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PANTERA, LAMB OF GOD, S.N.A.F.U.: CFG Bank Arena, Baltimore 24/02/24

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Words and pix by ROBERT FORTE

Pantera pulled up the tour bus to the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore MD this past weekend to bring Charm City just a little taste of what helped skyrocket the Arlington, Texas power metal outfit to global super stardom in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Whether you buy into the public relations tag line that the now reformed Pantera is promoting their current tour against, “For the Fans, For the Brothers and For Legacy,” is something that’s entirely up to the individual.

The reality of the situation is Pantera has continued to influence generations of aggressive music fans regardless of who is or who isn’t in the band these days as they continue to build an enduring legacy that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

Social media was bound to shit all over the news that Charlie Benante (Anthrax) and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) would be joining original Pantera members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown for a world tour to celebrate the band’s music, history as well as the memories of both Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.

The sole purpose of social media in terms of Pantera’s legacy seemed to be to divide the masses while ironically, the band themselves has always been much more aligned with bringing people from all walks of life together.

To no surprise at all, that’s exactly what Pantera did in Baltimore at the CFG Bank Arena this past Saturday, February 24.

They brought tens of thousands of friends, family members and fans, both old and new, together for what came off as an extremely loud, blistering, joyous love-in, chock full of nostalgia and some killer aggressive live music to boot.

Coming off the band’s performance at the legendary Madison Square Garden just two days prior, it wouldn’t have been all too surprising if the boys in Pantera delivered a somewhat diminished level of a performance in Baltimore.

However, that couldn’t have been farther from the truth this past Saturday as not only did Pantera deliver a heart stopping performance from the outset of their set, both tour openers, Richmond, Virginia’s own Lamb of God and Detroit’s S.N.A.F.U., responded in kind.

Beyond the music, there was also plenty of near tear-jerking moments to be had in Baltimore this past weekend as well.

Flooded served as a moving tribute to Vinnie and Dime as images of both brothers were displayed throughout the song’s performance.

Another nostalgic moment came from the very beginning of the performance via a close to five-minute long video that played prior to Anselmo and company taking the stage which showed all four original band members in their heyday enjoying life both on and off the stage alongside fans as well as one another.

Anyone going into the show in Baltimore thinking that they were going to get a no-holds-barred, anything-can-happen at any moment, two and half hour long musical ride from hell that was a Pantera live show in the late 90’s probably came away from their set last Saturday a bit disappointed.

That’d be a damn shame because any fan that actually walked out of the arena in Baltimore not laughing, hugging and high fiving their friends in a sheer state of euphoria clearly must have missed the whole damn point of Pantera getting back together in the first place.

Pantera did not agree to reform with the mission of attempting to recreate the band that Phil Anselmo, Rex Brown, Dimebag and Vinnie built from the ground up.

Instead, this tour simply presented an opportunity for Anselmo and Brown to celebrate the legacy of the Pantera as well as to serve as an honorable tribute to the band’s two fallen heroes countless fans have had a life-long, intimate, musical connection with.

In that regard, Pantera knocked it out of the park this past Saturday, as the nearly 15,000 fans in attendance at the CFG Bank Arena sure seemed as though they would have gladly remained inside the confines of the venue for as long as the band would have been willing to play.

Sadly, if fans in North America missed the opportunity to see Pantera take to the live stage on this current run of dates, they may be out of luck.

The band’s Baltimore date served as the final U.S. date of the current tour with Pantera only has two more North American headlining dates on the calendar for the remainder of the year up in Canada.

Following four dates in March down in Australia, Pantera only comes back to the U.S. to do a handful of spring festival dates before they jump back on the road in August to serve as the tour opener for Metallica on a select number of shows.

Few aggressive heavy metal bands have had the impact Pantera has had on multiple generations worldwide.

Although fans both old and new will never have the opportunity to see and experience Pantera in their original form ever again.

A New Level
Mouth for War
Strength Beyond Strength
I’m Broken
Suicide Note Pt. II
5 Minutes Alone
This Love
Cowboys from Hell
Fucking Hostile

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