Armored Saint

Live at the Regent Theatre

Downtown Los Angeles, CA

August 18th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Armored Saint are old school heavy metal legends, having formed in 1982 and maintained their sound and style through out all of these years. This tour was focusing around their fourth album, "Symbol of Salvation" from 1991.

During the early recording of this release, their lead guitarist Dave Prichard succumbed to Leukemia. Tonight's roster is the same as was featured starting with this album and for the majority of their career. Founding brothers Phil and Gonzo Sandoval, on lead guitar and drums respectively, are joined by Joey Vera on bass guitar, with Jeff Duncan on rhythm guitar and John Bush provides the signature vocals.

The set opened up with the title track from their debut full-length album, "March of the Saint". They followed that up with "Long Before I Die" from their second album, "Delirious Nomad", and for the third song of the set they did "Chemical Euphoria" from their third album, "Raising Fear".

John addressed the audience as this song came to its close. He said that as they had hit a song from each of their first three albums, now that they moved to the fourth, they were "going to do the whole damn thing".

Starting off with "Reign of Fire" and moving in order through the release they played all thirteen songs from "Symbol of Salvation". John spoke a number of times through out the set, talking about how they had all grown up together and knew each other since they were about nine years old.

He talked about forming the band in the early days of metal in the Los Angeles scene and playing with Ratt and the other hair bands and evolving into something that stood out from the rest of them.

He joked that they still referred to Jeff as the "new guy" even though he had been with them for pretty much thirty-five years now. He discussed the loss of Dave and how hard that was for all of them. John also mentioned how they had salvaged Dave's demo guitar tracks for "Tainted Past" so that he would end up being on the album that he wrote so much of.

The venue was packed. John mentioned it was a sold out show and it felt like it. Fans were packed wall to wall and it was hot as a sauna in there. The crowd was into it, singing along with fists in the air, there were a lot of long-time metal heads in attendance.

As they came to the close of "Symbol for Salvation" John said that he had convinced the band that encores are dumb in that everyone knows they are coming back out for more so they were just going to keep playing and not go through the routine.

For the first song of the non-encore they went back to the very first EP, "Armored Saint" with the song, "On the Way". The crowd was as excited for this old favorite as they were at the beginning of the show, fist pumping their enthusiasm.

John said that it was great playing all these old songs but that a band has to be able to put out new music with as much impact. He felt they had done exactly that with their 2015 release, "Win Hands Down" and they gave us the title track for the next song.

John introduced his young son before the next song and they pulled up a singular snare drum for him to play along on "Can U Deliver" from "March of the Saint".

John said they had time for one more as his son left the stage and they were going to keep it old school and do another off that first album. They chose "Madhouse" as the finale and everyone in the audience stayed until the final note was played and the band waved good night to make for the doors.

It was a great show. Over two hours of classic metal and everyone sounded great. John has an amazing voice and was very personable in between songs which really made it an intimate experience as you felt that you got to know them better as people and appreciate their history even more through a more personal look.

I am really glad I got to see them on this tour as this was a special experience, especially for someone who grew up with this music.

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