Pantera’s Unyielding Resurgence: A Thunderous Tribute Tour Rekindles the Metal Flame On The Budweiser Stage in Toronto, Ontario, August 13, 2023



The Budweiser Stage in Toronto, Ontario, on August 13, 2023 bore witness to an electrifying resurrection of metal legends as the reimagined Pantera roared back to life, with their first North American headlining tour in over two decades. The night was a thunderous celebration of the band’s indomitable legacy and an homage to the unquenchable spirit of heavy metal.

Kicking off the night’s sonic onslaught, was the unique foursome Child Bite.  They meandered onto stage looking like your Kentucky Uncle and his friends, cracking up some PBR tallboys as they did, and the antics didn’t stop there.  Tongue wagging, pelvic thrusting, and body gyrations from people you never want to see do that.  They had a guttural grove and the music was ok, but the visual display was just comical.


Child Bite

Shawn Knight – vocals
Sean Clancy – bass
Jeremy Waun – guitar
Jeff Porter – drums



Child Bite Setlist

1.) Smog & Viscera
2.) Swan Song of a Boiled Dog
3.) Glazed in a Skeletal Maze
4.) Disposable Hysteria
5.) Ancestral Ooze
6.) Erect for Dystopia
7.) Blow Off The Omens


Lamb of God roared onto the stage with all guns blazing. The crowd’s anticipation reached fever pitch as the kabuki curtain parted, revealing frontman Randy Blythe standing there, an ethereal figure WITHOUT his signature dreadlocks, shocking me and much of the crowd. With the first note, the sky ignited, pyrotechnics setting the night ablaze. The explosions kept coming, mirroring the crowd’s explosive energy. In the mosh pit behind me, it felt like a whirling tornado of sound and movement.  Mark Morton’s guitar prowess was a relentless force, but this Canadian tour brought an extra spark. John Campbell flowing white locks and thundering bass, was the driving force of the set. His seamless integration amplified the band’s signature sound. 

The performance was an unstoppable torrent of rage and energy.  Watching Blythe climb to the top of the drum kit and launch himself into the air is always a highlight. With a colossal setlist spanning 10 songs and over an hour of blistering performance, Lamb of God left the audience both exhilarated and near exhausted, but the most pit was not quite done. Their relentless assault primed the crowd for the impending onslaught from the reunited Pantera.


Lamb of God

Randy Blythe – Vocals

John Campbell – Bass

Mark Morton – Lead Guitar

Willie Adler – Rhythm Guitar

Art Cruz – Drums



Lamb of God Setlist

1.) Memento Mori

2.) Walk With Me in Hell

3.) Resurrection Man

4.) Now You’ve Got Something to Die For

5.) Ditch

6.) Omens

7.) Ruin

8.) Contractor

9.) Laid to Rest

10) Redneck


While the term “reunion” might fall short in describing this incarnation of Pantera, the band’s return was undeniably a monumental moment. The shadows cast by the untimely deaths of co-founders Dimebag Darrell (guitar) and Vinnie Paul Abbott (drums) in 2004 and 2018 respectively, marked an irrevocable shift in the band’s journey. Nevertheless, Pantera’s surviving members, singer Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, stood steadfast to celebrate their indelible music.

This Pantera celebration showcased a newly-formed ensemble comprising remarkable talents. Drummer Charlie Benante, a stalwart of Anthrax, channeled his rhythmic prowess to channel the Abbott brothers’ energy. Meanwhile, guitar virtuoso Zakk Wylde, renowned for his work with Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne, lent his distinctive flair to Pantera’s anthems.  Benante’s drum kit featured a pair of portraits of the brothers to make sure they were always front and center.  The band showcased an introduction video showing vintage clips of the madness and mayhem of the band off stage antics at their pinnacle of fame.

Opening with the quintessential “A New Level” from Vulgar Display of Power, the stage exploded with fervor as Philip Anselmo and his bandmates wove through the tapestry of Pantera’s iconic catalogue. Songs like “Mouth for War,” “I’m Broken,” and “Fucking Hostile” reverberated through the crowd, igniting a fervent singalong that attested to the band’s timeless appeal.

The loss of the Abbott brothers was a palpable presence, visually embodied by images projected onto Benante’s bass drum heads and Wylde’s leather vest adorned with “St. Dime.” The duo’s memory was etched into every note, chord, and heartbeat of the performance.

The concert’s encore unleashed the intoxicating fury of Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” tracks, “Slaughtered” and “Revolution Is My Name.” These songs, performed for the first time since 2001, resonated with a seismic force that bridged the gap between the past and present.

Pantera’s resurgence has stirred the heavy metal world with fervent excitement. Twenty years after their disbandment, the impact and influence of Pantera remain unparalleled. The band’s enduring power was reaffirmed through the blistering wall of sound that engulfed the venue, meticulously balanced to allow each instrument to shine.

Anselmo’s voice, laden with raw emotion, carried the weight of the Abbott brothers’ legacy, declaring every note played as a tribute to them. Their presence was further acknowledged through poignant video montages and anecdotes, elevating the evening into a realm of reverence and commemoration.  

The tour’s concluding sequence, featuring “Walk,” “Domination/Hollow,” and the iconic “Cowboys From Hell,” evoked an overwhelming singalong akin to the most iconic moments in metal history. Fearing they may never see the band again the audience wouldn’t let them leave, pushing them to not One but Two encores finishing with a thrashing version of “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit”  The performance was a testament to Pantera’s legacy, capturing the essence of their music’s impact and enduring allure.  The revived Pantera is both an evocative tribute and a celebration of the metal giants’ enduring impact. Anselmo, Brown, Wylde, and Benante masterfully honored the band’s legacy while embracing a new chapter, standing as a testament to the indomitable spirit of heavy metal. In a genre defined by resilience, Pantera’s triumphant return is nothing short of remarkable.



Phil Anselmo – Lead Vocals

Rex Brown – Bass

Zakk Wylde – Lead Guitar

Charlie Benante – Drums



Pantera Setlist

1.) A New Level

2.) Mouth for War

3.) Strength Beyond Strength

4.) Becoming

5.) I’m Broken

6.) Suicide Note Pt. II

7.) This Love

8.) Fucking Hostile

9.) Cemetery Gates

10.) Planet Caravan

11.) Walk (with Child Bite)

12.) Domination / Hollow (parts)

13.) Cowboys From Hell


14.) Slaughtered

15.) Revolution Is My Name

Encore 2:

16.) Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit