Pantera in Montreal

Mike Hubert (cwatson@cam.org)

Hi all!

Last Saturday (March 4th), I was at the Verdun Auditorium in Montreal, assiting the PANTERA concert, with Type O Negative in the first part... General review of the show; F#*KING AWESOME! I've never seen a show like this in my life... So much intensity, atmosphere (they were over 6000 people!), and weed smoke in the air! It was my first time at a Pantera concert.

The show started at 8:00PM, with Type O Negative playing for an hour or so... In my opinion, they sucked, and I think they knew that we didn't really appreciate their music... So i took advantage of this time to down 4 beers... Hehehe... Others smoked pot, I chose not too, I wanted to remeber the show the next day! After Type O left the stage, there was a loooonnnnggg intermission of 45 minutes or so; they seemed to be having technical problems... And then, PANTERA finally came out on stage... Phil wearing a pair of bermudas and a flanalette shirt... The shirt came off after a couple of tunes, unvailing his numerous tattoos! Cheer cheer cheer... I then got up from my seat and went down into the "trash", as we call it here in Montreal... I think you guys in the US call that "mosh" or something like that.

They started off by playing "Strength Beyond Strength" (FBD), then followed "Becoming". The thrash was unbelievable.. People everywhere, ramming into each other, flying in the air, shoes going from one end of the arena to the other... They then played "5 minutes alone", and then started playin' some tunes from Vulgar Display of Power... Started it off with "A new level", then "Walk".... I went back to my seat after "Walk", I just couldn't stay there any longer... I was soaking wet, my energy level was at 0... Hehehe... Phil then got the crowd to repeat "F#*kingggg hostile!!!!!" a couple of times and then followed the complet tune... It was one of his best performances of the evening. They were putting so much energy and effort in each song, it was incredible... "This Love" was next on the list. After that, they switched back to Far Beyond Driven for a while... Played "I'm broken", then "Planet Caravan". Phil then thanked us and left the stage, faking the fact that he was done with the show... They had not yet played anything from "Cowboys from hell"!! The crowd was cheering "Pantera, Pantera!!!!" The guys then ran back on stage, playing "Cowboys from hell", and the heavier part of "Hollow" from "Vulgar Display of Power". I'm not sure if they played "Psycho Holiday", I seem to remember hearing it, but I am not sure... I think that's about all they played...

People on the net have been saying that Phil wasn't very vocal in previous shows of the tour; I think since this was the last stop of the tour, he put everything he had in him in the show... it was awesome... He paused quite a few times between shows to talk to the crowd, of course with a "f#*k" every 2 or 3 words... Hehehe. First of all, he compared the show to the last time he was in Montreal, a couple of years ago... he said that the last time they were here, only a couple of thousand were here, leaving a big part of the arena empty. This time it was full... He talked quite a bit about that... He asked if everybody was getting drunk on the beer, the crowd reponded "yeah!!!", Phil then said "Alright man, that's great... You know, all of us guys up here are f#*king alcoholics"... "Let me ask you, how many of you here are f#*king marijuana users?" "Yeahhhhhh", crowd said. "Let me tell you we are all f#*king weed users..." He then paused a couple of tunes later, and gave this big speech about the fact that his group IS NOT racist,, But in the process, he sorta got f#*ked up and let a couple of racist comments slip... A couple of people in front got offended, and a small fight bursted out between Phil and the dudes... Lasted about 5 minutes, and the show went on... But Phil apologized to the general public and specific people by letter; there was an article on this in today's newpaper. it reads as follows:


PANTERA SINGER APOLOGIZES FOR RACIAL TIRADE

Twenty-five years after the Black Panthers, we had the White Pantera prowling in the Verdun Auditorium.

Singer Phil Anselmo took his band from best-kept metal secret to newsmaker after an angry screed he delivered during Saturday's jam-packed show blew up in his face like so much stage pyro.

Anselmo issued an unequivocal apology to the press this week, but the real story is how he unwittingly stripped bare one of metal's dirty little secrets.

Sic thousand-plus were listening when Anselmo began by denouncing anti-white rap acts, then made himself a lightning rod for a certain surly, muttered undercurrent of white anger as he carried the issue further.

According to Mitch Joel, co-publisher of two music magazines, freelance writer and a good union metal fan who caught the show, Anselmo widened the scope on his blunderbuss.

Joel scribbled notes furiously as Anselmo raged, interpreting black community pleas for an end to black-on-black violence as "basically saying it's OK to kill white people".

"What i heard was racism," Joel said. He spoke to the five security guards, all black, who worked the show. "I know them all, and they're total sweethearts."

They were also angry, especially when Anselmo is alleged to have told his own head of security to, "Tell the niggers to stop eyeballing me."

The Pantera security giant apologized for Anselmo. One of the five confronted Anselmo, explained that not all rap bands are racist, and extracted an apology.

Two fans, Ayanna Roberts, 21, and Tanya Armstrong, 20, who bucked the Pantera demographic and Anselmo's own theories by being both black and female, went backstage.

Roberts was attending her sixth Pantera show and could not believe she had actually heard Anselmo say, "This is our world, and tonight is a white thing."

The first person they met, drummer Vinnie Paul, was not sympathetic.

AN OPEN LETTER

"I told him I didn't appreciate what was said onstage tonight, and got immediate attitude back," Roberts said last night. "If I have doubts about Phil Anselmo (being a racist), I don't about Vinnie Paul."

Heated talk with Anselmo drew an explanation and an apology - sort of.

It might have ended there if Joel hadn't sent an open letter to Warner Music in Montreal and Toronto, to media outlets here and to Pantera's manager.

The ensuing written apology is contrite and then some:

"I must take responsibility for the harmful words that may have racially offended our audience," Anselmo writes before running through a formal list of personal apologies directed to various wounded parties.

The first two are interesting:

"First, to the black girl who has seen Pantera six times, thank-you for telling me how upset you were at me; it made a difference and I was very sincere with my apology.

"Second, I'd once again like to apologize to the security guards at the show. They were classy and professional, and came to talk to me after the show when they really didn't need to at all. They opened my eyes. And yes, they were black men. I have much respect for them. I extend my apologies and a thank-you to them."

Apology accepted?

"I don't think he's changed his views," Roberts said.

She interpreted Anselmo's verbal apology as a wrong-place/wrong-time excuse, that the speech would be appropriate in, say, Miami or Detroit or St. Louis or another U.S. city boiling with racial tension.

Anselmo's explanation for his speech was that he was "reacting angrily to something that recently happenened in my life to someone very close to me."

"I believe what he says when he says 'something happened,'" Roberts said, "because he never, ever said anything like that at previous shows.

"I'm not saying he's a white supremacist, but I think he isn't able to articulate himself properly and that he harbors racist views."

Roberts had read something on the Internet that presaged the outburst, indications that Anselmo made similar speeches during every date on the tour. She said she knows someone who caught the band at the Quebec City show a night earlier and "he was worse."

And she is a Pantera fan?

"Was."

Whether or not you buy Anselmo's sincerity, you have to wonder about the effects of his tirade. Not so much for what he said, but the way he said it, and to whom.

In the context or a reasoned debate, Anselmo might have had a point, at least at the outset of his jabber. There are questions to be asked about the popularity of the more racially charged subspecies of hip hop among white kids. The reasons - rebellion, fashion, guilt, simple agreement with black anger, the overpowering groove - are interlaced.

In the context of a performance whose intensity level is visceral, where response is usually unthinking, a reflex of physical energy and rage, Anselmo was less the outspoken rebel than the angry cracker.

Ranting to an audience awimming in beer, testosterone and, in some cases, resentment, he elected himself spokesman for a scrawled list of ugly sentiments written all-too-near the surface of a frustrated populace.

BOOS AND CHEERS

In all honesty, when the news broke that a young man had been beaten to within an inch of his life on Guy St. last week, how many out there assumed that assailants were black and the victim white, instead of vice-versa?

"You had your boos and you had your cheers," fan John Allan observed of the response to the speech.

"I don't think 13- or 14-year-old kids hear the apology, they hear white power," Joel said of the atonement.

Joel will go ahead with the feature he's planning on racism and music for the April issue of Enrage, one of his magazines, which is free and availible nationally in record stores and some other outlets.

Watch out for forthcoming tour videos to see what kind of spin the band puts on it when they think nobody but the true fan is looking.

THE MONTREAL GAZETTE, Thursday, March 9, 1995.