Concert Review with PHOTOS: Fozzy


By Saffy Wihoite

Artist: Fozzy

Date / Venue: Wednesday November 7th, 2018 - Galatos, Auckland

Often cited as the bastard child of Metallica and Journey, you would think Fozzy would have a hard time filling such big boots but they fill 'em and they do it with style.

Bringing with him his experiences as a WWE wrestler, vocalist Chris Jericho really knows how to lead a performance.   His voice is unmatched and impressively gritty when needed.  Jericho and guitarist/vocalist, Rick Ward's, voices mix amazingly together, almost melding into one entrancing sound.  The two guitarists, Ward and Billy Grey matched with bassist, Paul DiLeo, play the perfect co-stars to their frontman, yet know when to steal the show with their own amazing vocals, mini jam sessions, and quintessential rock star moves.  On the drums, we have Frank Fontsere, who has been on this journey with Ward since before the band was Fozzy.  He does not let up until the very last moment of the gig, showing just how versatile and dedicated he is.

Fozzy heads here on the wings of their most recent album, Judas, titled after their hit single. Judas was well received, spending 26 weeks on the Mainstream Rock Charts at number 5.  This was their first time performing in New Zealand, though they said they stare sadly over the ocean at us whenever they tour Australia. The band reinvented themselves from a tribute band to a force to be reckoned with in the rock and roll/metal scene, with album after album of hard-hitting original songs.

  Despite a quick venue change, Fozzy were not flustered nor affected. Galatos is a sweet location, with a typical gig aesthetic. A low stage so that you feel like you are a part of the band, and a chill lounge vibe - provided you score a booth seat.

The sound set up was great and this was in part thanks to the thorough sound check. 
The lights went out and the drums kicked in. The crowd was buzzing and building on that buzz came the bass and the guitars, taking us into a cover of War Pigs. This was a nod to their humble beginnings, and a wee bit of a display of what's to come for those seeing them for the first time.  They moved smoothly from War Pigs to their original well-loved single Judas.    Effortless and smooth seemed to be the Fozzy style; Ward, Grey and DiLeo confidently switching between backing the lyrics to shining in their own spotlight.  Although Fontsere was sitting in back, he didn't let that be an excuse to slack off on the performance; he brought an amazing technical prowess and still had time to play with and flip his drumsticks. 

Jericho did his part in whipping us all into a frenzy, chatting to us in between songs and delivering them with an impressive voice. His range was amazing, sounding every bit like the classic metal/rock and roll legends that inspired him.  The interactive performance, leading to fans joining them on stage, made me really feel as if I were sitting in on a friend's jam session.   The crowed were energized, loving the positive vibe band was putting out, prompting appreciative comments as "awesome" and "come back."  This energy was reflected back when Jericho invited us all to be a part of the Fozzy family while they basked in the love.  
I found myself watching each of the Fozzy crew intently; blown away with their skill and how happy they looked rocking out.  It's clear that this is something they love, "rock and roll with a smile," as Jericho said in his interview with Libel.

It was heartwarming being a part of a crowd who has been desperately waiting for them.  The excitement was infectious.  I found myself fangirling at some of the more theatrical things they did, such as when all the lights went out and Jericho stood, his back to the crowd, in what looked to be a sequined jacket, until the music kicked in and his jacket became a flash of blue and red, as all the led lights disguised as sequins lit up. The crowd became a flash of waving hands and jumping bodies reflecting the light from Jericho’s glowing costume.   

They played through their best-loved songs from the last six years and rounded off the night with a throwback more than ten years old, fan favourite Enemy.  At this point, I thought the band had been more than generous, having heard the crowd beg for Enemy all night, but was pleasantly surprised when they managed to bring us more.  And they didn't even look tired.   They played another nod to their past, a cover of TNT before the “encore”.  

Fozzy doesn't see the point in heading off stage just for the crowd to call them back, no, instead, we are instructed to pretend they aren't there while Jericho covers his face with a cloth.  The crowd hollers and calls for them, more than happy to play our part in the performance.  After Jericho feels like we can't wait any longer, he pushes us a little further, before revealing his face and heading into a gritty song called Sandpaper.  

The crowd isn't ready to go home, despite that fact that it's late on a Wednesday night.  We want more and make sure that Fozzy knows it.  Fozzy members look a bit sad, like they want to play for as long as we can rock out for, but alas, the passage of time ticks on. They take the front of the stage and beam out at the crowd while we chant their name. “Fozzy! Fozzy! Fozzy!”