36 Hours w/ ICED EARTH, IN FLAMES & JAG PANZER
By Mark Gromen

After smacking down the WWF's Times Square headquarters, the bands had a day off before heading to central New Jersey, for a date at the longest continuously operating metal club on the east coast. Rain and Friday afternoon traffic doubled the two hour drive from Manhattan, but eventually, the two tour buses, one shared by Iced Earth and Jag Panzer, the other, the divine province of In Flames, finally rolled to a stop. As the crew unpacks, various band members inspect the lay of the land, the club's layout.

A deli tray of cold cuts, provided by catering, brings a few new faces off the bus, but generally, these are lost hours. As the hired help sets up onstage, the Panzers and Flames erect drum kits and transport their own guitars. Chatting with early arriving fans, posing for pictures and autograph signing fills the time not spent on the cell phone, calling labels, managers or significant others. At each venue, only Iced Earth soundcheck, two hours before the first band hits the stage. The Swedes are superstitious, believing it best to just plug in and go. As opener, Jag Panzer is hurt by the constant time constraints and also can't check their sound before showtime. Running late, the entire day is compressed, as are nerves, if the slightest thing goes a rye.

Precisely at 8 PM, Jag Panzer hit the boards. The allotted half hour slot affords the Coloradoans about five songs. There's not ample time to air two decades worth of recorded destruction. Regardless, the Jags are thrilled to be playing sold-out shows on their home soil. The newly released DVD, The Era Of Kings And Conflict, is selling so fast, copies might not be available for dates later on the tour, and there will be no second pressing!

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