It was a hot one. Not only the Freaks on Parade Tour stopping in Council Bluffs IA, but the heat index reached 106 degrees Saturday, August 6th, 2022.
Fans lined up outside Westfair Amphitheater around 11:30 am to get prime viewing. Doors didn’t open until 2pm but people still braved the heat in order to be front and center for the anticipated freak show.
89.7 The River radio station had been pushing the importance of water days ahead of the show on air and social media. They were already anticipating record breaking heat and they were right. In order to help combat the heat The River provided free bottled water, a refill station, a misting tent and $5 cooling towels. The Tale Untold also handed out water to anyone waiting in line. All that helped, but there were still a lot of people that fell out. Westfair Amphitheater has minimal shade midday and fans in the pit didn’t get any reprieve until around 7pm.
Two local bands were brought on to start the day. Female fronted The Tale Untold was up first. I hadn’t seen this band yet, so was looking forward to their set. I was amazed how Eliss Hall slayed the vocals. It was also a real treat to see Ashlee Boyce behind the drums. I love seeing women on the heavy metal stage. Overall the band was very heavy and a great choice to kick the day off.
Through Fire was up next. I was really excited to see the new line up. Zac and Tyler Halverson out of Des Moines, IA recently joined the band. I know the Halverson bothers from their other band Awakening Force. Both are great additions. The energy they provide is straight fire. Even with minimal time together, the band was well synced; as if they’d been together for years.
Powerman 5000 put on a great show but I was a little surprised they didn’t play anything off their most recent album, The Noble Rot. Maybe I shouldn’t be. They played a good mix from over the years. Their most popular songs “Bombshell” and “When Worlds Collide” got the crowd hyped.
Before the show I’d seen some shade thrown at Static X on the socials. People were commenting it’s not the same since Wayne Static passed away and it’s just a cover band. I suppose diehard fans of any band will say that. I thought Xer0 (lead vocals) sounded great and nailed all the songs. Static X didn’t miss a beat and even talked about Wayne Static in their set. It’s very apparent they keep him close to their hearts.
Mudvayne was arguably the most anticipated band of the night and did not disappoint. Each band member’s make up and dress was on point. Opening with “Dig” was the perfect choice. It was so fast and heavy, it got the crowd pumped.
I’ve seen video from previous shows where Chad Gray gets into the crowd to get close to his “metal family”. After the fall in Tampa, Florida I wasn’t sure if it would happen again, but it did… a couple of times. The crowd went crazy and ate that shit it up.
Mudvayne’s make-up, dress and song choice gave nod to their roots. A good portion of their set was from their 2000 debut album L.D.50. Besides the opener “Dig”, they played “Under My Skin”, “-1”, “Severed”, “Death Blooms”, “Internal Primates Forever” and “Nothing to Gein”. The rest of the setlist were their bigger hits “Dull Boy”, “World So Cold”, “Not Falling”, “Determined” and “Happy?”.
There was some scuttlebutt about a new guitarist before the show. Gray didn’t mention it, but former guitar tech and behind the scenes vocalist Marcus Rafferty made his way to the main stage. Rafferty stayed on the right side, towards the back of the stage. I’m interested to see if he’ll start working the stage as he gets more shows under his belt.
Rob Zombie, the Hellbilly, King Freak himself, closed out the night in true Zombie fashion. He brought the full stage complete with floor to ceiling video screens, inflatable monsters and preeminent light show. Zombie started off singing “The Triumph of King Freak” atop a huge mechanical Zombie skull and bassist, Piggy D was wearing a metal skull mask that covered his head. After the first song, they took the skull stage away and Piggy D removed his mask.
Zombie danced his way back and forth across the stage only pausing a couple times to address the audience. One thing of note, Zombie reminisced about the time Joey Jordison (Drummer – Slipknot) toured with him. She stated whenever he gets back to Iowa it reminds him of that time. This was an unknown fact for me. Zombie always gets the crowd going with his hits. No matter how many times I’ve seen him, I’m always amazed by his energy and his funky dance moves. He’s a consummate entertainer that gives his all every time.
The Freaks On Parade Tour is a must see this year. Not only is it a stacked line up with plenty of theatrics, but it’s the first opportunity for most to catch Mudvayne after their 13-year hiatus. They’re plenty of dates coming up. Grab your tickets for the next closest show