Black Label Society 11-26-21 at The Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah

It was Thanksgiving day, and most of the Greater Salt Lake Area consumed mass amounts of Turkey and watched football. As the evening turned into night, a fair number of diehards were prepping for what would soon be Black Friday and rushing around in stores for deals. Meanwhile, another dedicated number of metalheads were preparing for BLS Friday. The BLS, Utah Chapter was about to celebrate what would be the day that Black Label Society released their highly anticipated Doom Crew album and made a stop in Salt Lake City for a post-Thanksgiving feast. The Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, would be the site for the Utah Chapter on Friday, November 26, 2021. 

The night began as the faithful Utah Chapter faithful assembled at the front of the barricades waiting for the show to begin. A fair smattering of Obituary merchandise dotted the crowd, but most adorned the BLS Doom Crew logo with a leather or denim vest. As the faithful assembled, the intensity grew, and members greeted each other with a hug or light of a smoke. 

First on the stage would be Prong. The late ’80s and ’90s saw Prong at their peak, but Tommy Victor led Prong through what would be an amazing but tragically short set. It began with “Test’ from 1994’s Cleansing. Things sped up into “Disbelief” and then slowed down and grooved into “Beg to Differ.” The Cleansing album was chosen for a good portion of the set, including “Cut-Rate” with its great galloping guitar beat. It was then time for the classic “Broken Peace.” The mosh pit began circulating with the opening riff of one of my personal favorites, “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?” Things did not slow down, and in fact, picked up as “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” began to incite the enthusiastic crowd. The set ended with a dip into Prong’s latest release, Zero Days, “However it May End.” Prong’s time on stage was too short but provided a fantastic glimpse of Tommy and his band’s talent. 

A short break temporarily calmed the crowd, but soon, Obituary would cure the calm. The Tampa-based Death Metal Band arguably created and pioneered the Death Metal movement at the bare minimum. They opened the show with 2005’s “Redneck Stomp.” Three of their 11 song setlist songs came from their 2017 self-titled album, including “Sentence Day” and “A Lesson In Vengeance.” Six of their ten albums were represented in their set, including my favorite “Slowly We Rot” from the 1989’s album Slowly We Rot.

A major stage transformation was underway which did not help the congregation there to see the might BLS.  The show began as the lights dropped as the mashup “Whole Lotta Sabbath” began.  Cloaked behind a giant canvas covering the stage, BLS began with 2002’s “Bleed For Me.”  Zakk boasted his classic Kilt with his long blonde hair swinging back and forth as he shred upon his pedestal.  Coming down to sing, they then tore into “Demise of Sanity.” Things then got immensely heavier as the opening riff to “Suicide Messiah” began.  Zakk sang with a pile of skulls decorating his mic stand and topped off with a crucifix.  

A pause in between songs began to welcome the Utah Chapter out for the show and a long stare to ensure their fortitude for the continuing show. “Fire It Up” and “Spoke In The Wheel” continued the set as the BLS faithful shouted with their “horns” high in the air. Zakk stepped away from the guitar and moved to the baby grand piano to sing his tribute to the late Dimebag and Vinnie. The amps at the back of the stage were covered with photos of the two, while a slide show of Zakk with them rolled next to the stage. As the show continued, BLS dove into “Heart of Darkness” from possibly one of the best album titles ever, Catacombs of the Black Vatican. Zakk came off the stage during the show and meandered down a catwalk during an extended guitar solo.

 As the show came to a close, it was more than a two-hour set. The BLS, Salt Lake chapter, could not have been happier at the end of the night. Three unique sets and another successful showing by the Salt Lake City faithful. It was a perfect way to fall into a holiday weekend and avoid the Black Friday crowds. 

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