Death Comes Ripping: The Misfits Live in New Jersey
Glenn Danzig makes his homecoming return to the legendary horror-punk band.
By Ray Morse
While navigating this perplexing phenomenon we call life, it is certainly not out of the ordinary to find yourself with an unquenchable thirst for something. In most cases, this sort of predicament can be sated swiftly with relative ease. For others that aren’t so easy to placate, the hunger within continues to grow and must remain unfulfilled. Somewhere far beyond that lay my undying need to one day witness a proper reunion of a band that had broken up a year before I was born but had been woven into my life-fabric longer than it wasn’t. That, or watch Hell freeze over first. I would have been good with settling for either one.
In May of 2016, the punk rock world (as well as my own) was rocked when the New Jersey-based horror-punk band The Misfits made the unprecedented announcement that they would be reuniting with the band’s founder and original vocalist, Glenn Danzig, for the first time since 1983 to perform two shows at Riot Fest in Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois, respectively. A year later, the reunited lineup performed two additional concerts in Las Vegas, Nevada and Inglewood, California before finally arriving home on May 19th, 2018 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Ghoul's Night Out
Having missed out on the first four reunited Misfits shows with little-to-no promise of the band returning for a homecoming performance, I had experienced their comeback through obsessively seeking out photographs and devouring any and all poorly-to-expertly shot camera phone videos posted on YouTube. I kicked myself often for not breaking the bank and trekking out to one of these concerts across the country, but at the same time found myself content that the day had come where they set aside all of their differences long enough to get back out there and jam-out a few shows together and did so without missing a single beat. Regardless of my being there to witness it or not, it happened.
Fast-forward to the misty and fog-covered evening of May 19th, where I found myself standing in awe outside of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, surrounded by both new friends and old, awaiting entry to an experience I would have never expected would happen in my lifetime. A sea of patched-up, spiked, and studded leather jackets were everywhere the eye could see and the excitement from fans new and old was electric. After nearly forty years, both The Misfits and punk rock were alive and well!
After impressive sets by Harley Flanagan (of Cro-Mags fame), Murphy’s Law, and Suicidal Tendencies, the wait was finally over! The lights went dark for what felt like an eternity before the deep blue hues enveloped the stage with the only break in color being the two large illuminated pumpkins on each side. My mind immediately thought these sorts of visuals could fit rather nicely in a Dario Argento film. As the lighting was fully realized, an ominous-sounding score kicked in to set the mood. You could almost feel the energy in the room building up as the slow-burn introduction rolled out the red carpet for these legendary musicians. Quick flashes of light hit the stage, emulating lightning, and revealed the massive line-up of Fiend-skull painted guitar cabinets decorating one end of the stage to the other. A bit of movement could be seen in between the flashes as the band took their positions and readied themselves for their cue. At this point, the screams from the sold-out crowd began consuming the soundtrack and just when you thought the fans couldn’t hold back the energy any longer… release.
The Misfits exploded into “Death Comes Ripping” with as much ferocity and power as the venue could withstand. The music was intense, heavy, and relentless, leaving anyone standing in its path not a lick of chance for survival. Dave Lombardo commanded the sticks to assault every piece of percussion that surrounded him and Jerry Only matched his rapid-fire rhythm every step of the way. Newcomer to the band (but not the scene) Acey Slade kept to his corner of the stage but shredded as though he were performing a solo set. On the opposite side of the stage, Doyle stomped around like Godzilla terrorizing Tokyo all while abusing his axe with every pulse-pounding note. Danzig lead the charge, delivering his classic lyrics the way they were meant to be experienced. Hearing the crowd join him in singing the chorus was pure energy that I have honestly not witnessed from a song since Iron Maiden’s performance of “Fear of the Dark” at Rock in Rio. It was truly something special!
The evening continued in similar fashion as the band hammered-out 27 classic songs that spanned their entire early catalog, with even a few surprises thrown into the mix. Each track was accompanied by theme-specific videos that matched what they were playing, which ranged from classic monster movie footage with a Misfits twist to downright surrealism. Between the video clips and the horror movie-inspired lighting, the show remained visually interesting all throughout with an unmatched soundtrack of tunes we’ve all been dying to hear Danzig lend his vocals to again for many years. The full set list follows:[blockquote-0]
“We Are 138” and “Angelfuck” were the only two songs from the stage set list, which can be viewed in the gallery below, that were not played. While this might have been a disappointment to some, when the dust finally settled and my friends and I were on the way home with our ears still ringing, I was beyond content with the near-thirty tunes we did get to witness live.
Where Eagles Dare
As somebody who is a die-hard fan of The Misfits and a writer (if you can call it that) here on Dead Entertainment, I felt that it was my duty to not only report on my experience at this show but also offer our readers a glimpse through my eyes. Prior to the event, I had planned on taking a bunch of photos relatively early on and perhaps a video or two to share here on the site along with my article. That plan, however, was nixed when I found out that the concert would be phone-free via a company called Yondr, which would be overseeing fan-entry to the event and packing up your devices into these inconveniently-locked pouches that could only be opened in designated areas outside of the main arena space.
Although my device remained locked-up during the concert, I am partly grateful that I didn’t have the distraction of fidgeting with my phone for the sake of photography and more so because I didn’t have to witness the performances through another person's massive fucking iPad! Seriously, there’s a special place in hell for those people!
Thankfully, at the end of the day, this music is punk rock and if you know a thing or two about the history of the genre, it’s that punk rockers don’t take kindly to oppression. Thanks to the individuals who took it upon themselves to break free of their Yondr-chains, you now have a pretty kick-ass gallery of photographs from the show to browse below.
I would like to take a quick moment and thank each and every concert-goer who answered my inquiry about using their show photos here on the website and allowed me to do so. Without them, I doubt many would have stuck around this long through this rambling mess. With your photo contributions, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for our readers! So, on behalf of them, myself, and all of the Dead Entertainment staff, I show my humble appreciation for your gesture.
To our readers: what the hell are you waiting for? Check out these awesome pictures!
All Hell Breaks Loose
So, in closing, you might be asking yourself “After all of the years of drama and the holding up hope, was this show worth the price of admission? Did the band exceed expectations? Can Danzig still hang?” My answer would be a resounding “YES!” across the board. Sure, there were some minor microphone issues during the first few songs that got resolved relatively quickly.
Indeed, Danzig got a little too close to those monitors which resulted in some sporadic feedback. Naturally, a 62 year-old man would be out of breath after belting out those lyrics. Of course, the relentless-speed of punk rock doesn’t exactly resonate very well in a venue like the Prudential Center.
Was it the perfect show? No, but when the hell was punk rock ever about being perfect? They took the stage, kicked some serious ass, and left everyone attempting to process the musical assault they had just witnessed. Above all and most importantly, it showed that while the band has aged a solid 35 years, the spirit of punk rock never died and sure as hell didn’t let that be an excuse to slow them down!
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