So there I was, two days before Halloween, slogging through a foot of snow as it continued to pour from the sky, on my way to take an hour-long train into New York City to see the Danzig “Legacy” show. There was so much snow on the tracks that the trains were crawling at less than half their normal speed. There was no guarantee they’d even be running by the end of the night, when I hoped to return home. My wife, eight months pregnant, was at home, alone, with no power.
Was that a bad decision?
In my defense, my wife had urged me to attend the show. Only in the past few years had Danzig begun touring with former Misfits guitarist Doyle and throwing a mini-Misfits set in on top of the standard live Danzig show. For GD to perform full Danzig, Samhain and Misfits sets, as he was in these “Legacy” shows, was unheard of. The New York City show—one of only four Legacy shows he’s done in the U.S. to date—had been on my calendar for months, and she knew how badly I wanted to go. The snowstorm had complicated things, however, and losing power right before I left was a really low blow.
The train was late, and by the time it arrived I’d talked myself out of going. I stepped inside, but knew it didn’t feel right, and immediately decided to get off at the first stop and make my way back home. Thankfully, my wife texted before the train arrived at that stop to say that power was back on. I was free to go with a reasonably clear conscience.
I think it took me almost five hours door-to-door to get to the venue (it should have been 90 minutes or so), and I arrived just as Corrosion of Conformity’s crew was taking their equipment off stage.
Thirty minutes later, the GD three-pack began with a slightly shorter than normal Danzig set. There aren’t many surprises in the Danzig setlist at this point. “SkinCarver” and “Hammer of the Gods” to open, generally “Twist of Cain” or “Am I Demon” follows, then it’s a few songs each off of Danzig I, II and III, usually one track off 4p and very little else from the last 15 years. I could probably live without hearing “Her Black Wings” ever again at this point, but still—all killer, no filler.
After a quick break, Samhain (essentially Danzig with London May) came on. GD bounded onto the stage as the last notes of the “Initium” opener played, launching, obviously, straight into “Samhain.” I had seen the 1999 Samhain reunion but have no real recollection of the show (Does this happen to anyone else? I can remember the setting and location of almost every show I’ve ever seen, yet I have virtually no memories of the actual songs or performances themselves.) Great set, although the NYC crowd wasn’t as amped as I’d hoped it would be for these songs. I was slightly disappointed not to hear “Black Dream” or “Halloween II,” but both of those miscues would be rectified when Samhain toured on its own three years later. Danzig also earned bonus points for continuity by wearing the same leather bondage mask he wore at one of the last Samhain shows in 1986. A solid set despite a subpar crowd reaction.
Finally, after an appropriately longer than normal wait, lights dimmed and the intro music hit. There was thunder and rain, and someone screaming as they dragged a chain across what must have been a dirty, haunted basement floor. Then Doyle’s guitar crunched as he stomped his 14-foot monster self onto the stage. It was cheesy but I loved it. The band (again, essentially Danzig with Doyle) blistered through a whirlwind eight-song set. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
I had rushed so quickly to get to the venue once my train arrived in NYC that I never grabbed anything to drink; this occurred to me as I sang every word of every Misfits song. I hadn’t had a drop since leaving home hours earlier and I was so parched by now that my tongue felt and tasted like sandpaper as I sang along.
I had seen a couple of the Danzig with Doyle sets they’d done in recent years, but this one exceeded them all. The setlist was fantastic: “Bullet,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Astro Zombies” and “Death Comes Ripping,” among a few others. Add “Ghouls Night Out” and maybe “Hybrid Moments” and it would have been perfect. As it was, it was phenomenal. I’ve only gotten chills a couple of times at live shows, and this was one of them.
I’m not sure who sequenced the event, but Danzig (the band) came back out for a three-song encore after the Misfits set, which was a bit of a momentum-killer. Finally, Doyle stomped onstage one last time to send the crowd home happy with “Skulls,” and I was out the door.
I collapsed into bed around 4 a.m. after a pretty uneventful train ride home. It was still snowing, but we had power and everyone was safe. To this day I’m not sure how wise my decision was, but all’s well that ends well, I suppose. Right?
I could have sworn I had the NYC Legacy set on my computer but apparently I do not, nor could I find it online. However, here’s the Hollywood set from Halloween night. It’s the same setlist that we got in NYC two nights earlier, without the snow. Sound quality is far from perfect, but given how tight Danzig’s security is with photos and recording, it’s a wonder anyone got this at all.
- Jeff Simms