[Author’s note: The first movie I ever saw in the theater was Top Gun–and I did so at the Murray Theater (which, at the time, was a dollar movie theater) in 1986. Over the years, the Murray Theater was renovated to accommodate a variety of events, including plays, private parties, and, of course, concerts. When I learned that August Burns Red–who, in early 2015, I was listening to as much as many band–would be coming to Murray (the town in which I grew up), I knew I couldn’t miss it. And despite the fact that I’m authoring this concert report a full 18 months following the show, I still remember the excitement of the crowd, the energy of the musicians on stage, and the superb playlist rendered by August Burns Red.]
February 10, 2015 set list:
“Beauty in Tragedy”
“Thirty and Seven”
“The Eleventh Hour”
“Up Against the Ropes”
“The Seventh Trumpet”
During this particular time in my life, I looked to August Burns Red for motivational guidance and inspiration as I faced a number of seemingly overwhelming challenges. (In fact, I listened exclusively to ABR every day in the gym.) The band’s motivational messages and testimony of the power of positive thinking resonated heavily with me–and, of course, I absolutely loved their music, too.
A friend of mine was kind enough to purchase tickets for both of us; furthermore, the concert represented the first time I’d been in my hometown theater in more than 20 years. Predictably–and thankfully–the renovated theater made for an exceptionally intimate venue, creating an absolutely electric atmosphere within the facility. The crowd took full advantage of the close quarters and remained at fever pitch throughout the 15-song set.
In fact, approximately three-quarters of the way through the show, the band informed us that we’d by far been the loudest, most enthusiastic crowd August Burns Red had encountered on their present tour. While there is no question the band’s fans were fired up simply to see their heroes take the stage, a massive amount of credit for the energy in that theater belongs to the band itself.
In particular, vocalist Matthew Greiner’s stage presence was flawless, and the jubilant crowd reacted to his every word and movement with feverish screams and roars of applause. The dual guitarists and bass player were equally energetic, seldom holding still and alternating between leaps off of front-stage amplifiers and slinging their guitars around their necks and back again in time to flawlessly nail the next note of the song being played.
In a refreshing change of pace, the band refrained from profanity and was otherwise extremely respectful. Needless to say, I’ve been to my share of shows–think GWAR, Cannibal Corpse, et al–where profanity was more often utilized than the standard words of the King’s English. To be sure, there’s a time and place for vulgarity, profanity, and even ruthless insults, but enjoying August Burns Red’s set without what is now seemingly ubiquitous profanity was a delightfully refreshing change of pace. (The lack of vulgarity also helped put my date at ease–it was only her second metal concert in 46 years.)
Over the years, I’ve seen Slayer perform live nine times. I’ve also seen In Flames four times, Trivium three times, and a number of other acts more than once. After the superb performance delivered by August Burns Red during the cold Utah February night, I will undoubtedly do whatever it takes to see ABR rule the stage again.