Dark Mat EU (me, Markus/Darkguy on the board and my brother,
Patrick/Sucio on the board) attended Fozzy's first concert in Vienna,
Austria last night. The venue they played (Szene Wien) is one of
Vienna's smaller ones, so attendance was probably around 250. Fozzy was
the semi-headliner on this tour, which also included Soil (headliner)
and originally Breed 77. Breed had to leave the tour early, because
something came up with money and they could not afford hotel rooms,
etc., so Vienna last night and Zürich tonight will feature Fozzy and
As is the case with most Fozzy concerts, they also offered VIP packages,
that included a ticket to the show, a dinner/meet and greet with the
band, photo ops and access to the pre-show soundcheck. These packages
cost 160 euros (around $210) a piece and since the both of us are both
big, big Fozzy and Jericho/wrestling fans, we bit the bullet and got the
Unfortunately, Fozzy currently are burdened with the world's worst bus
driver on this tour and traffic also wasn't that light, driving over
from playing in Frankfurt, Germany the night before, so what should have
been about a 7.5 hour drive turned into 15 hours. They were all somewhat
pissed at the fact, since most had planned on checking out our beautiful
city of Vienna ith it's various sights and Christas markets in the
afternoon. Despite all of this, everybody in the band was totally
professional and super-friendly, joked around and talked to us as if
we'd all been friends for years.
There were four of us who purchased the package, the two of us, a girl
who was mainly a big music and major Jericho fan and another girl who
turned out to be about one of the coolest girls (and persons!) I ever
met, and belongs to a species I didn't know to actually exist: big
Fozzy/metal fan, big wrestling fan (with even an interest in MMA),
beer-loving, down to earth and on top of that not looking like a cave
troll (and if she reads this, that what supposed to come out as a
compliment). Suffice to say, our merry little group had loads of fun and
got along great right from the start.
VIP management also helped us bond right away, as we were just left us
out in the cold (outside temperatures were around 23 F/-5°C) for about
40 minutes after the first short greeting by Todd, our VIP contact. He
came out from time to time and apologized, telling us they were running
on a late schedule because of the delay in transportation and things
would start "soon". We made the best of it, talked, joked around and
tried to figure out the access code for the tour bus and not freeze to
death in the meantime. After a while, we discovered the door to the
venue was actually open, so we decided to at least spend the rest of our
waiting period in the heated foyer of the venue.
Then finally things started happening and we got to meet the band and
enter catering. Jericho was talking to somebody as we entered but
greeted us warmly in passing. The rest of Fozzy entered catering shortly
after us and started chatting to us right away. We sat down and ate
(Jericho joined us shortly afterwards), talked about Vienna and the tour
thus far, music, wrestling (with Jericho interestingly repeating Lance
Storm's argument from a while back that wrestling could actually be an
Olympic sport in the way that gymnastics or figure skating are: people
working together and the best worked match winning). Jericho also
briefly talked about his time in Europe and how he especially loved
Hamburg, since whenever he had a day off, there were some of his
favorite bands playing basically across the street. I also really
enjoyed talking to Paul, Fozzy's bass player whose wife actually has
Austrian roots, a fact we discussed pretty in-depth.
After finishing dinner it was time to get the stuff we brought signed
and take pictures. I had Jericho sign his two books (he asked which one
I liked better and I told him the first one, because I just loved his
world-traveling stories). Sadly, he refused to sign one of Mick Foley's
books (I asked if he could put in that Foley had nevr beaten him in a
match), arguing that if he did, he was afraid Foley might one day beat
him over the head with it.
Then it was photo-op time and everybody posed like the rock superstars
and Fozzy marks that we (respectively) were. Since I had beforehand
decided that the Bella Twins being on the F4WOnline.com front-page for
any length of time was a no-go, a Figure Four Weekly mock-up was created
before the show, touting the rocking of Vienna by Fozzy, while gently
implying that Lance Storm was currently doing no such thing. Jericho
agreed to pose with it and the result is attached to this report.
After that, we were dismissed for the time being and decided to use the
opportunity of being alone in the venue to shill out some more money and
get some sweet Fozzy merch from the yet unoccupied merch table. After
all, hungry mouths need to be fed, and Lady Gaga must be destroyed (plus
it's winter and everybody should have a Fozzy hoodie when it's getting
So back out to the Foyer we went, chatted and rolled our eyes at some of
the people already arriving, talking of the greatness of some Sheamus
chairshots and other nonsense that may or may not have happened at the
last, way too-long episode of RAW, that was lacking a neat Fozzy
soundtrack and one Mr. Jericho coming back to save this trainwreck of a
weekly episodic television show.
Todd, our VIP contact then came out once more and invited us to join the
band's sound-check (which they somehow managed to still squeeze into the
tight schedule of the evening), to the envy of everybody else around us
who couldn't quite figure out why we were being allowed in while they
weren't - ah, the magic of being a V.I. F'n P.!
Sound check also was fun and a very unique experience, especially when
contrasting it (everybody casually dressed, calm, professional, goofing
around with the mics, etc.) to the eventual concert later.
So we enjoyed our little personal mini-concert and took some more
pictures. After stepping out again, it was time for the first beer of
the night and a little more waiting (we were getting pretty good at that
by the time).
Sadly the guys at the venue screwed up and didn't open the door we were
standing by but another one, robbing us of our well-deserved spots in
the first row. We settled for second and opted just to take first row
when we deemed fit to do so.
Finally the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered, Have a Drink on Me by
AC/DC hit and Fozzy entered the stage. A few seconds later, the
Ayatollah of Rock'n'Rollah himself materialized and did what only he can
do, and what most band-leaders and pro wrestlers lack these days: total
control of the crowd with every motion, look and gesture, directing them
to do exactly what he wanted them to and having them eat out of the palm
of his hand and just being too damn froot (look it up in his books, guys
and girls) to really show that he cared much about it, because he is
Chris Jericho and these things just come natural to him.
They opened up their set with Spider in my Mouth, the opening track of
their current album "Sin and Bones" and the place basically exploded.
They followed that with their current Single Sandpaper and then went
back in time to their roots as mostly a cover band (remember Fozzy
Osbourne?) with a cover of Krokus' Eat the Rich. Then came songs such as
She's my Addiction, To Kill a Stranger and Enemy before they finished
the set off, way too early after about an hour on stage, with Blood
Happens. By that time I had virtually headbanged my neck off and was
drenched in sweat, had shot more than 70 pictures and was looking
forward to my next Fozzy concert, which I somehow hoped could be right
on the next day. Sadly, flights from Vienna to Zürich are pretty
expensive, when you want book them the night before, so I'm putting all
my hopes in the upcoming summer festival line-ups.
Besides being a wrestling fan for more than 20 years, I've also been a
big metalhead for the greater part of the last two decades. I've
attended probably a few hundred concerts and festivals all over Austria
and Europe and have seen probably most of "name" acts (and lots and lots
of smaller, more underground bands) of that period on stage during this
period. With that being said, Fozzy as a live band blow most, if not all
of these bands out of the water with their stage-performance. Jericho,
as a big metal fan himself, also greatly profits from his 20+ years of
experience as a performer and entertainer in the ring. He is just such a
show-off on stage, with his sunglasses, sleeveless shirt and rock star
mentality. He really draws the audience into his world, runs around,
poses, jumps off the drumset-podest, points at the crowd, interacts with
the other band members, hoists up the mic-stand, slaps hand with fans
and has an all-around great time. The rest of the band are just as
professional, never miss a beat and you can just feel that they all love
performing on stage and are really experienced and well-rounded
musicians. Rich "The Duke" Ward is an awesome and wildly entertaining
guitar hero and backup vocalist, Paul Di Leo is just a beast on the
bass, Billy Grey on the second guitar is a real speed machine and Frank
Fontsere holds the whole thing together on a rhythmic level with his
awesome drum play.
After Fozzy, Soil played and we watched them with a kind of admiration
and pity - yeah, they had their fans and those reacted to their various
hits, but it just wasn't Fozzy playing there on the stage and at no
point did they get the reactions or had the control of the crowd that
their preceding act had.
At various points after the concert we briefly met Rich, Paul and Billy
who all were very appreciative of our kind words and Billy told us they
had plans for the festival summer and hoped they'd be back soon.
My recommendation: If Fozzy plays anywhere near you or near enough we're
you'd consider to go see them: Stop considering and just go, they are
both an awesome live act and have come into their own during the last
few albums, created a unique sound and will just rock your head off. If
you can afford it, also get the VIP package, as the band really is very
down to earth, approachable and friendly and treats its fans first class.
On a side note, we decided to close the evening out with a few more
drinks and took a cab to a well known hard rock/metal establishment in
town - and managed to get the one driver in Vienna who actually knew his
way around town AND started talking about Fedor Emelianenko and Junior
Dos Santos plus had actually trained MMA for a while.
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