Tampa, FL(July, 27th 2022)
As Rob Zombie looked out into the overflowing crowd that packed into the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre and he said, “I didn’t name this tour Freaks On Parade after us, I named it after YOU”. Of course this elicited the appropriate response of everyone cheering wildly. Yes, Rob Zombie part singer, part film maker, part carnival barker and all around world class entertainer has brought his latest tour aptly named Freaks On Parade to Tampa Florida for all its metal and hard rock freaks to enjoy. Joining him on his twenty one city romp that is tinged in the early 2000’s are Powerman 5000, Static X, and Mudvayne.
Even though there is direct familial lineage between Spider One the lead singer of Powerman 5000 and his big brother and tour mate Rob Zombie, their relationship be damned, Powerman 5000 is a gem of a fit on this tour. Their brand of industrial metal and high energy performance were the perfect choice to kick things off. The band hit the stage quickly and dove right into “Footsteps And Voices” off of their 2017 release New Wave. No questions about it, they lived up to their reputation for an energetic performance. Between Spider fist pumping his way across the stage and his bandmates in constant motion they had their collective foot to the floor and going full throttle. They ripped through some of their hit songs including “Nobody’s Real” and “Bombshell”. The band finished their compact set with a trip back to the album that launched their career The Stars Revolt Tonight and played “Supernova Goes Pop” and ended their part of the show with their biggest hit song “When Worlds Collide”
The next band of the night was Static X. Yes, the industrial metal band made famous by Wayne Static and his shock of hair is back in business. While Wayne untimely passed in 2014, The original band mates bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda and drummer Ken Jay decided back in 2019 to get the band back together. But what would they do about a singer? They replaced him with a masked singer named Xer0. With everyone on stage, they kicked things off with “Bled For Days”. One thing that stands out is how much Xer0 sounds like Wayne Static. Throughout the seven song setlist that borrowed heavily from the iconic album Wisconsin Death Trip the band was tight and performed with precision. Campos and Fukuda were in constant motion and playing to the crowd. While the band was sounded great and put on a quality performance, one has to wonder if the band dropped the Xer0 moniker and allowed the singer to interject his own personality would that take things to another level?
Now it was time for a band that was a must see for many, yes Mudvayne is back in business. After being on a ten plus year hiatus, most thought the odds of seeing them live were nil. Thankfully, they came back for last years festival season, and now this is their first full tour back. With a curtain covering the stage, all eyes were on it and wondering what lay behind it as well as what was coming. Out of nowhere the band launched into “Dig”, then the curtain dropped fully revealing the band. Lead singer Chad Gray was center stage wearing his now trademark white face paint with fake blood dripping off of it. Within seconds Gray got off the stage and practically dove into the rabid crowd. Even when security pulled him out of the crowd, he never missed a beat and sang during the whole trip. Meanwhile on stage bassist Ryan Martinie with slicked back hair, black stripes on his face and shirtless stalked the stage relentlessly while thumping out complex bass lines. Meanwhile guitarist Gregg Tribbett had red face paint as well as a black top hat and steampunk goggles.
The band steam rolled through a set that relied heavily on L.D. 50 playing songs such as “Death Blooms”, “Nothing To Gein”, and “-1”. Throughout all of this gray would take many trips off stage and out into the audience. During their performance of “Not Falling” ironically he would fall on one of his jaunts off stage. While this had to hurt, he shook it off with ease and kept going like nothing ever happened. The man is definitely a beast of a performer. If there was one song that understated how everyone was feeling as to what they witnessed so far was the final song of their set “Happy?” Of course, just like every other song they performed it was incredible and it was if the band had never taken a ten year pause.
Now it was time for the ringleader of the night to strut his stuff. There was no mistaking who was up next. Wheeled out dead center was a massive skull shaped pulpit with the word Zombie emblazoned on it. Seemingly everywhere on stage there were also video screens. When the house PA started playing the theme to the fifties TV show Leave It To Beaver the crowd knew the fun was about to begin. Under his usual deep red stage lighting guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish hit the stage and launched into “The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation And Superstition)” as everyone was looking for Rob he appeared on top of the pulpit wearing his cowboy hat and fringed jacket. From there he belted out the lyrics like a demonic preacher.
He made his way down to the stage afterwards and his podium was taken off stage. His performance of “Superbeast”, much like the night as a whole, was a high tempo explosion of multimedia and performance. Zombie was a blur of dreadlocks and fringe the whole night long. The man never stopped moving. He either was running the length of the stage, or when he was in one spot he was dancing. Through it all he never missed a note and vocally he sounded great. If you decided to take your eyes off of the band for a second, the myriad of video screens were showing clips from old horror movies or parts of videos that fit the themes of each song. If you thought that was all there was to the show, you would be very much wrong. During “Meet The Creeper” a giant devil came out was wandering about the stage. His roving cast of characters would make surprise appearances throughout the night.
In one of his more entertaining intro’s to one of his songs Zombie said that when they come to Florida something strange happens. It’s hot everywhere and its not sweat that comes off of me it’s like swamp juice. Needless to say Florida is a hotbed of UFO activity. It’s because of the swamp juice and swamp gas going to your head. Every time a plane goes by you look at it and think it’s a UFO. Talk about a near perfect introduction to “Everybody’s Fucking In A UFO”!
When you have a world class hotrod of a guitarist in John 5 it’s a must to let the man strut his stuff. Rob Zombie being the shrewd entertainer that he is let him have his time on stage to solo. You name the technique, he showed it. From sweep picking to endless hammer on’s and pull off’s, he showcased incredible technique that showed he should be on everyone’s Mount Rushmore of guitar gods. As he was finishing his solo, he started playing AC/DC’s hit song “Thunderstruck”. Zombie rejoined him and started shouting the thunder part. Just when you thought he would start singing the whole song he instantly changed it to “Thunder Kiss ‘65”. He ended the show with a wild performance of “Dragula” that had to be seen to believed.
Rob Zombie has put together one of the best package tours of the year. From the moment the first band Powerman 5000 hit the stage all the way to the last notes that Zombie played were incredibly entertaining. When you add in the reunion of Mudvayne, this tour now solidly ventures into the can’t miss territory. So grab a ticket while you can and make sure to get there early so you don’t miss a second of the show.
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre: