with much more evil looking characters. Once the Nameless Ghouls took the stage and Papa Emeritus III (clad in Papal robes with inverted crosses) emerged the band launched into the epic set-opening song ”Square Hammer” and Ghost began their ritual to possibly their largest US audience to date. For the next 60 minutes San Bernardino witnessed some magnificently-constructed metal with a bit of serious yet tongue-in-cheek occult vibes. From the intense guitar solos by the Nameless Ghouls to the dry humor of “Papas” jokes in between songs, Ghost captivated the large crowd and delivered a triumphant performance. The band ended the set with “Monstrance Clock” and then gathered in front of the stage for a final bow in unison and left the stage.
Ghost Set List:
Square Hammer | From the Pinnacle to the Pit | Ritual | Cirice | Year Zero | Absolution | Mummy Dust | Monstrance Clock
Ghost Photo Gallery
The British powerhouse Iron Maiden took the stage at close to 9:00pm opening their set with two strong new songs off Book of Souls – “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed of Light”. This began a two hour showcase of the finest heavy metal band in the world. Bruce Dickinson was in fine form as he energetically pranced about the stage delivering his vocals and the triple guitar threat of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers is a main ingredient in the Maiden signature sound. It doesn’t get any better than the rhythm section of Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain as they anchored the band through such classics as “The Trooper” and “Powerslave”. The magnificent set changes for each song made for an epic atmosphere as the band plowed through their set and Eddie made several appearances in different forms. The night ended with the classic “Iron Maiden” before a three song encore ending with “Wasted Years”. Iron Maiden proved once again they get better with age and remain the world’s great heavy metal band.
Iron Maiden Set list:
If Eternity Should Fail | Speed of Light | Wrathchild | Children of the Damned | Death or Glory | The Red and the Black | The Trooper | Powerslave | The Great Unknown | The Book of Souls | Fear of the Dark | Iron Maiden
Encore: The Number of the Beast | Blood Brothers | Wasted Years