Let it be known, as a regular concertgoer I am not a fan of livestreamed events. I’ve been supporting and promoting my favorites throughout the pandemic by purchasing what I can in merch and vinyl (And the odd one off CD here and there) but there’s just something about sitting in front of my five-year old laptop and staring at a screen of a band I love a million miles away performing their hearts out to a ghost audience that doesn’t do it for me after trying with Clutch, a band I’ve seen a ridiculous amount of times, earlier in the year.
That said! I decided to give it another go and have my first ever FOZZY live experience happen in this kind of setting and I’ve gotta say: It was pretty frickin’ amazing and definitely worth the price of admission.
After a solemn note dedicating the night to the late Edward Van Halen, the pre-show kicked off with the premiere of the 30-minute documentary FOZZY Across America. Filmed on October 13th, 2017 by director Nathan Mowery, the mini-film captures the historic day when FOZZY played 3 shows in 3 different timezones (Ft. Myers at 9AM, El Paso in the afternoon, and Las Vegas at 1130PM) across the U.S. to commemorate the release of Judas. It’s a great primer for those unfamiliar with the quintet with, filled with fun anecdotes and showcasing the band kickin’ ass in a live setting which they do so well and the fans that support them through it all.
Immediately following the final credits rolling, FOZZY (Rich Ward: Guitars, Frank Fontsere: Drums, PJ Farley: Bass, Billy Grey: Guitars, Chris Jericho: Vocals) just RIP into “Sin And Bones” off the 2012 album of the same name. It’s energetic. It’s electric. It’s everything you’d expect from a live performance from these seasoned veterans in front of (As Jericho likes to say) 10 or 10,000 fans (Virtual, in this case).
Bare bones and all, sporting some COVID hairstyles (Ward rockin’ a particularly rad ‘do), and even some technical glitches (Jericho accidentally unplugged his mic at one point), Capturing Judas closed the book on the massive Judas touring cycle started in the Fall of 2017 and is an equally massive love letter to longtime fans (Some of which they give a shout out to later in the performance) and those just discovering FOZZY through other means (Lookin’ at you, AEW on TNT).
But back to the show!
“Drinkin’ With Jesus” off Judas followed with Jericho exuding the same kind of swagger in a studio setting as he does in front of a packed stadium and ended with the singer dropping a sustained scream which may or may not have been a subconscious “Fuck you” to the haters doubting his vocal prowess live.
The deliberate stomp of Bluesy Hard Rawker “One Crazed Anarchist” is next and has Fontsere absolutely slaying behind the kit with Ward’s gnarly growl bringing the “Pigwalk” vibes. And for you kids out there who don’t know: Both Fontsere and Ward used to be in Stuck Mojo who have an album and song titled Pigwalk. Look it up cuz that album also slays.
In between it all, the band share stories of the road, of the songs, and favorite memories of the band in general making Capturing Judas kind of like VH1 Storytellers meets MTV Unplugged but with none of the pretentiousness. Jericho mentions how his entrance music in WCW was “One Crazed Anarchist” and while that song sucked, the song title was golden so they decided to construct a song around just that. They talk about opening for Iron Maiden last year and some more of their most memorable shows (Spain, Wacken, and Bloodstock to name a few) as well as how proud Jericho was the first time he made his entrance to “Judas” in a company he helped create (AEW) on a cruise he helped create (The third “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager” ships out in October 2021, get deets here).
But I digress.
Jericho also shared that vocals are completed for the new record (Due at some point in 2021) with Ward talking more about the process of how Judas was a different formula songwriting-wise for Jericho and him and how they followed that path again for this record. Conveniently, the first taste of that upcoming album, “Nowhere To Run”, was next and sounds as anthemic and as awesome as anything found on its’ soon-to-be predecessor.
“Do You Wanna Start A War” sans CO2 accompaniment had Jericho lamenting after the fact about what to do during a song that typically sees a good amount of crowd participation while later, the vocalist encouraged an at-home sing-a-long at the conclusion of “Lights Go Out”.
This led to a discussion on pitching ideas for songs (Fun fact: Jericho initially felt that “Painless” was “Pretty stock”) and eventually when to retire songs and which one each member misses playing live with Ward offering: “I’m gonna say a super smartass answer but If there was a song I really liked, we’d still be playing it” before digging into “Enemy” (“For the old school FOZZY fans”) with Ward’s equally angelic pipes as a contrast to Jericho and a rippin’ dual solo from Ward and Grey.
If you were lucky enough to see FOZZY during this touring cycle then you may notice that “Judas” is now a closer where it’ll most likely stay for all time going forward as it is easily the band’s most recognizable and, dare I say, iconic track. From a studio in Atlanta, the energy is palpable with Farley’s low end accenting the destructive riffage from Ward and Grey as Fontsere’s propulsive banging and Jericho’s uncanny voice belting out that all too familiar chorus bringing a close to an evening that hopefully brought a smile and a much needed distraction to countless Rawk fans.
Capturing Judas might be over but fans can catch the whole shebang on demand until November 29th by clicking here or here. For more on FOZZY, including up-to-date info on their upcoming new full-length and live dates in 2021, head here, here, or here. And for rasslin’ fans out there, make sure you catch “Le Champion” weekly on AEW Dynamite on TNT. Check your local listings for times.