Welcome to SOUNDBOARD. IS. JERICHO!
Yes, I am going to deliberately throw in as many WWE references as I can for this review. That’s because Chris Jericho – known more for his wrestling career than his music career – brought his band Fozzy to Gramercy Theater in NYC on Thursday night as their Judas Rising tour marched on in front of a crowd full of WWE marks and big kids myself who want to say they got to photograph Jericho, who helped usher in the new millennium so many years ago as Y2J when he came over from WCW. Now, all these years later, Fozzy is back on tour and even though he still makes WWE appearances once in a while, he’s focused more on his post-wrestling career as a rockstar.
And so it would be that throughout the night, the capacity crowd at Gramercy Theater would start “Y2J” chants as they waited for Fozzy to hit the stage shortly before 10pm. I was debating starting a “you tapped out” chant in reference to the time Jericho tapped out to The Big Show on Monday Night Raw, but this night was about Fozzy and their music and not about Chris Jericho’s fabled career as the liontamer and master of the Walls of Jericho – though his pants did slide down a bit during his set, to which he responded by saying “it’s the crack of Jericho!”
Anyway, that’s enough WWE nostalgia. Let’s talk about how good Fozzy was and how much fun they were to watch on stage. It’s no secret that Chris Jericho is the consummate professional, showman and entertainer in every way possible. Anyone who’s ever seen him work a mic on TV knows he’s fun to watch, but what’s even more impressive is that he’s managed to find a group of musicians who are equally fun and just as charismatic in their performances – complete with guitar battles, jumps, kicks, middle fingers and in-your-face antics.
Kicking off with the new one, Judas, from the band’s recently-released album by the same name, the show went into full swing right off the rip with Co2 going off with every riff during the first of the band’s dozen-ish songs. Now, it’s worth mentioning that none of the 500 people in the venue uploaded the setlist to Setlist.fm and I didn’t snap a photo of it, so I’m flying semi-blind on this, but I can say with almost certainty the band would go to on play tunes like Drinkin With Jesus, One Crazed Anarchist, Spider in My Mouth, Lights Go Out, Bad Tattoo and a cover of the ABBA hit (they had hits?) SOS. In addition, I believe Fozzy wrapped things up with a little tune called Sandpaper.
What matters more than what the band played is how much ass they kicked on stage. Chris Jerico is 47 now and is a long way from his ECW and WCW days where he became a global sensation and flew around like an acrobat, but he sure as hell can still move as he never seemed to flow down the entire night, and as he’s been doing since the early 90’s, he put on a hell of a show as an equally prolific entertainer on the stage as he is in the ring. Fozzy broke the walls down at Gramercy Theater (last one, I promise) and this one was one of the best of the year so far.