San Francisco Bay Area metal giants Machine Head released their ninth studio album Catharsis on January 26th, 2018. Once again, Machine Head would set out on An Evening With Machine Head meaning there would be no opening band and it would be three hours of pure uninterrupted Machine Head. On September 28, frontman Robb Flynn made a shocking announcement that guitarist Phil Demmel would be leaving the band after fifteen years and drummer Dave McClain would also be leaving the band after twenty three years. The Freaks and Zeroes Tour would serve as the farewell tour for this era of Machine Head, but not for the band as a whole. The second to last stop on the tour was the House of Blues in Anaheim, California and fans were ecstatic to see Machine Head perform all the hits.
The venue was packed by 8:30pm as Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne played over the speakers signaling the arrival of Machine Head soon. The song ended and the lights went out and the fans screamed and chanted “Machine fucking Head! Machine fucking Head!”. The members of Machine Head made their way to the stage and started their set with Imperium. The crowd wasted no time in going wild with crowd surfing and moshing as Machine Head laid waste with fast and shredding riffs. The second song for the show was Volatile from the new album. The third song was Now We Die from the previous album, Bloodstone & Diamonds. Beautiful Mourning was the next song and is always a fan-favorite to sing along to and drives the fans wild in the mosh pit. After a few more songs, Flynn came out to talk to the audience. While talking, he would strum the acoustic intro to Darkness Within. His speech involved talking about how long it has been since Machine Head played in Anaheim. It had been eleven years due to being banned by Disney due to the band’s music and lyrics. Flynn had the audience raise their middle fingers and yell out, “Fuck Disney!”. He would also talk about politics and how politicians don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and all they do is turn everyone against each other and how the only thing that matters is music bringing everyone together no matter what their beliefs are or what race. The rest of Machine Head would come out to play Darkness Within which is a beautiful piece heard live. Machine Head never had a dull moment in their performance and kept the fans raging as they performed blistering tracks like Ten Ton Hammer, Locust, an Iron Maiden cover of Hallowed Be Thy Name, and Bulldozer. Machine Head was about to start Killers & Kings, but not before Flynn ordered the pit to split in half for a wall of death and circle pit as the band started the song. The show seemed to come to an end as Machine Head played one of their popular songs from their Burn My Eyes debut album, Davidian. The song has their famous lyric of “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!” and always has the crowd singing along. Machine Head the stage to a dark and packed venue. The crowd wasn’t ready to go home yet and kept chanting, “Machine fucking Head! Machine fucking Head!”. After a brief break, Machine Head came back out for some encores. The first two encores were Descend the Shades of Night and Now I Lay Thee Down. Flynn asked the audience if it was ok if they messed around for a bit. The crowd cheered and so Machine Head treated the crowd with medley covers of Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Metallica), You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC), Night Train (Guns N’ Roses), and Would? (Alice In Chains). Back to speeding things up, Machine Head played one of their best and fastest tracks Aesthetics of Hate which made the circle pits go even faster and crowd surfers were plentiful. More encores included Game Over and Old. After three hours and 15 minutes, it was time for the grand finale of the show which was Machine Head‘s most popular track, Halo. Fans sang along and moshed to whatever energy they had left which seemed to be never ending. Machine Head wrapped up their show which was definitely emotional given that it was the second to last show for Demmel and McClain. A new era for Machine Head was on the horizon and the fans will have to see what’s next for the band.