Sept. 30, 2005

System of a Down Rocks Allstate Arena

By Randy J. Klodz

System of a Down brought its first-ever arena tour to the Chicago area when the quartet stormed through Allstate Arena on Sept. 30, and further established their connection with Chicago and Midwest hard-rock fans.

System of a Down--which includes Serj Tankian (vocals, keyboards), Daron Malakian (guitar, vocals), Shavo Odadjian (bass) and John Dolmayan (drums)--played a stellar, nearly 120-minute set built to hard-rock perfection

While he exhibited his squeal-to-growl vocals on System of a Down fan-favorites “Aerials,” “Sugar,“ “Suggestions,” “Suite Pee,” “Toxicity,” and many others Serj Tankian had the sold-out Allstate Arena floor bounding with every word.

System of a Down also played new songs “B.Y.O.B.,” “Cigaro,” “Question!,” “Revenga,” “Sad Statue” and “Hypnotize,” the title track from the second and last installment of new material this year from System of a Down due out Nov. 22

Malakian appeared first onstage behind a black curtain as a large spotlight illumined his shadow, as he played the opening chords to “Soldier Side,” the mellow introduction track to “Mezmerize,” the band’s latest release.

Malakian, classified by his stellar guitar work and vocals which resonate at a higher pitch than those of Tankian, often talked-sung lyrics to introduce the proceeding song. In one case, as a lone spotlight shone on Malakian, he lightly strummed his guitar and spoke the line, “You should’ve never trusted Hollywood,” several times just before the lights returned and the rest of his bandmates busted out the full version of “Lost in Hollywood.”

Though Tankian and Malakian kept stage banter to a minimum, Tankian addressed the crowd shortly before exiting the stage. “Just before we left for the second leg of this tour I promised by 97-year-old grandfather one thing,” he said, “that I would stand before the Speaker of the House, Mr. Dennis Hastert, and make them recognize the Armenian genocide.” Tankian was speaking of his fight, and that of his fellow Armenian bandmates, for the recognizing of horrific actions of which generations of Armenians have dealt.

Progressive rock band the Mars Volta stood as main support for this show while Bad Acid Trip warmed the stage for those fans early in attendance. System of a Down’s current tour is scheduled to end on Oct. 12 when the band is scheduled to invade The Joint in Las Vegas. For more info on System of a Down log on to
System of a Down Photo: c/o Columbia Records