One minute you’re writing a work email and the next you’re downing a Black Tooth Grin; this is the beauty of a livestream.

It was 4pm PST on a Friday, and A Vulgar Display of Pantera was starting. This was to be a livestream in the truest sense of the word; I’d be catching it live… in all its excitement and fits of technological mishaps.

I didn’t mind this at all; it made it much more exciting and real. After an opening set by King Parrot, whose show made me almost feel like I could smell that suffocating room, we were promptly in The Fillmore New Orleans. But there was no sound.

I could, however, tell that they were playing Suicide Note Pt. 1, and along with everyone else in the chat, was lamenting aka freaking out that I couldn’t hear it. These livestreams have not come without a lot of refreshing, etc….so, by the time “A New Level” hit, we had indeed found a whole new level of volume.

It was very exciting. Phil’s voice has improved over the years. I’ve been on this ride with many a metal singer; we are in rather uncharted territory with how these voices age. There have been people I have completely sworn off ever going to see again, only to end up in front of their stage somehow again, mouth agape. Healthier lifestyle? Tech help? Sold their soul to the devil or found god? Who knows… but whatever Phil did worked and we are all better for it.

“A long time ago I never knew myself…” Sure, it is hard to watch people try to keep up with Dimebag’s playing. I was lucky enough to see Dimebag twice as a teenage metalhead. If his memory died with him, tragically, you need to revisit videos, books, everything to remember what an incredible player and all around nut he was. I’ll tell you a little secret, something that will get me expelled from metal circles but is something I have kept as one of my truths that I knew in my heart of hearts since when I was 12 or so: I love Metallica, but I don’t think Kirk Hammett is great guitar player! There, I said it. Phew. It’s because I grew up with Pantera as my metal band as a Texas girl, and very few can hold a candle to Dime.

Anyway, Phil said there were 50 people in the audience, and it made the difference in allowing some banter in, making the show feel a little more ‘real’. And he addressed the livestream crowd: “people are fucking cooped up, and they want some fucking jams”. Are they still? My day-to-day life is not very changed pre and post pandemic, but I went somewhere the other day and no one seemed to be wearing a mask anymore, and that was in über strict CA. All I know is that I can’t find a real live show to go to still!

“There’s nothing special about it
It’s either there when you’re born or not
Gifted with talent, are no big deal
Welcome to the death of a century”

Death of a century‘…hmmm. That really captures what it feels like is happening right now. Phil is barefoot on stage talking about how much Dime and Vince would have loved the carrying on of the legacy of Pantera. Dropping the nugget that he and Dime’s favorite track off 1996’s The Great Southern Trendkill was “War Nerve”. I think back to 1996. All the Pantera CD’s in one of those big, heavy binders in my car. Listened to til they wore out. My friend Yoyo and I, when we got excited, would look at each other and go, “Yeah Pantera!” It wasn’t until many years later that I would read that Dime and Vinnie Paul would do the same thing but with ‘Van Halen’! In fact, these were Dime’s LAST WORDS.

In fact, the subject of Dimebag comes up often in my house, and that’s not only because my cat is named after him. Have you ever watched either of the DimeVisions? The dude was an insane partier. But beyond that, how would he have fared in today’s woke culture? His confederate flag guitar? How about the conversation around guns if what happened to him had happened to someone else in the band, or another band? WWDDD?

“This Love”->”I’m Broken” were perhaps my favorite part. Hard to pick! Because then, they left for the encore…and found out about the opening’s audio issue. So they replayed “Suicide Note Pt. 1”! Rad!

Then Phil invited a little boy from the crowd named Roman up to help perform his favorite song, “Walk”, and all of a sudden all of us were really glad we were at home with access to tissues because I don’t know about you but I got something in my eye. He was so cute! And the dynamic with his mom and Phil up there just added such a sweetness to the strength of the rest of the evening. My husband and I learned we couldn’t conceive a couple years ago, so we won’t have the joy of sharing our love of metal with our child. It’s been hard! So, we unexpectedly cried during “Walk”… who knew?!

The set ended with “Sandblasted Skin” and then a lot of whining in the chat due to no “CFH” or “Cemetery Gates”. Hey… the best things in life leave you wanting more. Right? Maybe. Still haven’t figured that one out.

A great video of 1994 Panterica featuring Jason Newsted doing “Whiplash” with Dimebag on vocals and Phil on guitar!!

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