Concert Review: Armored Saint, July 17, Mod Club

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“Toronto! It only took us 18 years to come back. What was that? It was a blip.”

These were Armored Saint vocalist John Bush’s opening words to the crowd on Tuesday night and though he apologized for the lengthy delay between visits, he offered up no real explanation other than that they were “dumb” for doing so. But hey, the crowd of diehard fans didn’t seem to mind one bit – I guess all that stuff about absence making the heart grow fonder is true. And I’d imagine the fact that the L.A. based metal band would be playing their 1991 album Symbol Of Salvation in its entirety probably played a part in the fans’ excitement too.

Yes, Armored Saint has joined the ever growing list of acts doing shows/tours dedicated to one particular album (I think that list pretty much includes any and every band nowadays) and after an opening trio of tunes that are not on that album (“March Of The Saint”, “Long Before I Die” and “Chemical Euphoria”) they launched into Symbol Of Salvation. Starting things off with opening track “Reign Of Fire,” they ran through the whole album in order before ending things off with a few more classic tracks. Technically no encore though – after 18 years away, they decided not to waste our time by walking off the stage, opting instead to just keep playing. Such thoughtful chaps.

At one point during their set, Bush mentioned that he recognized a few familiar faces in the crowd, including one fan who had apparently followed the band on tour for a few dates, starting in New York, then moving on to Boston and Montreal before coming back home to see the band in Toronto. That seemed perhaps a bit excessive considering that the band’s setlists for each of those shows were practically identical – no Grateful Dead style jams to be found – but it just goes to show the lengths that some will go to to see their favourite bands live. And I’m sure that fan did not walk away disappointed from any of those shows.

Formed back in 1982, Armored Saint are a 36 year old band touring behind a 27 year old album, but while it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip, they certainly did not show their age at all (other than a bit of hair loss). They put on a solid show over the course of roughly an hour and 45 minutes – the band was tight and Bush’s gruff, full-throated vocals sounded great. Here’s hoping they keep that promise to not wait 18 years until the next Toronto show.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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