Pantera Rocks the West Coast: Photos and Recap
by Alex Kluft
On August 26th, 2001, Pantera played their final show with members Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, Phil Anselmo, and Rex Brown at Beast Fest in Yokohama, Japan. 22 years a later, a reunited Pantetra would play the North Credit Union Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California, following a night at Sofi stadium with Metallica and Mammoth WVH. Pantera was formed by the Abbott Brothers Dimebag and Vinnie in 1981, Brown would become the bassist in 1982, and in 1986, Anselmo became the singer following four previous frontmen. This would become their classic and final lineup until breaking up in 2003. The Abbott brothers would go on to form Damageplan, which came to an end on Dec 8th, 2004 with the tragic killing of Dimebag during a performance. Vinnie would then form Hellyeah with former Mudvayne members Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett in 2006 and would remain a member until his death from a heart-attack on June 22, 2018.
Now, Pantera is back with Anselmo, Brown, Ozzy Osbourne/ Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde, and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. The first Pantera show in decades took place at the Heaven & Hell Metal Metal Fest in Mexico on December 2nd, 2022. Pantera would play eight international festivals before hitting the U.S. for the first time in 22 years in Panama City Beach, Florida at the Thunder Beach Spring Rally on May 6th, 2023. Over the past year, Pantera has played nearly every major metal festival globally. Between Metallica dates, Pantera has their own headline tour at arenas and large outdoor amphitheaters along with Lamb Of God.
In addition to Lamb of God opening, Spirit in the Room played. Benante has a special Tama kit made for both tours with four kick drums, two with The Abbot brothers’ faces. Benante also has a second kit with a chrome finish for Metallica shows and uses both during the shows. The first guitar Wylde played was one of his signature Schecter models with Dimebag’s “Dean from Hell” finish. This felt like an old-school Pantera show, with the amp walls and their logo above, which shot out flames and four snake set pieces. Although some of these songs have been performed over the last 22 years, it’s the first time for a full Pantera set to be performed in two decades. Being Pantera’s own show they play 14-15 songs as opposed to 11 with Metallica. Following a video of vintage Pantera footage, a large Kabuki curtain with the band’s name in red dropped and the first song was “A New Level.” Advertisement
Pantera performed songs from classics like Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, The Great Southern Trendkill and Far Beyond Driven. The set included metal anthems like “Mouth for War,” “F*cking Hostile,” “Walk,” and “Cowboys from Hell.” This tour is a tribute to Vinnie and Dime and following “F*cking Hostile,” a video montage of the brothers on and off the stage played with the audio of “Cemetery Gates” and the video continued through a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” which had Benante on bongos.
During “Walk,” Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, his son, and Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Art Cruz joined in for the backing vocals. The show ended with a two song encore of a partial version of “Slaughter” and “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit.” Stage left “Dimebag’s Hag” Rita Haney could be seen and is on the tour with a museum of most of Dimebag’s most iconic guitars, including the “Dean from Hell” and Washburn “Dime Slime.” But throughout the show, it was easy to see how badly the fans wanted to see these songs performed live again.
See below for photos of Pantera’s show at the North Credit Union Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California.