So after an amazing Friday, Saturday crept up on us with way too little sleep in between. :) My first task was to drag myself out of bed in time for the SeismicRadio deejays' luncheon at 1pm, at the traditional place, Houlihan's.
Here is the SeismicRadio deejays group-shot taken with my camera; there were other (and better) shots taken by others. :)
I got back to the venue just after doors had been opened for Gold Badge holders but before the regular ticket-holders were admitted, which was again a good thing since there were a few CDs and t-shirts I had missed the day before. Right on schedule, Pagan's Mind from Norway took the stage as the first band of the day, and here are my pics: Pagan's Mind #1, Pagan's Mind #2, Pagan's Mind #3, Pagan's Mind #4, Pagan's Mind #5, Pagan's Mind #6, Pagan's Mind #7, Pagan's Mind #8, Pagan's Mind #9, Pagan's Mind #10, Pagan's Mind #11, Pagan's Mind #12, Pagan's Mind #13, Pagan's Mind #14, Pagan's Mind #15, Pagan's Mind #16, Pagan's Mind #17, Pagan's Mind #18, Pagan's Mind #19, Pagan's Mind #20, Pagan's Mind #21, Pagan's Mind #22, Pagan's Mind #23, Pagan's Mind #24, Pagan's Mind #25 and Pagan's Mind #26. I had heard some of their stuff over SeismicRadio and thought it was so-so, but they were much better than I'd expected live. :)
The next band up were Italy's Secret Sphere. I'm not really a fan of their particular sound but they were entertaining to watch. :) Secret Sphere #1 (waving the American and Italian flags), Secret Sphere #2, Secret Sphere #3, Secret Sphere #4, Secret Sphere #5, Secret Sphere #6, Secret Sphere #7, Secret Sphere #8, Secret Sphere #9, Secret Sphere #10, Secret Sphere #11, Secret Sphere #12, Secret Sphere #13, Secret Sphere #14, Secret Sphere #15, Secret Sphere #16, Secret Sphere #17 (oops! "bright light! bright light!"), Secret Sphere #18, Secret Sphere #19, Secret Sphere #20, Secret Sphere #21, Secret Sphere #22, Secret Sphere #23, Secret Sphere #24, Secret Sphere #25 and Secret Sphere #26.
I took a quick opportunity after Secret Sphere to bring some purchases back to my hotel room and unwind for a bit (i.e., use a clean, uncrowded bathroom), thinking I'd have enough time to get back for the start of Circle II Circle's set. They might have started earlier than I expected and anyway, I'd left my camera behind and didn't realize it until I'd walked almost all the way to the venue, so I ended up missing the first three songs of Circle II Circle's set. A real shame, too, since they sounded great -- with a not-surprisingly-like-Savatage sound, which is a Good Thing (to me, at least). Here are the pics I managed to get, from various audience angles: Circle II Circle #1, Circle II Circle #2, Circle II Circle #3, Circle II Circle #4, Circle II Circle #5, Circle II Circle #6, Circle II Circle #7, Glenn H. all alone in front!, Circle II Circle #8, Circle II Circle #9, Circle II Circle #10, Circle II Circle #11, Circle II Circle #12, Circle II Circle #13 and Circle II Circle #14.
At one point during their well-received set Zakk Stevens praised Glenn and his crew from the stage, a sentiment the audience whole-heartedly echoed. After their set, Glenn came out and brought the whole crew out: here's a pic of Glenn and his crew. Once again, a job well-done!
Glenn said in closing "Okay, time to get this curtain closed so we can
bring my boys on!" Evergrey are, of course, Glenn's favorite
band, and this year, as during the three previous times I'd seen them,
they didn't disappoint at all. Here are my pics:
Michael Hakanson -still- skirting the issue, two years after
Evergrey's last ProgPower performance!
Here's a long, lousy shot of Tom E. (once again I had to start from the far-left side and work myself over toward the middle). Here's an oddly-lit pic of Michael, Henrik, long shot but not too bad, a better shot of Tom E., Evergrey's new keyboardist Rikard, framed by Tom's legs (it was the only way I could angle a shot of Rikard from the spot I was stuck in), Tom and Henrik, another oddly-lit pic of Michael, Tom (and Henrik), Tom (from the left side this time), Henrik and Michael, Another framed shot of Rikard, finally a decent shot of Rikard, Michael and the Disembodied Hand of Doom, Henrik, Tom, Michael and Henrik fading into the distance....., Henrik (who once again takes the Best Ink at ProgPower Award), Henrik and Michael, the action pose, Rikard is framed here by Tom's legs -and- the mic stand, Dark Henrik, Even darker Tom (I think), Michael headbanging, Michael, wider shot, and a from-the-audience shot of mostly...the audience. Evergrey turned in easily one of the best performances of the festival and so impressed my friend Derek that they've become one of his new favorite metal bands (which covers a lot of ground). It helped that they played "Nosferatu," one of our favorites, and part of "Blackened Dawn," a song I never thought I'd hear again live. (In fact, when I'd played "Blackened Dawn" on WREKage two weeks earlier, I'd mentioned that we'd probably not hear it at ProgPower, since they tend to overlook The Dark Discovery when it comes to setlists. :))
Backstage I was asked to take this pic of Michael and Glenn's bro (the crew shirt says "Scheisse!" -- there's a great story behind that, too!)
Evergrey, who had arrived in town just that day from their tour with Arch Enemy, were
having their autographing after their show, and of course I joined the crowd for the fun.
Here's a pic of my friend Derek and I behind Rikard, Tom and Jonas at the autographing,
and here's an Evergrey group-photo. That's, uh,
Diet Coke in Jonas' hand...no, really....
After the signing session we spoke with Jonas, Evergrey's brand-new drummer, for a while. He was really cool and gamely struggled with his imperfect English to tell us about, among other things, his finger...which had been cut early during their show on the side of his snare and which was bleeding on the snare drum-head. To my amazement, he'd played the entire 90-minute set wearing PVC "pleather" pants, which are even hotter to wear than leather! He's a really nice guy (and only 20!) and I hope he stays with the band a while.
Rage, from Germany, had taken the stage and were well into their set by this point, but I was really worn out and decided to get off my feet for a bit and chat with friends in the lobby. They sounded good from out in the lobby although the crowd was somewhat smaller than for Evergrey, and they played until a little after 1am.
Eventually the security folks started pushing us outside and so we milled around for a little while outside the venue. There were reports of room-parties at the Granada (where some of the bands were staying), but we decided to walk back to our hotel. Heck, we could have easily hosted a pretty big party in our room, but we were too tired. :) We weren't quite as tired (or drunk) as the keyboardist from Pagan's Mind, pictured here zonked out in the Fairfield Inn's lobby. Although several evil opportunities presented themselves to us, we wisely decided not to repaint his toenails...or worse. :)
And so, ProgPower USA IV drew to a happy close. It is far and away the best-managed and best-run metal festival in the U.S., and quite possibly the world. I'm happy once again to have contributed to the overall success of the event, and now we can look forward to ProgPower USA V. But first, I think Glenn and his crew deserve about a month of sleep!
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