When Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Wolfgang Doyle von Frankenstein reunited as the Original Misfits at the Riot Fest in September, then announced shows a year later to ring in 2018 in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, many wondered if or when they would return to the East Coast. When they finally announced it would be happening back in January, it quickly sold out over the course of three days despite the cheap seats being not very cheap. This past Saturday (19), Newark’s Prudential Center became the world’s largest CBGB matinee show, as 17,000 punk rockers came to dance, scream and shout along to Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Murphy’s Law and the Cro Mags’ Harley Flanagan.
While there’s plenty of footage from the show, the headliners didn’t make it easy. As Glenn is notoriously camera-shy, all attendees were required to lock their phones in a pouch from Yondr, one of the first times this has happened in the hard rock arena. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, however, and between ripping the pouches open with keys, cutting them open, or brute strength, there were Yondr pouches littering the floor, and as you can see, plenty of footage of the evening. Those videos and photos don’t begin to do the evening justice, however.
While Misfits’ crimson ghost skull is more recognizable to many worldwide than their music, that’s certainly not true for any fan of punk, hardcore, and most likely, metal. Especially those from New Jersey that came of age in the ’80s, where “Skulls” or “We Are 138” are as iconic as “Born to Run” or “Livin’ on a Prayer.” An arena punk rock show from a band from New Jersey that have only grown in legend since their last show in 1983 would certainly make for an interesting crowd, and hearing thousands upon thousands of voices screaming out “whooas” in unison along with the band was a spectacle. And it should be noted that the “that guy” rule for not wearing the shirt of the band you’re seeing didn’t apply at this show.
As for the music, we arrived late, regrettably missing Harley Flanagan and Murphy’s Law, two bands that really summed up the early ’80s NYHC kind of vibe that many of the crowd came to witness. By all reports, they both put on great, but brief sets. By the time the Suicidal Tendencies took the stage, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were the headliners. While Mike Muir is the only original member, the band played to an appreciative crowd that sang along to every word of songs like “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” “Subliminal” and “Institutionalized.” Buoyed by the drums of Dave Lombardo, the band played furiously and tightly, with it obvious they’re still out there touring hard.
As far as the headliners, The Misfits were phenomenal if you knew what to expect. Sounding very much like a band playing their fifth show in 35 years, the band were fun, energetic, and, well, not perfect. They’re a punk rock band, and they sounded, well, punk rock. Danzig may be one of the most iconic frontmen in rock and roll, but like Ozzy Osbourne, it’s not technical proficiency in his later years that he’ll be known for. He was near inaudible at times, and huffing and puffing in between songs. However, the singer still had the attitude (no pun intended) that he needed, Only and Doyle looked and sounded pretty badass, Lombardo did what he does best, and rhythm guitarist Acey Slade filled in admirably. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. Seeing songs you’ve known for years being played by a lineup you never thought you’d see again is something special, and it was an unforgettable night for most.
Watch the clip below before it gets removed:
“Death Comes Ripping”
“I Turned Into a Martian”
“Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?”
“Where Eagles Dare”
“Teenagers From Mars”
“Who Killed Marilyn”
“Die, Die My Darling”
“Night of the Living Dead”
“Some Kinda Hate”
“All Hell Breaks Loose”