Fozzy Live at The Waterfront, Norwich Review

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Fozzy on stage in Norwich
Fozzy about to launch into Under Blackened Skies

Six months after they came to rock our shores with their short tour in May, Fozzy returned to the UK for a 2 week stretch covering the whole of the UK (you can read Rocksins’ review of Fozzy’s London show and my exclusive interview with Chris Jericho from that tour here). Myself and my buddy (and Rocksins new resident photographer) Dave were lucky enough to catch them at The Waterfront in Norwich, a new venue for both of us. How was the show? Read on to find out…

Fozzy had assembled an impressive array of support bands to accompany them on this tour, I’m sure Norwich doesn’t get treated to a collection of bands like this often. Before the show we spent some time with Fozzy axeman Billy Grey (read that interview with Billy right here) so we missed all but the last song of opening band Cambion. From what little we did see they seemed like an entertaining four piece with mixed vocals between the lead singer and female bassist, and I would have liked to have seen more of them.

Second up were the UK’s own Death Valley Piledriver, hailing from down the road in Peterborough. DVP are a five piece band with riffs aplenty which are guaranteed to get you headbanging, certainly judging by their live performance at least. Lead singer Riktor was sporting a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt, which coupled with the amount of wrestling fans in the room led to some entertaining banter between songs, and he was subjected to the “What?!” treatment at least once (see clips of the WWE from around 2001 if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Death Valley Piledriver on stage in Norwich
Death Valley Piledriver: What?!

A combination of some great riffs, ferocious drumming and fierce vocals meant that the DVP guys were very well received, and with songs such as The End of Days, it is not hard to see why. I’m sure tonights performance grew their fanbase further and it will be good to see more of them in the future. Another UK band to watch out for.

Main support Symphony Cult were a four piece fronted by lead singer Charlotte Lubbock. They were pretty similar in style to Lacuna Coil (Rocksins’s friends at ThisIsNotAScene described them as a mix of Lacuna Coil, Alice in Chains and Skunk Anansie) which I think was a fair description. They played well and Charlotte commanded the stage efficiently but the crowd was getting a little restless for Fozzy, so they were perhaps not received quite as well as Death Valley Piledriver (which was a shame in my opinion as I thought they put on a pretty good show).

During the changeover, there were numerous Y2J and Fozzy chants (along with pretty much every random WWE wrestling chant you could possibly think of from the last 10 years), which after 20 minutes was starting to get a little bit old so it was a big relief when the lights went down and the now traditional Fozzy intro of We Will Rock You hit the PA. Rich, Billy, Sean and Frank all took up position during the intro leaving Chris to charge onstage, signifying the energy the band were to display almost constantly all night.

Fozzy on stage in Norwich
Fozzy about to launch into Under Blackened Skies

They launched into Under Blackened Skies and the stage was a whirlwind of movement and headbanging, Chris, Billy and Sean interchanging places while Rich Ward bounded around his section of the stage with headbanging aplenty from all both in the crowd and on stage. That was still nothing compared to the crowd reaction as Fozzy immediately followed into Martyr No More, the trademark groove riff getting people bouncing and going crazy from front to back and instigating a very loud singalong.

“This is great” yelled Chris. “I don’t have to do anything up here because you’re all going crazy!”. They slowed things down a little with next song Grail, which gave Chris a great opportunity to show off what a good singer he is. Chris then asked if we were ready to be this crazy all night (loud cheers) and if we wanted “dirty skanky smelly disgusting dripping off the ceiling brutal heavy music” (louder cheers). He was pleased with the response and Fozzy launched into Wanderlust from All That Remains, one of their heaviest tracks. Daze of the Weak kept up the pace before it was time for a couple of the well known Fozzy covers with Feel The Burn and one of my personal favourites, Eat The Rich.

Chris Jericho of Fozzy on stage
Chris Jericho Looking Pretty Happy With Norwich

Chris then led the crowd in a loud, largely successful attempt to all pronounce Paraskavedekatriaphobia together before saying “to hell with this, we’ll just call it Friday The 13th!”. The drumming on this song live is something that really must be heard, it sounds incredible with great work from Frank behind the kit. Rich Ward also transformed himself into a whirling dervish, performing spin kicks while shredding the main riff which was a fantastic sight. Crucify Yourself was then pulled from the Fozzy back catalogue, before the guys took the energy levels up even further. Chris then asked if we wanted to go home, the response was a resounding no!! “Don’t you guys have school or jobs to go to?! I’ll write you all a note…Dear professor f**kface, Jericho says piss off!” – you couldn’t argue with that logic from the Fozzy frontman.

Chris decided to stand on a box so he could see all of us to direct The Waterfront in helping with the chorus to the fantastic God Pounds His Nails, which the crowd responded with very loudly, all the while bouncing and headbanging more and more with each passing song. God Pounds His Nails immediately rolled into current single Let The Madness Begin, and the madness certain began, with several crowd surfers and the band going crazy. Regular Fozzy cover Freewheel Burning completed the main part of the set, with the crowd demanding an encore very loudly.

Billy Grey of Fozzy shredding
Billy Grey Soloing in Grail
Frank Fontsere of Fozzy blasting away
Frank: Fozzy Drum Machine

We did not have to wait long for their return, with the intro to To Kill A Stranger coming over the PA one by one the band returned to the stage with Chris Jericho being last, charging onto stage and jumping off the previously placed box so high into the air he nearly knocked himself out on the ceiling (he was clearly trying to outdo Rich Ward in the crazy stakes, one thing Rich could never normally lose to anyone on!). To Kill A Stranger sounded fantastic, but when Chris addressed the crowd, saying they’d like to play one more song, but he didn’t think Fozzy knew anymore songs, everyone in The Waterfront was chanting for the bands most well known song Enemy. They duly obliged with an extended even heavier than usual version to finish the night off in spectacular style.

The band had shown seemingly unlimited energy levels all night, all the while performing with massive grins on their faces pretty much all the way through. With Fozzy you can tell that this is a band that are truly doing what they do for the love of the music first, rather than being in it purely to make money.

When I interviewed him back in may, Chris Jericho said that the UK gets Fozzy in a different way to other countries, and at both Fozzy shows I’ve seen this year, I get what he means. The Fozzy fans are fanatical. Some of them may have originally got into Fozzy “because its Chris Jericho from WWE and his band” but I do not think anyone who has seen them live would be thinking like that during or after the show. Billy Grey said in his interview how nice it was to interact with the fans on their VIP experiences they’ve done on the tour and you can tell he means it. The fans love the band and the music and the band love their music and the fans back, that is how it should be.

As usual, Fozzy delivered and then some. With respect to Delia Smith and the brief time Norwich City FC were in the Premier League, Norwich has never seen anything this good, and won’t again until Fozzy return. They were THAT good, but then again, its not surprising. After all, Fozzy are Huge Rock Stars!

The Full Fozzy Setlist Was:

Under Blackened Skies
Martyr No More
Grail
Wanderlust
Daze Of The Weak
Feel The Burn
Eat The Rich
Friday The 13th
Crucify Yourself
God Pounds His Nails
Let The Madness Begin
Freewheel Burning
======================
To Kill A Stranger
Enemy

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