Fozzy Live in Anaheim, CA

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Sunday, September 5, 2004 @ 2:24 PM

Fozzy Live at the House of Blu

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REVIEW BY: Sandi Salina

Chris Jericho doesn’t care about winning any heavy metal MVP awards. If his fans say that he’s the most valuable player to lead a dual sports and music career, he’s happy.

Jericho put another stamp on that legacy Monday night when he brought Fozzy back to the west coast for a superb show at House of Blues Anaheim. Although he wrestles here several times a year, it had been nearly three times that long since the WWE superstar had played his music in Southern California. Fozzy originally was designed to alternately poke fun at the heavy metal genre while still saluting the anthems of gods such as Sabbath and Maiden. But after touring that embellished yet endearing endeavor through many incarnations, the Winnipeg native seems to have taken a step back to recalculate his metal methodology. And it looks like it’s really going to pay off.

The lion is back with a fiercer roar this time. Masked in the Moongoose McQueen character, Jericho always seemed to just be acting out the role of a bandleader. But at Monday’s show, the aesthetic partnership between him and lead guitarist Rich Ward carried their performance to a new height. No longer donning patent leather or playboy sunglasses, Jericho came out relaxed and ready to rock as if he’d invited you into his own living room for a private party. Wearing simple, worn gray cords and a Blondie t-shirt, Jericho offered a lot of the originals he’s penned with Ward over Fozzy’s four-year career that previously they shied away from playing out live, either due to complex arrangements, or because they wanted to hold true to the cover tune format. But I always thought this original material was some of their best stuff, even though each of their two previous releases only contained a few of their own songs and relied mainly on masterful knock-offs like "Where Eagles Dare" or "Over the Mountain."

So about three songs into the show, when the cryptic notes of "End of Days" mysterious intro filled the small room, I felt the atmosphere shift from sing-a-long to sonic storm, awash with the powerful fretless bass of Sean Delson. This Pagey-looking cat adds an amazing Zeppelin element to Ward’s already majestic playing, and was underscored again during the epic textures of "With the Fire." Ward’s solo foray in this number was spine-tingling while Jericho stepped back to the drum riser and bowed his head in Jim Morrison fashion as he chanted the apocalyptic spoken word that plays a cool part in the middle of this tune.

Another totally fresh moment came when Jericho climbed up and plopped down on the left stage speaker, feeling loungey and relaxed as he traded lyrics with Ward on another groove-heavy original from the first Fozzy CD. Jericho pointed his hand of doom at different audience members when he chanted, "Feel the burn!" while Ward, Delson and second guitarist Billy Grey put us all in a trance with the sickly twisted duos that drift out into a rubato ending.

"If you were at the Pond earlier, you probably saw me get hit in the nuts," goofed Jericho later. "That’s okay. It makes it easier to hit those high notes," he laughed and then immediately went into his best Twisted Sister falsetto. Although Fozzy took their musicianship pretty seriously during the show, there were plenty of screwy stage antics to remind you this is still essentially "entertainment," like the "Satan Loves Polka" jam, the jug-a-lug beer drinking contest between Jericho and a ballsy audience member, and a guest solo by WWE announcer/diva Lillian Garcia on "TNT." One last original ended the set, "To Kill a Stranger," hard-charging and underscored by a mind-splitting strobe display. Two songs later in the encore, Jericho proved he still had his ferocious-sounding pop smarts about him as he brought the house down with a maniacally propulsive ending in Motley Crue’s "Live Wire."

Although we didn’t get any sampling of Fozzy’s much-anticipated third CD, All That Remains, Jericho claims it’s now completely mixed and mastered. XM radio’s Channel 41 has already played two tracks, "Nameless Faceless" and "Enemy," so it probably won’t be long before the full CD is on the record store shelf.

Meanwhile, Fozzy brings their new broader-styled show with more originals to Graceland in Seattle on Monday, September 13th.

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