Show Review: Hellyeah @ Yokota Air Base, Japan
Posted by Reggie
It isn’t too often a metal band get sponsored by the United Services Organizations (USO) to play free shows on military installations. I am not saying it never happens, but it’s rare and even rarer that I get to be part of the event. Hellyeah was the sponsored band of the evening and kids were not allowed at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, venue. It was probably a good thing since it was beyond loud. Spinal Tap would say it was #11 loud. I couldn’t care less about all of Chad Gray’s F-bombs he was politely asked not to say, but damn it was one of the loudest shows I have ever been to. My lovely wife was my date and I think she walked away a fan. Yep, she just validated that statement and followed up with stating that she thought the show was well-played, Tom Maxwell did a great job with all that southern twang in his guitar, and that Chad Gray was a really good, active frontman. I can certainly confirm that. I got tired watching him and that says a lot about his presence on stage. The dude is a mover!
They didn’t dumb down their set for the military folk. They rocked the house quite well and stuck to some of their heavier stuff though they did fit in some of their more meaningful slow songs such as Moth and Hush from their latest album Blood For Blood and capped the evening with Alcohaulin’ Ass. The capacity crowd of about 50 people made their (our) presence known and I think Hellyeah responded perfectly. They played the set full-throttle as if it were in front of 50K fans. For that I have much respect for them bringing their A-game.
For Hellyeah fans, they treated us to about 75 minutes of music covering their four albums. From what I remember, the set list included…to name a few in addition to what I already mentioned; Hellyeah, You Wouldn’t Know, Cowboy Way, Sangre Por Sangre, Demons in the Dirt, and Gift. There were more, but I never got a set list and forgot to write them down. I know, bad reviewer. But, I had too good a time to come at it from a reviewer angle. I took few pictures and lived in the moment. I almost forgot what that was like.
Overall, it was a pleasure seeing a “metal” band play for us and my thanks go out to the USO for not only thinking about Pop, Country, and R & B fans. The night belonged to metal fans…all 50 of us that came out on a work night to have a good time. A good time was had and Hellyeah may not know it, but we brought some metal virgins out there and they also walked away fans and with a greater appreciation for metal.
Noteworthy moment – I caught my first drumstick after having attended shows for 28 years. Though, it’s not hard to get a stick when about 50% of the audience got one. My odds were pretty good. Meeting them was also a treat. This was their last gig of a long tour schedule and they still took the time to say hello even if for just a few minutes; real standup guys.