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It was a "You had to be there" event. A concert during which 39 musicians, representing 25 different Roadrunner bands, performing 25 songs from 19 different bands’ repertoire. This unique and unprecedented aggregation of musicians was no jam session. Each song was studiously rehearsed and arranged and came together in exuberant perfection. By the time everything was said and done, it was one helluva a party.
Now it's time for the DVD that captured it all.
Roadrunner Records' 25th anniversary celebration, held on Thursday, December 15, 2005 at New York City's Nokia Theater, was a night to remember. For those who experienced the event first hand, it was a once-in-a-lifetime party and concert where artists that spanned the label's history, as well as artist and industry friends, converged to toast all things Roadrunner. The party was held in conjunction with the landmark Roadrunner United The All-Star Sessions album, released two months prior.
Almost three years to the day later, Roadrunner is releasing a DVD that chronicles an evening of raised metal horns, dubbed Roadrunner United The Concert, a two-disc set that captures the festive intensity of the night. The concert enjoyed a cult, "You had to be there!" status in the metal and hard rock scenes and now Roadrunner is giving the label's diehard followers a chance to witness the event themselves.
Throughout its rich and impressive history, Roadrunner Records has been destined for greatness, evolving from a small Dutch licensing label into one of the most innovative record labels in the world. Fiercely independent since its start, Roadrunner has achieved something that many labels seek and never attain, let alone maintain for a quarter-century: brand recognition. The Roadrunner logo has come to mean two things to millions of fans around the world: a high standard of quality in musicianship and presentation and an unwavering commitment to the best, most unique and intense in the hard rock and heavy metal genres.
In 2005, in typical Roadrunner fashion, the label devised a brilliantly inventive way to celebrate its milestone 25th anniversary. Paying homage to its past, giving a nod to its future and framing both in the most creative terms possible, Roadrunner released an album of original new heavy music, played by some of the genre's best and most highly-regarded practitioners.
“Roadrunner's owner, Cees Wessels, asked me to come up with an idea to celebrate Roadrunner's 25th anniversary,” recalls A&R visionary Monte Conner. “I knew that for it to be really special, we would need to come up with a record that involved many musicians, one that was truly a collaboration on a grand scale, an album that would cover the entire history of Roadrunner and feature some of our most legendary artists from the past, right up to and including musicians from our newest signings.”
The idea was mathematical from the get-go and was formulated to create four “teams” -- each headed by a “team captain.” Each team would consist of a core of musicians who would lay down basic tracks for four original songs written by the team captain. Each song would use a different vocalist, and no player could appear on a tune by another team. The four captains -- Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and Trivium vocalist Matthew K. Heafy – assembled their songs and their musicians for an album that was released in October 2005. An astounding total of 56 musicians from 44 different bands were assembled in an amazing organizational feat and a sign of the respect and that each player had for each other and the label itself.
Furthermore, those same artists, and then some, continued to pay their respects to Roadrunner for the Roadrunner United concert! Most of the musicians that performed on the album trekked to NYC for the party and performance. Many artists from Roadrunner's history who weren't even on the Roadrunner United The All-Star Sessions album were in attendance. Musicians who were friends of the label also agreed to lend their talents to the performance. The core "house" band consisted of Slipknot's Joey Jordison and Paul Gray, Machine Head's Adam Duce, Sepultura's Andreas Kisser, Soulfly's and Stone Sour's Roy Mayorga, Fear Factory's Dino Cazares, who throughout the evening, were joined by a jaw-dropping, rotating cast of performers.
Some of the evening's highlights included Slipknot's Corey Taylor singing while perched atop the shoulders of Killswitch Engage's Howard Jones. Former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach reunited with his former band for a rendition of "My Last Serenade." Other gems included an animated performance by Shadows Fall's Brian Fair, a "F** Monte Conner" chant, Taylor performing "Bother" with Life of Agony's Keith Caputo, and Taylor watching Flynn perform one of Slipknot's songs.
The double-disc set features the concert footage as well as a second disc, a 75-minute documentary, complete with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, making the festivities that much more intimate for the viewer.
Among the performers were: Steve Asheim, Matt Baumbach, Corey Beaulieu, Glenn Benton, Rob Caggiano, Keith Caputo, Dino Cazares, Mike D'Antonio, Phil Demmel, Adam Duce, Brian Fair, Robb Flynn, Justin Foley, Paul Gray, Billy Graziadei, Paolo Gregoletto, Matthew K. Heafy, Andols Herrick, Scott Ian, Jamey Jasta, Howard Jones, Joey Jordison, Andreas, Kisser, Jesse Leach, Logan Mader, Roy Mayorga, James Murphy, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Nadja Puelen, Evan Seinfeld, Acey Slade, Travis Smith, Joel Stroetzel, Corey Taylor, Ville Valo, Tommy Vext, Jeff Waters, Jordan Whelan and Tim Williams.
Indeed, heavy metal history was made on December 15, 2005. Here's to another 25 years of Roadrunner Records exerting its dominance in the headbanging, hard rocking sphere.