“So we’re off to see Venom, Carnivore, Overkill, some band called the Cro-Mags and the real reason we’re going to New York from Virginia; VOIVODDDDDDDD. It’s their first show ever in america and they’re my fave band and there’s no way i’m missing this.
We gather money weeks before to hit The Ritz in NYC in early April 1986… Its gonna be two carloads of us making the trip. moms and dads wallets are hit extra hard as we explain how we need all this money and nickle and dime them to death each day as it grows closer. We’re all seventeen and eighteen years old and ready to rock! Off we go, some with heaps of money, others with next to none. Four hrs later down 95 north we are in New York. Gas and tolls have already put a dent in tee shirt and party money, but fuck it, we’ll make every penny count.
First night it’s Carnivore/Overkill/Venom and only some of us have enough to go to both nights ticket wise. Luckily I’m one of them. High on weed some of us go on in and check out Carnivore. Its a decent set but nothing that special a good opener! Overkill is up next and are smoking good. They even cover Live and Let Die in the set. fantastic! Venom is touring in support of the Possessed album which to me isn’t a really a great record overall but it’s Venom and therefore a must see, or so I thought. They came out and played a slow, flat set with little to no energy. Wow, what a letdown! But i’m here for Voivod most of all! I’m also spent all night looking around the venue for Voivod who are pen pals and phone buddies. I locate em eventually and we hang out and smoke hash and drink beers. The place is packed and its truly an event in the New York metal scene!
Night one ends stoned and wild. I let the others know outside that Overkill took the show and Venom was not in great form and that Voivod are cool as fuck guys. We must now go find a hotel to sleep and prepare for Saturday’s Voivod attack. Not being too familiar with New York prices we end up at a ‘cheap’ motel in Manhattan that’s $150 a night. It might just as well have been $10,000 as we barely had the cash between us; but we pull it together for one room and the nine of us (I think it was) pile in and sleep where we fall.
Day two – we are off to steal some food from grocery stores. Hohos and Chocolate Milk are shoved in pockets for our breakfast and lunch. We have to keep gas money to get home eventually. Back to The Ritz we go. We get there early and see Voivod again outside. they are ready for attack. They will open night two. i stand in front of the line and am set on being the first person to get in this general admission room. and I am! I go right to the front and stand there for three hours before they take the stage. The other guys mingle and won’t stay in place but that’s fine – I am front and centre. Finally the lights dim and out comes Voivod. Snake has the hot oil machine and smoke is pouring out as he wears the gasmask. The band is loud and very savage and everything I’d hoped they’d be. Thrashing Rage starts the show! I’m headbanging wildly and taking pics on a 12 Kodak disposable camera. Snake spots me and even mentions the Deceased song After the Bloodshed before a song. They play a new one even – Order of the Blackguards. Its phenomenal. I’m in heavy metal paradise! the set ends and i run over to shake their hands and thank them for blowing my mind into nuclear carnage. the band none of us knew, Cro-Mags come out and kick ass with their high paced, mostly hardcore set. It’s a damn good gig for them but by now we are hanging out with the guys in Whiplash and Blessed Death and smoking tons of hash. Venom is of secondary importance to us all now but either I was on some great weed that night or Venom really was much better on night two of the weekend. We hang with Voivod til they close the place down and then its off to start our way home. broke, stoned and thrashed to pieces. Somewhere along the way we rip down Venom posters with all the bands on it and take pictures with Voivod and head 95 south home.
What a weekend and what a memory. The first of the now fifty times I’ve seen Voivod over the last thirty years. TO THE DEATH!!!!!!”