Jergel’s Rhythm Grill
I went to cover the FOZZY show expecting a WWE type event to happen but instead, a full-fledged ROCK CONCERT broke out!!
I’ve been skeptical of Chris Jericho’s voice and “type” of music he has chosen to sing since FOZY hot the streets years ago on the back of the WWE itself. Chris voice the first time I saw him at The Diesel Bar in Pittsburgh about 8 months ago was solid. But he screamed more than he sang and to me, he’s not a heavy metal or a thrasher type front man. With this in mind, I was very skeptical heading to Jergel’s. But boy was I wrong.
When I shoot a show, I always try to have the band’s or singer’s newest CD in my mind. The new FOZZY CD “Judas” was released in October of 2017 and got immediate play. I really liked the title track “Judas”. I liked it A LOT. “Drinking with Jesus” and “Painless” was the big three of the CD and when I heard that FOZZY was playing all three on their setlist as the fort three songs, I was REALLY looking forward to the show even more. Fast forward to the show……
The hype was real. The venue was packed. Lots and lots of WWE fans. I think even still in 2018, the base of the fans for FOZZY is all WWE fans that like(d) Chris Jericho in the ring. However, I think his role as a good, maybe even as a GREAT frontman is growing. I think he deserves a shot at saying he’s developed into a great front man. His voice is perfect for this new Judas CD. Absolutely perfect. And it showed across the entire setlist last night in Pittsburgh, PA.
Chris and FOZZY hit the stage to Black Sabbath’s War Pigs blasting with red lights flashing across the venue. Chris asked the crowd “Are you ready for FOZZY” and they replied with a loud yes!! They hit the stage and opened with the title track “Judas” and upped the energy about 10 levels almost instantly. Jericho’s voice is PERFECT for the song Judas. Like I said, this album fits Jericho and his voice perfectly. Judas electrified the crowd which in turn electrified the band and Chris. I’m not sure what FOZZY looks like every night, but I think it’d be tough for them to have the energy they did last night in Pittsburgh. I think it was a truly special night for the band and their fans and it showed in their performance.
“Judas” turned into “Drinking With Jesus” for the second song and the electricity continued to climb. Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward just fed off the crowd. Their energy just climbed and climbed each song to the point where Ward was bringing kids and other members of the crowd onto the stage at Jergel’s to perform with the band. I think they brought a total of 4 kids and other fans on to the stage throughout the middle of the set list. I actually lost count. But the crowd loved it and so did Jericho who also had fun with the fans on stage.
FOZZY continued on with One Crazed Anarchist, Sin and Bones and Burn Me Out next. All powerful songs and from what I can remember from the last show, Chris did change up the tone and vocal quite a bit and showed a lot of improvement. Not that Jericho was bad the last show, he just left his vocals to suit the songs tonight A LOT better. He was ON FIRE tonight from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong. I just think he was on tonight and more so “ON” this tour vocally.
The current hit and hottest song currently for FOZZY were next and it didn’t disappoint. “Painless” was INCREDIBLE. Jericho lit the roof on fire the first half of the setlist. With “Painless” he and the band blew the roof off the place. Rich Ward was epic on this song and at this point of the show. Like Jericho, he was also on fire. Painless was the highest selling single in iTunes as of last night for the week and I can definitely see why. If you didn’t like the song before the show, you probably were purchasing it on the way home in your car.
The second half of the set didn’t disappoint either. Songs included Spider in My Mouth, Do You Wanna Start a War, SOS, an (ABBA cover) Lights Go Out, Enemy. On Enemy, Rich Ward went crazy and crowd surfed from the stage to the back and then back to the stage. And yes, he went all the way to the back!!
Have to give props to the entire band. THEY CLICKED all night. All night long they were feeding off each other and quite honestly having a blast. Drummer Frank Fontsere was amazing. Never missed a beat and wore that tie all night. Maybe not a top drummer in the rock world, but most definitely VERY, VERY respected. He too was on fire. Bassist Paul Di Leo was amazing. He was fun to watch and like everyone else was on fire and never missed a riff. He kept the band going all night long. On the other guitar was Billy Grey. He was a great partner for Rich Ward. The two together make incredible music.
All in all, it was a great show. I think and feel that Chris Jericho has left behind the “Y2J is coming to town” era and it’s now FOZZY with Chris Jericho fronting them are in town. He as a lead singer has definitely taken MAJOR and HUGE steps to become a great front man for the band FOZZY. I look forward to another keg of the tour hopefully and some new material for another album.
ALL PHOTOS ©2018 ED THOMPSON