Haven’t been to many concerts or bands lately – can actually count on one hand the number in the last 18 months.
I’d gotten a bit over it all, kinda ho-hum few shows in 2006, and semi-retired (hung up the boots) from concert going in 2007 – with Nine Inch Nails, and Lamb Of God as the only shows – and of course the Big Day Out (January 2007).
I’d seen a poster for HELMET, playing in Melbourne in May – I’ve been a huge fan for many years, but they haven’t done an album for a while, and it’s really (only) just the lead singer left – he IS the founding member & song-writer though – aka, it’s HIS band.
So – I uumm’ed and ahh’ed and decided to skip it – as I’d seen them in about 1998 – and was $60 for the ticket.
So – when I got a call from a buddy to let me know he’d won a double-pass – and did I want to go – well, hell yeah !!
We arrived late, missed the first support band – but the second band was great – Lady Strangelove – from Adelaide. First few songs were a bit “Zeppelin” and lots of big hair – I just assumed another “Jet”. The drummer had a KYUSS t-shirt, so I decided to give ’em a go.
They followed these up with some amazing sounds, all great muso’s – with the bass player alternating between Keyboards and Bass – often within the same song.
And they had three sets of drums/percussion at one point. Will be interesting to see how it sounds on a CD, whether the same “live sound” will work. All good – will keep an eye out for them around town.
Helmet weren’t due on stage till 11.30 (!) so grabbed a beer – but was $8 for a Heineken – so only had “a” beer.
When Helmet came on stage, I realised I was actually VERY excited to see them – I knew the first three songs, singing along & jumping about.
Next up, they mentioned playing some songs from their 1992 album Meantime. This is their best album by far – early days, and one that I’ve played 1,000 times or more.
Page Hamilton calmly said “We’re gonna play it in it’s entirety – but, we’ll mix it up a bit – we’re gonna play it in reverse” !!
I couldn’t believe it – this was going to be GREAT – and it was ! I knew every word for the next 45 minutes – and jumped/sang along – just amazing.
We were side of stage, great view – lots of fancy guitar & bass playing – good to see up close. Photo from camera-phone – bit blurry – my buddy got more pics.
They played a few more songs after that – not on the setlist though (below). Page was talking to people in the crowd, and asking which songs to play – and said “I think I remember that one”, and off they went.
And – “Blacktop” from their first album in 1989 (Strap It On).
When they finally finished playing (about 100 minutes in total), the whole band just stayed on stage, and chatted to people in the crowd. He made time for everyone, and not just being a “rock star”.
I pushed my way into the mix of fans, and got to shake hands, and he looked me in the eye, and chatted for a minute.
I told him I’d been a fan for close to 15 years, and said it was great to see the old sh1t – he said “thanks mate, I appreciate that – glad you liked it”.
And – even got a photo with him too !
Yes – you’d be right if you said I look a bit stunned/shell-shocked – was a very surreal moment.
I hadn’t even paid to see the band, or was too fussed if I missed the show – and it was incredible – and got to meet Page Hamilton too !
He’s 48 now – still rocks hard ! The other guys in the band are all in mid-20’s, in primary school during the main days of HELMET’s success !
Great show – and thanks to my buddy Mark for the free ticket !