The most incredible Armenian squad in the world tore down the house with the recording of their first ever live album on a beautiful night in Toronto.
OPENING ACT: Craig Gass
If you’re not from Toronto or have never been to the spectacular Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, the only advice I have is that you should really take public transportation such as the Go Train to get there, because driving downtown Toronto especially during the end of spring and during the whole summer, when there are thousands of events happening at the same time in the city, is absolutely nuts.
Anyway, I’m not really sure if this can be called an opening act, but stand-up comedian and impressionist Craig Gass (and not comedian Rob Mailloux as it was announced a few days before the event) did a pretty good job in my opinion warming up an insane crowd avid for heavy music in what can be called a perfect day in terms of weather. For you who didn’t know him, he’s famous for lending his voice to the TV show American Dad!, for his impersonation of the unparalleled actor Al Pacino, and for being in several TV shows such as The King of Queens, Sex and the City and Law & Order. You can view his full career profile HERE.
Back to his performance, as I said he was way better than everyone at the venue could have expected, with his jokes being actually funny, his speech being very organic and with a nice flow, and his impersonation of Al Pacino being indeed amazing. To be fair, I don’t know if an opening band could have had a better response from the crowd than what happened to Craig. He was a excellent choice, and I hope that kind of “surprise” happens again in a near future with other major bands. Not to mention he had an ace up his sleeve when he simply mentioned that the Armenian-American Alternative Metal heroes every single metalhead, alternative or simply fan of good music was waiting for were about to record their first ever official live album right here in Toronto!
It was around 9pm when the wicked performance by System Of A Down started, tearing down the house with their unique mix of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll and other hundreds of music genres, creating something special only those guys are truly capable of crafting. The band showed all their love for Toronto with a flawless performance, and the fans at the venue responded back singing, screaming and jumping up and down nonstop to each and every song of their extensive setlist composed of over 25 songs.
The excellent Deer Dance already ignited the electricity among all fans, but it was when they started playing fan-favorites like Aerials, B.Y.O.B. and Revenga that things got really interesting. In Aerials, for instance, I don’t remember seeing a single soul not singing it together with Serj, Daron, Shavo and John. And talking about Mr. Serj Tankian, he perfectly incorporates the “less is more” spirit by not wearing any flashy or special clothes, not trying to steal the spotlight nor anything like that, but by only singing, dancing and having an awesome time on stage with the other band members and all the SOAD fans.
There isn’t much to say about the 100% fiery songs Bounce, Psycho (this one featuring snippets from “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer and “You Spin Me Round” by Dead Or Alive) and Chop Suey! Those songs are made to jump as high as you can and that’s what everyone did, including this guy here writing this review. In addition, it was pretty cool to witness over 15,000 people singing its beautiful lyrics with the band (“I don’t think you trust / In my self-righteous suicide / I cry when angels deserve to die”), including a group of four friends right in front of me who were having the time of their lives during the entire concert, drinking lots of beers and smoking everything they could.
Other songs that deserve some special recognition were one of my favorites of their arsenal, Toxicity (also featuring a snippet from “You Spin Me Round”, by the way); the ballad Lonely Day were thousands of lighters helped Mr. Daron Malakian and the fans give it a special touch while singing it in unison; and also Daron making fun of the stupid lyrics in the also frantic Cigaro. However, for me the most memorable song of their setlist was also my favorite song by SOAD, Prison Song. Just its intro with Serj whispering “They’re trying to build a prison…” already makes my blood run wild, but it was when they changed its lyrics as a tribute to their Torontonian fans, with Daron singing “I buy my crack, my smack, my bitch right here in TORONTO”, that their performance reached a whole new level. Simply amazing.
Last but not least, as the sound quality at the Molson Canadian Amphitheare is beyond perfect, I was able to carefully listen to the powerful sound delivered by drummer John Dolmayan and especially by bassist Shavo Odadjian. That guy is a beast on the bass guitar, not only supporting the performances by Serj and Daron but also offering the fans his own special rumbling lines for the delight of fans of heavier stuff. Unfortunately, after the also classic Sugar was over it was time to go back home, extremely satisfied with the concert that had just finished and knowing we’ll soon be able to watch everything again when their first ever live DVD is released. Hey man! Look at me rockin’ out, I’m on the videooooooo!
1. Mind (Intro)
2. Deer Dance
5. Soldier Side (Intro)
17. Chop Suey!
18. Lonely Day
20. Lost in Hollywood
24. Prison Song
Serj Tankian – vocals, keys
Daron Malakian – guitar, vocals
Shavo Odadjian – bass
John Dolmayan – drums