Pantera at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center in Lexington, KY 07-FEB-24

PANTERA – FOR THE FANS, FOR THE BROTHERS, FOR LEGACY!

To appreciate the journey and enormity of this evening in Lexington, you have to reflect a bit on where it all started, or ended.  The importance of Pantera in the metal music scene is undeniable with 1990’s releases of Cowboy’s from Hell and 1992’s follow-up Vulgar Display of Power being iconic albums in every metal fan’s collections. After the band’s hiatus in 2001 and ultimate break-up in 2003, fans chances of seeing Pantera play live ever again were over. The tragic and senseless murder of guitarist Dimebag Darrell on that fateful evening in 2004 in Columbus, OH and Vinnie Paul’s sudden passing in 2018 meant the original Pantera lineup would never be again.

Roll forward to early 2022, where the news that a reformed “Pantera” was in the works after more than a 20-year absence.  The concept would be a celebration of the band’s musical legacy, for Dimebag and Vinnie and for the fans was met with every opinion imaginable.  Performing with original members Phil Alselmo and bassist Rex Brown would be guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante — two very good friends of the late Abbott brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.

Roll forward once again to this evening at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky where, after more than 70 shows covering at least 4 different continents, The February Pantera tour made a highly anticipated stop. The air crackled with anticipation as heavy metal fans flooded into Rupp Arena. The stage was set, the amps were humming, and the legends were about to unleash their sonic fury. Pantera and Lamb of God—two titans of metal—had descended upon Lexington, and the crowd knew they were in for an unforgettable night.

As the lights dimmed, the stage length curtain dropped and the crowd erupted as Pantera emerged, rolling straight into “A New Level,” “Mouth for War” and “Strength Beyond Strength” and the evening was off to a fast start. There was a smallish GA area in front of the stage and the circle pit and crowd surfers had their time as favorites “I’m Broken,” ”5 Minutes Alone” and “This Love” came blasting from the stage.

The most memorable part of the evening was the very touching tribute to brothers, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. Playing “Floods” for the first time live since 2001, The video screen flickered to life showing video clips and still pictures of the band (mostly focusing on Dimebag and Vinnie) from back in the day. It was a poignant tribute, a reminder of the indelible mark these musicians left on the metal world.

As the night drew to a close, Pantera unleashed their ultimate weapons. “Walk” had us stomping in unison, fists raised. And when they launched into “Cowboys from Hell,” the entire arena became a headbanging frenzy. The spirit of Dimebag and Vinnie was alive and well, coursing through every note. We sang, we screamed, and we felt their presence. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Pantera returned for the encore. The crowd chanted, “Pan-ter-a! Pan-ter-a!” And then it happened—the opening riff of “Fucking Hostile.” The arena exploded. Phil Anselmo’s primal screams reverberated off the walls. Zakk Wylde shredded like a man possessed. And Rex Brown’s basslines throbbed in our chests. It was chaos, it was ecstasy—it was everything metal should be!

Providing main support on this tour is none other but the mighty Lamb of God. Randy Blythe’s guttural growls echoed through the arena, shaking the very foundations. The mosh pits swirled as Lamb Of God tore into their set. “Walk with me in hell,” Randy screamed, and we gladly followed. The energy was electric, the riffs razor-sharp. Lamb of God owned the stage, leaving no doubt that they were a force to be reckoned with.

Opening the evening was Housecore Records artists Nest whose set focused on 2024’s release of the bands fourth full-length LP and Housecore Records debut, Endeavors.

Pantera
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Lamb Of God
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Nest/Housecore Records
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Rupp Arena
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