Even John Bush couldn’t explain why it had taken 18 years to bring Armored Saint back to Toronto as the band worked their way through almost two hours of material. He tried and faltered as he searched his mind for a believable reason and ultimately said he had nothing, but promised it wouldn’t take that long for them to return.
For the fans in the room who’d pined to see the band during those 18 years, the wait was so worth it. I’m not sure I could pick a metal show I’ve seen in recent years that could top the performance Armored Saint delivered at the Mod Club. It looked great, and it sounded great. The crowd at the venue were excellent. And the band were into being back in Toronto and performing here again.
Check out this live clip of the band ripping through “March of the Saint”.
For me, Armored Saint was a bucket list band - a band I’d never seen perform live, and I couldn’t have left the venue happier after seeing this show. We got six classic Armored Saint tracks sandwiching the entire Symbol Of Salvation album - and it was performed in the coolest Toronto club filled with fans who were right into the event.
John Bush, Joey Vera, Phil Sandoval, Jeff Duncan, and Gonzo Sandoval still pack a mighty metal punch. For a band that has been around since 1982, they sounded tighter than a lot of their contemporaries. Armored Saint opened Metallica’s first gig up here in Canada with WASP at the Concert Hall many moons ago. They used to wear armor when they performed in their first few years as a touring band - hardcore!!! They are a veteran metal band with a repertoire of material topped only by the talented musicians in the group.
Typically, I’d highlight a few songs in a written review and call out the best moments of the night by embellishing a good melody or two. I’ve got nothing here... I loved it all, and I was totally bummed when it ended. Full disclosure, I’m not a die-hard Symbol fan. I like the really old stuff. And I loved their last release Win Hands Down (2015), an inspired and sadly overlooked metal album that totally slays from the opening title track to the closing riffs on “Up Yours.” I left this show with an enhanced appreciation of Symbol Of Salvation because I dug how the songs sounded this evening. I’m playing the album now as I type this up.
Bush sounds incredible live. He can still hit all of his high notes, a fact he easily proved as he worked through every song the band performed. Vera, Duncan and the Sandoval brothers delivered on all counts this evening. They came to perform, and that was job number one, but they were all sneering and smiling at the crowd as they worked their magic, taking the time to pose and smile at each other numerous times throughout the set. If I didn’t have a day job, I would have gotten in my car and drove to Cleveland the next day to see the show again. This concert was a total gift. I’m so happy I was in the room to receive it.
Armored Saint’s “Win Hands Down” is a totally bad-ass tune. Check it out!
Armored Saint’s Toronto Setlist:
01. March of the Saint
02. Long Before I Die
03. Chemical Euphoria
04. Reign of Fire
05. Dropping Like Flies
06. Last Train Home
07. Tribal Dance
08. The Truth Always Hurts
09. Half Drawn Bridge
10. Another Day
11. Symbol of Salvation
12. Hanging Judge
14. Burning Question
15. Tainted Past
17. Left Hook From Right Field
18. Win Hands Down
19. Can U Deliver