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Robb Chavez 

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Undoubtedly, there have been some truly great shows over the years that I’ve witnessed here in the Alamo City.  However, “unforgettable” shows are more than just their age, location, and yes, even the band. They are a combination of all the above; but what proves most vital in this metallic concoction is always the ambience of the performance mixed just right with the audience’s energy, enthusiasm, and respect for what they are privy to witness.

When I think of such a show, there is one that comes straight to mind: the performance of Austin-based, progressive-technical-thrash band Watchtower, at Medieval Knights on June 23, 2000. Seen as a monumental event by true metal fans, it spawned the re-emergence of Watchtower on the metal scene.

Though for many it was a trip back in time to the 1980s SA metal scene, with vocalist Jason McMaster sporting his “Juggernaut” T-shirt and Ron Jarzombek’s dexterous playing on his self-made guitars, this evening also garnished pride in who we were as consummate metal fans.

In this tiny, over-sold club, in front of fans from San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and even Sweden, the band flawlessly ripped through archival classics such as “The Eldritch,” “Tyrants In Distress,” and “Meltdown,” but more so, also delivered a more mature, tenured version of itself. Jason, Ron, bassist Doug Keyser, and drummer Rick Colaluca were no longer attempting to find their place in “metal greatness.” At this moment, at this particular show, they were the greatest metal band of all time. As with a fine wine, the years had been good to Watchtower. I, for one, believe this show represented the best in Watchtower, and despite all the blatant problems that attended it (monitor issues, extreme heat, and over-zealous fans), I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.

This show by Watchtower will definitely be bookmarked in the long, much-traveled anodes of San Antonio metal.  Fortunately, I have had the privilege of re-living this night over and over again through video and even today it clamors of everything I’ve outlined above. More importantly, it keeps me hopeful that unexpectedly I will again cross paths with an “unforgettable” metal show.


Robb Chavez is the creator and host of Robb’s Metalworks.

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