Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fozzy Reading + Guest Post Gig Review!

Oh yeah, I'm back with more Fozzyage for you,and a gig review by a special guest!

I took a little impromptu trip to Reading on Sunday to see Fozzy on the last date of their UK summer tour, and man, it was crazy!

Every time I write a review, I focus on the gig, and how amazing the VIP experience is, but I actually wanted to focus on something a little different this time, because I don't think it's possible to further emphasise how downright kickass these guys are. 

Not gonna lie, I love hanging with the guys, and I love rocking out with them, but there is one other aspect of the Fozzy VIP experience that often gets lost amongst all the other excitement, and that is the forming of amazing friendships. People find new friends all the time, but let me tell ya, there is nothing more bonding than the love of a great band. Fozzy fans are without a doubt the most dedicated, most passionate, and most incredible fans in the world. One of the many reasons for this is Fozzy give so much back to the fans. SO. Much. Not a day goes by when they don't tweet someone - often many people - with answers to questions, appreciation for fan art/specially made outfits/tattoos/photos, and just general chat. It's these interactions that keep Fozzy enthusiasts...well... enthusiastic.

I've met some incredible friends - not just casual acquaintances you say "hi" to when you see them at the next gig, but ACTUAL friends I would never have met if it wasn't for Fozzy. I know I'm not the only person to experience friendships made through the band. I recall reading about a couple who met at a Fozzy VIP and ended up getting married - how cool is that?!

 While we can't boast any weddings within our group - we can definitely say we've formed some lifelong friendships.

As a final note, I want to extend some thanks to a few people who made Reading super special:

Obviously, the guys themselves for making us feel so welcome, and for not only remembering those of us who had been before, but remembering where we came from and what we do!

Penny, our rep, for letting me have ear plugs so my eardrums didn't shatter during sound check (lol) and for being a whole lot of fun!

Robert, kickass photographer, for hanging with us and joining in with our craziness!

Talena for helping me get my nerves under control (SO much needed!)

And finally, my own little Fozzy family: Natalie, Harriet, Jay, Amy and Emma (and my original Fozzy besties, Annalisa and Jess, who couldn't be with us!) for making each VIP experience unique and packed with laughs, banter and inside jokes!

I now hand you over to the ever awesome Miss Natalie Vanstone (otherwise known as Gallifrey_Child!) for a full gig review in better words than I ever could have written!

There is a famous saying: "You should never meet your heroes". Well, I am about to pee all over that saying. I am a self confessed geek. I have met many famous people, I've even worked with a few. My passions include science fiction, wrestling and rock music. So imagine my surprise and delight a few years ago when I discovered that one of my favourite wrestlers was in a rock band. Fozzy. I know, I know, people famous for one genre often try and establish themselves in another, hoping their fans will follow them blindly. It doesn't always work.

I hunted them down and listened. I listened A LOT. Good god DAMN they could play. I found the band on Twitter and discovered they had a new album due out in October of 2012. I pre-ordered 'Sin & Bones' and waited for release day. The album dropped into my iTunes and within a couple of hours I'd pretty much learned the whole album. Epic does not even begin to cover it. 

Which brings me to last Sunday. I'd bought my VIP ticket for Reading. I 'thought' I knew what to expect.

We met our VIP Rep Penny at 3.30 outside the venue. When all the VIPs arrived, she had a surprise for us. She had us all line up and asked who we thought among us represented Fozzy the best that day. Several of my friends pointed at me. So did Penny. My prize? An 'Access All Areas' pass to the show!!

She took us all into the building and gave us a quick tour, showing us the dressing rooms, where we would be hanging out with the band, then upstairs into the gig venue. We watched the soundcheck and heard all the banter between the band and their tech guys. Penny told us Chris wouldn't be soundchecking as he was working on his third book, but lo and behold! He ended up rocking the soundcheck anyway!

                                                                     Rich Ward, soundhecking
Soundcheck done, we all headed back downstairs for the meet & greet part of the day. The band filed in and started to circulate amongst us. Chris greeted me like an old friend, hugging me and kissing me on the cheek, saying "There you are, we wondered if we'd see you on this tour!" To be greeted in such a lovely way by my hero is INSANE! He loved the photos I had for him to sign and asked me for copies! *Proud*

Rich Ward was also as amazing and accommodating as always. He signed multiple pictures and my Stuck Mojo CD, as well as one of my Fozzy albums. Billy and Frank rounded out the lineup, as bassist Pauly was away touring with Nena in Germany (We missed you, Pauly!). It's always cool to talk to those guys and I know a certain writer friend of mine who definitely has a soft spot for Frank! *looks around shiftily...* :p

Dinner was delivered, and nine VIP's, four band members and the VIP rep tore through the Nando's takeout. The conversation was flowing easily between us and the band, with multiple subjects covered, from bemoaning the UK's lack of Taco Bell restaurants (we only have three), to merchandise Chris had never seen before (someone took along a Y2J bowling ball at a previous VIP), Chris had also spotted several of us were wearing Why Too J necklaces from Heels in Pink and complimented us on them, having the owner and creator of Heels in Pink with us on the VIP was doubly cool.

Dinner finished too quickly and some of us, plus Penny, and Robert the photographer for Fozzy, decamped to the nearest pub for an hour.

7pm came pretty quickly and we had all found our way back to the venue a few minutes earlier, to discover that our VIP package included a free piece of merchandise! How to choose from the multitude of loveliness on display?! In the end I went for a new shirt, and also bought a gorgeous leather wristband embossed with the band logo.

                                                                          Fozzy swag!

Merchandise selected it came time to pitch our tents at our chosen places at the barrier. Front row secured we waited for the hordes of Fozzy, Breed 77 and Voodoo Vegas fans to file in.

At 7.30 the first band hit the stage. I'd never heard Voodoo Vegas before and I was definitely impressed. Lawrence, the lead singer has a great sound, and the band remind me of early Guns N' Roses mixed with a generous application of old school Mötley Crüe. That for me, is a winning combination and they had the rowdy Reading crowd baying for more. After a short intermission Breed 77, a British Gibraltar-based quintet, were ready to rock the house. Having seen Breed on a previous Fozzy tour I knew what I was getting with these guys, loud heavy metal with a splash of Spanish flamenco guitar. The crowd lapped them up and by the end of the set the masses were definitely ready for the headliners.

Fozzy never disappoint.

                                                                     Fozzy set list
Exploding onto the stage with 'Spider in my Mouth', the lead off track on 'Sin & Bones' they wasted no time in whipping us all into a controlled frenzy. Rich Ward mugged for everyone's cameras and Jericho lapped up the attention of the crowd. Every song in the set list sizzled, and every lyric was screamed back by the fans. This is a band who revel in crowd participation and the Reading faithful were definitely participating!

Fozzy tore through their thirteen song set like a well oiled machine, and in between each song they took a few minutes to appreciate the love from the assembled throng. It was over all too soon and before we knew it, it was time to leave the boys behind. We decided we just had to go back in to say a proper goodbye and I caught up with a couple of the Breed boys who remembered me from the last time, and the drummer seemed to enjoy hugging me! I headed backstage to get my sweaty man hug from Frank, but the little minx had already showered! Mean! (LOL, he smelled good, though!)

Finally, we accepted it was time to go. A sad goodbye outside the venue with good friends before we headed to our cars and the journeys home. The night wasn't *quite* over though. Four of us ended up at my house, chilling out until 4am watching the wrestling!

So yeah... Never meet your heroes? Hell no. Seek them out. Pay your money for a chance to say hello. Support them and their projects. Who knows, you might just end up with the kind of amazing experience myself and my friends just had.

W00t! Thanks, Nat, for that amazing rundown of such a brilliant day, and cheers for providing some of the photos!

I will leave you with this video from Sunday night! From my view at the back, this isn't a perfect video, but it DOES perfectly capture the epic atmosphere at Sub 89!


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