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Pantera: The Return of the Cowboys From Hell

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The Legendary Texas Groove Metal Band Returns From the Depths with a Little Help From Some Old Friends – Photos and Review of the Pantera Concert at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida

Whether you want to call it a reunion or a celebration, one thing is for sure: the new Pantera tours over the past year have been an absolute blast. From old school fans that are happy they’re able to add more notch to the belt of seeing their favorite band, to new fans that are just happy to be able to finally witness the spectacle in person for the first time in two decades, it seems that slowly but surely everyone has gotten onboard with the new Pantera. And the band decided to kick off 2024 with a blast as they made their way down to South Florida for the first time in more than 23 years for a new tour that began with stops in Sunrise and Tampa. Bringing along their friends Nest and the venerable gentlemen in Lamb of God, the concert promised to be a groove metal extravaganza for the ages!

Kicking off the festivities was St. Louis based metal band Nest, led by Agoraphobic Nosebleeed bassist John Jarvis (who switched gears for this project and handles lead vocals and guitars). The band was handpicked by Phil Anselmo himself to open up for them on the tour, and they are also part of his Housecore Records label which should tell you just how big of a fan of theirs he is. The band specializes in a brutally fast death metal blend that reminds me a lot of bands like “Pig Destroyer” and of course, “Agoraphobic Nosebleed“.

Up next were Richmond natives Lamb of God, who are Groove Metal legends in their own right. Starting off their set with the sonic blast-off “Memento Mori“, lead singer Randy Blythe tore up the arena with his blistering vocals. As strange as it was to see him without his trademark dreads, Randy was just as agile as ever as he ran and jumped around the stage while belting out the lyrics to Lamb of God classics “Hourglass” and “Now You Have Something To Die For“. Guitarists Mark and Willie expertly shredded their way through “Ruin” and “Contractor” and the crowd went absolutely bananas as they finished their sets with trademark songs “Laid to Rest” and “Redneck“. Lamb of God always puts on a fantastic show, and I cannot wait to see them again this summer when they join forces with Mastodon for their “Ashes of the Leviathan” 20th anniversary co-headlining tour where both bands will be playing their seminal albums in full.

Finally, the lights dimmed again and smoke began to fill the room as classic videos of the Abbott brothers began to project on the side screens. The crowd went absolutely wild as the first drum beat from “A New Level” sounded over the loudspeaker, and the giant Pantera curtain covering the band dropped in an explosive start to the show. Phil Anselmo stood front and center, bellowing the lyrics, his voice as powerful as ever as the band jammed behind him. Continuing into classics “Mouth For War” and “Strength Beyond Strength“, the band sounded tight and rehearsed, and Zakk Wylde did an amazing job displaying his shredding chops. Nobody could replace Dime and Vinnie Paul, both of whom we tragically lost much too soon, but Zakk and Charlie are the only people that are able to do their music the justice it deserves. Both of them were very close to the brothers and it was clear that they took their positions very seriously as they accurately captured the brothers’ respective playing styles.

In between more classics like the pyro-filled “I’m Broken” and “Becoming“, there were a few deep cuts thrown in for the hardcore fans. “Floods” made an appearance on the setlist for the first time in more than 20 years, and “Suicide Note Part 2” kept the energy in the arena at a fever pitch. Throughout the set, touching tributes to the Abbott Brothers appeared on screen, and the band made sure everyone in attendance knew that the show was a tribute to their legacy. The setlist was a perfectly curated mix of classics and fan-favorites, from “Five Minutes Alone” to “This Love” and every fan in attendance got to hear their personal favorite. We even had some special friends join Pantera during their performance of “Walk“, with wrestler Chris Jericho and Randy from Lamb of God appearing on stage for some guest vocals.

Finishing up their time on stage with their classic mashup of “Domination” and “Hollow“, along with their classics “Cowboys From Hell” and “F*cking Hostile“, Pantera departed with a bang and left the crowd hungry for ever more. And thats probably a good thing, because with how awe-inspiring the new live show is, Phil and the gang will probably be touring for quite some time. If you get the chance to check out the new Pantera, I highly recommend giving it a shot even if you have some reservations. I certainly did, and witnessing the spectacular sight in person made me a believer!

Gleb Barabanov is South Florida Insider's Vice President, Graphic Designer and Webmaster, as well as a Photographer and Writer covering events all over the world. Originally born in Odessa, Ukraine, Gleb now calls the sunny Florida area home, where he attended Full Sail University and received a Bachelors of Arts in Film Production. Gleb is obsessed with music, cameras, guitars, and his Shiba Inu, Yoshi

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