Story and Photos: Audrey Wright
I arrived at the Baxter Arena fairly early. Not going to lie, I have a fear of being late and I also live for a great parking spot. Metal fans were filing into the venue as I walked up to the doors. I sat down off to the side in the entrance getting my gear ready. I got to catch up with some fellow local photographers and talk about life and the usual camera gear nonsense. We were all shortly given our passes and escorted to the pit to do our work as thriving artists in this community.
In Flames was the first to open the Metal Tour Of The Year. I have seen them before, granted it was ten years ago when Sokol Auditorium was still in action. I was no stranger to their melodic guitar riffs and deep vocals. In Flames set it off and got the crowd fired up. Coming all the way from Sweden, these guys showed Omaha what heavy metal is all about.
Trivium was next to melt the crowd's faces off. I also saw them play at Sokol with In Flames ten years ago. They put on a killer show every time. Trivium’s music is a range of both singing combined with heavy growls and screaming blended with double bass drum blasts and dual guitar riffs. If you haven’t checked out this band, I highly suggest you do. They bring a great vibe onto the stage as well as killer music.
Lamb Of God was next to join the stage. As we entered the arena a colossal black curtain was dangling from the rafters, hiding the stage. I lined up to get ready to run into the pit after the curtain fell. Their intro started and a loud cannon blast was heard, the curtain shot down from the rafters and I made my way toward the pit. I have never seen Lamb Of God before so I didn’t know what to expect. I have listened to their music since I was in high school, but experiencing a live show is on a different level. They absolutely stole the stage. So much energy and excitement from this group. One of the best live productions I have ever seen. I was worried it wasn’t going to be as great as it was since lead vocalist, Randy Blythe, had just gotten over Covid. That didn’t stop him from flipping his dreads, jumping off the drum kit, and bringing the fire, literal fire, to the Baxter Arena. I highly recommend that if you have not seen Lamb Of God live, you should do so. After I shot the first three songs, I made my way up to my seat to watch the rest of their performance. As I looked to the crowd, the biggest circle pit I have ever seen, was conjugating. The crowd roared as they played their last song and I even saw their tour photographer crowd surf. It was an absolute privilege to photograph these dudes.
I had a little bit of time before Megadeth went on to walk around the venue and chat with some people I knew including my long time friends, Ricky and Jacob of We Be Lions (local band from Omaha). It was like a little family reunion seeing everyone I knew at this show, and it felt great to have support there as well.
I made my way back down to the floor to be escorted up to the pit. Megadeth also had an enormous black curtain hanging from the ceiling that fell just before their intro started. There were about 10 to 15 foot LCD monitors on stage showing graphic art for their intro. The drum kit was on a riser about 15 to 20 feet in the air. Another black curtain hung behind the stage that said Megadeth. A loud boom hurdled across the arena and then they came out on stage. For many in the crowd, it wasn’t their first time seeing Megadeth, but for me it was and I’m so humbled that I was able to witness such a legendary band perform. My parents listened to Megadeth when I was growing up so I was familiar with their music. Megadeth melted the crowd's faces off with thrashing guitar harmonies and double bass drum beats.
After I was done shooting in the pit I made my way up to my seat and watched the rest of the show. I sat off towards the side of stage left and couldn’t help but give my appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes during a show. There are so many amazing crew members that often get over looked for what they do to make the production what it is. I want to give them all a little shout out because they also work their hardest to give you an amazing show.
The Metal Tour Of The Year absolutely slayed the Baxter Arena. Thank you to the Megadeth and Lamb Of God team for having me out. You can catch these guys on the tour dates listed below.
4/29- Kansas City, MO
4/30- Tulsa, OK *No Trivium
5/3- North Charleston, SC
5/6 - Nashville,TN
5/9- Pittsburgh, PA
5/10- Rochester, NY
5/12- Portland, ME
5/13- Uncasville, CT
5/15- Allentown, PA
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Lamb of God
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