The quarter century-old record still reigns among the thousands.
Photos by Heaviest of Art at the House of Blues in Anaheim - February 22, 2020.
The final night of a lengthy tour is always bittersweet. Fans are to endure months if not years of live absence, bands will (maybe) miss the road, and the memories left behind cause many to reminisce. It is for these reasons that touring bands look to lend on a high note, and with last Saturday's Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour closer, MACHINE HEAD did just that.
The House of Blues in Anaheim was the host for MACHINE HEAD's final night of a lengthy run in support of the band's renowned debut record, Burn My Eyes (1994). As was the case with their 2018 tour, the Robb Flynn-led quartet performed for 3-hours with no openers, leaving the show to consist of nothing but pure Bay Area metal. For as expansive as the band's upper echelon discography proves to be, there were surely no complaints on any ends.
Inching closer to the scheduled start time, sound crew began finished their check ups, setlists were taped, and the many in attendance were ready to go. Lights went dim, horns were raised high, and the melancholic opening notes of Imperium began trickling in. Seconds in and Alston began battering the drums, followed by a loud "Hear me now!" Energy spiked and Anaheim was well on its way for a memorable evening.
Propelling with the same electricity present on classics like Aesthetics of Hate and Ten Ton Hammer, each musician fired away with utmost precision. MacEachern's bass lines were audible and resounded throughout the House of Blues (credit to those at the soundboards for the excellent sound fidelity) as Kiełtyka paired off with Flynn on the axe. Drummer Matt Alston wasn't far behind as he too breathed life into the signature Beautiful Mourning and I Am Hell. Each of these crowd favorites stirred an uproar met only by the intensity the band themselves were setting forth with each performance. Facial expressions and body language of Flynn and co. would indicate that they too were having a blast.
"Scream for me Anaheim," yelled Flynn, as the band ripped through their cover of the IRON MAIDEN classic Hallowed Be Thy Name. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, that track will draw chants and sing-alongs anywhere. From one classic to another, MACHINE HEAD followed up with their 9-minute opus Halo. The track still holds its weight and represents a glorious moment in the band's career, one marked by the release of The Blackening (2007).
Whenever the Oakland titans come through Southern California, the Headcases come out in full force. Their 2018 show at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood was packed to the prim and this past Saturday evening in Anaheim was no different. As pictured below, those that were against the rail showed no signs of weariness despite the constant pressure put on by the moshing. Horns were raised consistently and hearts were full, welcoming Flynn's and Kiełtyka's riffage with great response.
As the first half of the career spanning setlist came to a close, the band went on intermission, allowing breathing space for the madness to come. It wasn't long before the lights went dim and the Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies interlude set the stage for the live performance of Burn My Eyes in its entirety.
Original MACHINE HEAD guitarist Logan Mader and drummer Chris Kontos entered for Wacław Kiełtyka and Matt Alston respectively, keeping true to the Burn My Eyes recording lineup (minus Adam Duce). Once the band was ready to go, it took but the few opening guitar licks of Davidian to turn the crowd into a frenzy. The rest was history.
It may not be 1994, but MACHINE HEAD haven't lost their touch and still explode with the same ferocity that filled the veins of the Flynn-fronted unit decades ago. The ecstatic crowd sang along, the mosh pits were moving, and more importantly, the band still delivered despite the exhaustion of a 3-hour long set. Let this be a sign that MACHINE HEAD are here to stay with the below slideshow as proof. What a night!