2003
Reunion
Reviews


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"I'm glad I went last night (for nostalgic reasons), but I still feel like complaining. First is the ticket price. $27.50?! There'd better be a shit load of feral cats living domesticated lives these coming months. Someone made a lot of money on that show and I don't think it all went to felines.

"Secondly, the line up was not as billed, nor was the set. Greg, Dez, and Robo were great to see, but didn't qualify the billing as the "First Four Years". I especially took exception to seeing Mike V. as singer for the first part of the set. Why him? Nothing against his ability or the effort he put into the performance, but I don't think anyone connects him with Black Flag. One person walked through the audience with a hastily made sign claiming'bait & switch'. With the exception of My War I was at a loss to recognize the material from the first hour. By about 10:15 they started to play songs from their early years and the crowd responded accordingly.

"Lastly, the sound sucked. Robo's drums sounded decent, but Ginn's guitar was drowned out in a crappy, distorted mix. The same could be said for Dez's vocal mix. I'm glad I went, though. I hadn't been to a punk show for close to 20 years and went to this one with some old high school friends from Fullerton. It was trippy seeing some familiar faces that were now in their 40's. The kids who elbowed their way through the crowd toward the mosh pit pissed me off at first until I realized I'd acted like a jackass at their age as well. They'd leave the Palladium and go pee on the same walls and puke in the same planters we had 20 years ago and all seemed OK at that point."

Stu B.
September 13, 2003


"I think overall, the 'reunion' was bullshit. I've been listening to Black Flag since I was a little kid, and Greg Ginn has always been an influence on me musically. However, I think what Greg and Dez did really defames the mighty Black Flag, and for me is really a sad, final stamp on a legendary band, a band that has changed the lives of many people. Then again, I only went to the Friday night show, the Saturday night show could have been way different and better for all I know.

"Basic rundown of the show after the opening acts finished was The entire My War album played by Greg Ginn and Dez Cadena on guitars, Mike Vallely (pro-skater turned singer in the Rats) on vocals, I'm not sure who on drums, and a bass track. Then a real bass player comes out (not Chuck Dukowski or Kira Roessler), and then the mighty ROBO appears! This line-up blasts through stuff from Damaged and First Four Years. Dez stops playing guitar after the second song to concentrate on singing. All through the set Dez does stupid things like wave to his Mom and talk shit on Keith Morris. After about ten songs and a short solo, Robo leaves and is replaced by another anonymous drummer. After a ten minute break, the crowd is meant to suffer through a horrible improv-jam by Greg and the new drummer for who knows how long before Dez returns for the 'encore'. Show over.

"For $35 a ticket, I would have liked to have at least seen Keith Morris there. I knew Rollins was out of the question, and I figured Dukowski and Chavo would not go for it. But Keith Morris should have been there, and I blame Greg and Dez for his absence. And what about Kira or Bill Stevenson? I think the term 'reunion' was thrown around a little loosley.. A lot of people left before the show ended.

"Worst things about the show on Friday night:

  • No Keith Morris.
  • No Chavo.
  • When Dez sang, he seemed very bored and tired to me and he messed up a lot.
  • The My War section of the set was apparently played to a bass track with no real bass player on the stage. For the rest of the Black Flag set I have no idea who the bass player was (it wasn't the Duke).

"Best things about Friday night's show:

  • The appearance of Robo (who played about ten songs).
  • Mike Vallelly handled the My War vocal duties surprisingly well.
  • Despite a few major fuck ups, Greg, Dez, and Robo had a decent overall musical sound together, almost good enough to remind one of better days..."

Justin Anger
September 15, 2003


"I thought it was the worst show I have seen in 23 years of going to shows...

"I saw Flag a bunch of times back in the early 80s and they kicked ass, but these shows at the Palladium on Friday and Saturday and at Alex's Bar on Sunday were horrible. I saw all three. I think it was a scam and a rip off. No Keith, no Chuck Dukowksi... how can you call it The First Four Years? And why play the My War record? That wasn't anywhere close to the first four years. I wanted to see what I paid for - Chavo, Keith, and Dez singing Nervous Breakdown and Jealous Again and sounding tight and looking good. Dez looked like someone in the freaking Eagles. His long hair and his total lack of stage presence was a complete buzzkill. $37.00 for tickets? Give me a break.

"Their energy was a little higher at Alex's, which is a small dive bar with a stage only about 3 or feet off the ground...so it was a little more punk, you know? They did the taped bass thing again, which was a major bum out. Dez and Greg were hanging out drinking before they went on stage and people were talking to them and having a good time. DI opened and sounded better than they have in a long time. They had Stevie Drt (drummer from 1985-1994) come up and play drums on Chiva which was cool. DI kicked ass over Flag, and that is a sad sentence to have to write."

Linda D.
September 15, 2003


"'Reunion'?! HA! More like the Black Flag fiasco!!! $40 for that piece of shit?! Thank God that I didn't buy a ticket for the second show (I almost did)! It was completely awful. What a fucking HUGE disappointment.

"I am from Redondo Beach (their home town) and grew up listening to Black Flag. The last time that I remember them playing was at the Palladium w/The Ramones & Minutemen in '85 or so. I was unable to attend that show so, it's safe to say that I have been waiting a long time to see them (and I'm still waiting).

"That was not the 'mighty' Black Flag! All of the advertising for this show was misleading. The first four years, my ass! It was more like the 'look at me, I'm Greg Ginn' show! And what was with that horrible mid set change with Ginn & a drummer?!

"The Rollins/West Memphis 3 shows earlier this year were 1000 times better! That to me was the closest I'll ever get to seeing the 'real' Black Flag. Ginn totally ruined the name of one of the greatest bands to ever exist and he soured me on them for a while to come. Fuck the cats! And fuck Greg Ginn!"

Arturo T.
September 15, 2003


"It sucked. A rip-off.

"My War: Some skateboarder acting like Rollins. Whatever. And there was no bass player - the bass was recorded. Huh?

"Ginn, Robo on drums, C'el (i guess) on bass, and Dez singing. This part could have been pretty cool... and then taped bass parts again with Ginn playing and Dez singing. This part was kinda cool, but pretty much just sucked. No bass player? And some nobody on drums? What the hell?! A waste of time. The Palladium sucks regardless. The 30 minute part that was pretty cool was ruined by it being at the Palladium.

Patrick W.
September 15, 2003


"Very disappointed that Keith and Chuck weren't there. I drove all the way from the Phoenix area. I thought the first set was very boring and almost left, but Robo saved the show! If it wasn't for Robo I would have bailed early.

"I also noticed that in attendance was Casey Royer and one of his guitarists from D.I. on SATURDAY.

"I hate cats, but love PUSSY! hahahahaaaaaaaaa"

Paul L.
September 15, 2003


"Ok, I was down there Friday night and had to say the experience wasn't regretable. But I must say this Mike V is a jock idiot that does a half ass Henry Rollins impression when he's on stage. The biggest downer for the night was seeing him trying (and I do mean trying because he sure didn't suceed) to pull off singing My War (which Dukowski wrote) and seeing him the first time with his lame band and the other one opening. It would have been better justice if Ginn pulled out some random mother fucker on stage to sing the songs. And what the fuck was up with the pre-recorded bass output?

"On the upside was seeing Robo bang those skins and Dez putting good use to his old throat. The new drummer Dave Duckett in my opinion was a welcome addition to the performance. But man I would have killed to see an original member of the Flag besides Dez and Ginn. I mean there was Stevenson, Kira, Keith, Chuck, and Ron Reyes... What the hell happened?

"The audience was a mix of punks, skins, college indie kids, and whoever. The pit was pretty freakin' big and the floor of the Palladium turned into a skating rink from all that sweat and spilled beer. The most amusing moment was during the My War set where someone had a poster with the four bars with the words 'Bait Switch'. You could hear the half the audience booing by the end of that set. Before then many were throwing trash and a two or three trash bins were thrown at security. The animousity was there for being what it was. I was happy just seeing Greg Ginn play for the first time. If the band didn't pull off those early songs for the other half of the set, who knows what might have gone down.

"This 'reunion' wasn't a life changing event as I thought it would be. But it wasn't so horrible as the few others have thought after seeing the entire show. But god damn that Mike V! Why???"

Taelil K.
September 15, 2003


"Rockin' bass player for the Flag reunion!"

Dean P.
September 15, 2003


"I went to the show on Sept. 13. But before the review, let me describe myself a little bit in order to put things into perspective...

"I'm not "hardcore" like many others in the show may consider themselves. And I've only been listening to Black Flag since 2001 (unlike the 30 and 40somethings at the show), and don't know most of their songs. I did, however, buy the First 4 Years compilation so I got a pretty good idea of their early popular stuff. I'm only familiar with Rollins stuff as far as the burned copy of "Live in '84" my friend made for me.

"That being said, I'd like to say the show was awesome. I hope I'm not dodging any fruits and vegetables right now, but I've only been to 2 concerts in my life, the other one being a They Might Be Giants concert where I was on the balcony. At the Black Flag show, I was at the barricade, jostled by the waves of bodies succumbing to the forces of Mosh. The little frequency-sensitive hairs in my ear were vibrating like rabid bunnies after the show. The energy was pungent enough to help me ignore the bad man b-o.

"Mike V. looked like he tried hard to be Henry Rollins. I have to give him credit though - he was able to suck up the boos and the beer. I only recognized My War, Black Coffee, Can't Decide, I Love You, Rat's Eyes. I honestly preferred The First Four Years stuff, but I was patient, unlike the dumbasses insulting the band AND demanding them to play Gimme Gimme Gimme and first four years shizziz.

"Sure enough, they got their wish. I thought the energy Dez, Greg, Robo, the other drummer dude, C'el, and the machine put in redeemed the fact that I could barely hear the damn tunes over the distortion and noise. I should have had foresight and brought earplugs. I honestly don't know how these punk shows go - are you just supposed to feed off the energy or do you listen to live versions of the songs? If it's the latter, I had a pretty bad time because I could barely hear Dez's vocals over Greg's distortion. Mind you, I loved Greg's work on the recorded stuff but I guess in live shows I wish he could turn his distortion down a tad so could hear his beautiful skillz.

"I couldn't tell the difference between the two Louie Louie's they played on Saturday. It could have been the lyrics, but I sure as hell wouldn't have been able to distinguish those. I don't remember hearing American Waste, which disappointed me. I'd very much appreciate a setlist posting or a link to one for the show, because this concert did inspire me to shell out more moolah for the Black Flag albums, and I'd like to buy the albums which had the concert songs in them first.

"Overall, being such a relatively new Black Flag fan, this was a dream come true. Well worth the ringing in my left ear for the two days that followed. I hope that was coherent."

Justin
September 16, 2003


"I went to the show on Saturday night expecting to see Black Flag - the First Four Years. Instead I saw Greg Ginn and company. I say company because I do not know who the other guys were. I was expecting a little nostalgia as I hadn't seen Black Flag in twenty years!! What I got was ripped off!! They didn't even have a bassplayer!!

"They started with some instrumental ruckus and then some Henry Rollins imitation came out to sing and they played songs from the Henry Rollins era (My War and stuff). I was so disappointed and disgusted that I heaved a mighty FUCK YOU with two middle fingers in the air. In the old days that meant 'right on!!!', but this time it meant WHAT A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT!! I was gone!!

"Anyway, outside the Palladium I was still ranting and raving with disgust and I saw three old-timers with their brand new Black Flag t-shirts on and told them don't even bother going in. They said that Dez Cadena and a bass player were going to come on shortly, so maybe they knew something I didn't. All I know is the only Black Flag I saw that night was a can of bug spray I saw lying in the street in Hollywood. Too bad!!"

Dudley T.
September 16, 2003


"After the hellish 18 hour drive from Washington State to the lovely brown skies of Los Angeles, I was in full on fuck you mode and ready for the show on Friday night. I am 29 years old and Black Flag has been my favorite band since the tender young age of 10. I have lived a life knowing that I am 5 years too young and that I missed all of my chances to see Flag live. This is something that has bummed me out, but fuck it, there was always a slim chance that they may reform.

"Well shit in my mouth and call me your sister, the day that I had waited 19 years for has come and gone. When Dez and Greg hit the stage I was still waiting patiently to see what was gonna go down. I had read about the My War idea and thought that it might be ok considering the fact that Mike V. seems to think that he is the second coming of Henry. But Mike V.'s website stated that Dale Nixon would be playing bass. Anyone that knows Flag knows that Dale Nixon is Greg Ginn. This had me a bit confused as they started playing. I could hear bass, but as far as I could see both Dez and Greg were playing guitar. Ah ha! Dale Nixon was playing bass via a pre-recorded tape! What the fuck, halfway through the My War set, one fan carried a sign to the front of the stage that had a big set of bars with the words 'bait switch' written in Flag font. I wasn't the only one who felt cheated. It almost made me puke to hear Mike V. fuck up my favorite album of all time. All I could think was 'some things should be left dead'.

"As the set ended, all you could hear were 'BOOO's and 'You Suck's. Even though I was mad at this point, that really fucked me up. But ya know... the second set reall brought a smile to my face. Robo, Dez, Greg, and who I believe was C'el kicked ass! It wasn't the lineup that was billed, but you know as well as I do that beggars can't be choosers. And what a crowd - muscle head prison nazi skins, laughing and slamming with black guys, 50 year old punk veterans, and East LA Cholo gangs... fuck yes! Thanks for making the drive down worthwhile!"

Scott
September 16, 2003


"The Black Flag show was somewhat falsely advertised with Greg appearing in interviews and refusing to give info on who would and who would not be appearing. The line-up was announced after a hefty amount of advance tickets were sold about a week before the date and Greg made a statement about how Flag changed singers and members before without announcing it. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but back then Black Flag was a functioning band, not a reunion package billed as 'the First Four Years'. This was deceptive advertising and a case for fraud could be made.

"Drummer Duckett may be a nice guy, but he couldn't play decent drums at gunpoint. Mike V. and Drummer Duckett are in no way connected to Flag and shouldn't have been there. The image of Black Flag has been tainted even worse than that of the fake Misfits (which Dez and Robo are also involved with). They no longer mean as much to me as they did before. Greg, Robo, Dez and C'el should've played the whole set.

Bad Latino
September 17, 2003


"I have seen Black Flag over a dozen times throughout the years (everytime with Henry, except a reunion show the did at the Santa Monica Civic years ago where Chavo and Dez also sang) and I have to tell you the this reunion show represented the best and worse of Black Flag.

"The worst Black Flag show I saw was the last tour (with Cel on bass supporting the In My Head album. That was because they didn't play any of their older material, not because the band was bad. This show was better than that, but all the other ones with Henry were better. I was dubious when I heard that they were going to play the My War album with Mike V on vocals and Dale Nixon on bass. I was confused by the Dale Nixon reference because I knew Dale Nixon was Greg Ginn. When that line-up came out I forgot what an animated performer Greg Ginn was. There is no one else like him and it was a pleasure seeing him perform again. When they opened with My War I thought they pulled it off well and was glad to hear it again. The pre-recorded bass was lame though. I wondered how the crowd would respond when they got to the 20 minutes worth of slow songs from side two. I wasn't surprised when the crowd started booing.

"That ended when Robo and Cel come out. This is what I was waiting for, the real Black Flag. In my opinion, it really was Black Flag. I have seen them in a dozen different configurations and every one had excellent musicians and it would be please me to see any of them playing with Greg Ginn again. When they started playing with Dez singing and playing guitar I was disappointed. Black Flag has always had an animated emotional singer and a guy standing there playing guitar and singing just doesn't cut it. Then Dez put down the guitar and for the next 20-30 minutes I experienced what was truly Black Flag. Robo's drumming was awesome and the extended Louie Louie was excellent.

"Then the band stops and says they'll be back in 10 minutes. The drum set changes and I'm expecting maybe Bill Stevenson will come out. Instead we get a new drummer who is not up to Black Flag standards and a pre-recorded bass track again. Greg Ginn starts off with an extended instrumental jam - this represents the worst of Black Flag. Greg Ginn and just drummer giving us self-indulgence. Some of the songs came off well (like I've Had It), but it wasn't up to Black Flag standards. For people at that show who never saw Black Flag before, the performance with a real bass player and Dez singing was taste of the unique explosive energy that only Black Flag can deliver.

"Over the past two years I have seen other so-called Black Flag reunions. Two years ago I saw the Misfits with Dez and Robo and they did a Black Flag set (here in LA Keith Morris joined them for a few songs - that was a treat). It was good but something was missing. Last year I saw Rollins Band doing Black Flag tunes was past member of Black Flag singing. It was very good but something was missing. What was missing was Greg Ginn. No one is as an explosive and skillful player and performer as he is. I am very glad he did the reunion show and am very grateful to have seen Black Flag one more time and for 20-30 minutes there it was as good as any Black Flag show I've seen.

"If Ginn and co. were doing the show for profit I would have felt gypped being subjected to a recorded bass track and a substandard unknown drummer. But since this was a benefit (for a cause I personally believe in) where no one made any money I can deal with any of the shortcomings."

Pete G.
September 17, 2003


"I've never heard so many punkers sound like such a bunch of complaining old women. The bottom line is, if you went to the Flag reunion show expecting to be disappointed, you were disappointed. If you went to have a good time, you had a good time.

"Ginn is too nice of a guy to defend himself and he didn't want to put anyone down, so the true story never really got out. For some reason I feel the need to defend him so here goes. Ginn wanted the reunion to happen, but he wanted to take the greed factor out of it. He didn't want any of the former members to do it for money, he wanted everyone involved to do it for the music. He also wanted the money to go to his favorite charity, which happens to be animal rescue organizations. They advertised it as 'First 4 Years' to give people an idea to what era songs they planned on playing, not an advertisement of what members would there. So he put the invitation out to everyone. Any of the former members were welcome to join (including Rollins), but no one was getting paid. Four members came back with interest in doing the shows besides Ginn which were, Dez, Robo, Sal (the last bass player), and Keith Morris. The shows were even postponed for Keith, because he was on tour with Circle Jerks. Then, when Keith returned, he called Ginn to schedule practice. In the same conversation he asked how much they were getting paid. Ginn said, "nothing, it's a benefit". I wasn't there, but for whatever reason, Keith backed out. No money, no Keith. Everyone was bummed Keith backed out, including Greg. But Greg is a strong willed person, and if no one else is getting paid, Keith sure as hell isn't getting paid.

"Greg had to deal with the hand he was dealt. I am not shitting you when I say they practiced everyday for weeks, sometimes 10 hours a day. They owed it to the fans to sound the best they possibly could.

"I have been to the Palladium several times. It isn't the best sounding place to see a band, especially when your used to small clubs like myself. But I think they did a damn good job. Thanks."

Dave D.
September 17, 2003

[Note: Sal is credited as C'el.]


"First off, of course there wasn't a real bass player during half the set. It's not like Ginn can play two instruments at once. And why should somebody else have to play it? For those who don't know, Duke Nixon = Greg Ginn. So people need to stop bitching about that.

"And how does the man who practically IS Black Flag ruin Black Flag? Keith Morris may have been the original vocalist, but it has always been a Greg Ginn project.

"Next, I'd like to say the mid-set Ginn guitar wanking kicked ass. Sucks for you if you don't get it. Good show. Just not worth the $40."

Joe W.
September 17, 2003

[Note: I believe he meant Dale Nixon rather than Duke Nixon.]


"I went on Friday night with my wife and oldest son (16) and Black Flag rocked. Greg, Dez and company and especially Robo were great. Who needs Henry and Johnnybob Goldstein!"

Brad Z.
September, 2003

[Note: Keith Morris is credited as Johnny "Bob" Goldstein on Everything Went Black.]


"I'm quite excited that I got on ur site man. I've known for four years now and well you've made quite effort in giving people knowledge. It's unbelievable how much info is on this site because of the fact that you've always lived outside of California! I mean I live in Torrance and it's right next to Hermosa Beach, and I've met countless number of dudes that were in the scene. I'm a degree away from everyone in the South Bay punk scene. And it isn't so hard to do.

"Anyway, I guess I was expecting this reunion thang would be life changing. As if the phoenix of punk would rise from the ashes or the second coming of Christ. And a lot of people were pissed. But come on, that was an interesting night. These guys (including the people who weren't there) are all over forty (one being fifty). This wasn't going to be your daddy's Black Flag. Everyone should have known that. I should have. In fact Ginn did over 20 shows that were either free or 5 bucks before the event. And besides, it was all gone to a good cause. Seriously Ginn has over 80 freakin' cats. A friend of mine went to an SST party and Ginn isn't a man that's so money grubbing as many people think. He does have a work ethic and is a business man since running the label, but the dude's kind enough to buy beer for total strangers. And he has tons of things he can sell that can be worth a lot, but he just let's it gather dust. And yeah, there were cats everywhere. He's a weird and funny guy in a good way.

"All in allm, the reunion went sour over money. Period. But no I shouldn't point any fingers since almost everyone from that scene aren't living the most comfortable lives as many people might think otherwise. Thing is, all these people have ordinary day jobs, Keith Morris (whom I had a displeasure of meeting) became a dishwasher after the Circle Jerks broke up. Others are still in and out of the world of drugs. But in defense to Ginn, I'm sure he didn't wanna rip people off."

Taeil K.
September 17, 2003


"Based on interviews I had read with Ginn which mentioned all of the First Four Years singers being part of the reunion, I purchased tickets for both Friday and Saturday night. The My War set was pretty good both nights. It actually was pretty funny to see the reaction from the crowd with all the boos. Pretty much the same reaction it got close to twenty years ago from the skinheads when I saw the Rollins/Ginn/Stevenson/Kira lineup play it. I thought it sounded pretty good although the taped bass was a really stupid idea. And the bass playing was so bad that I thought there must be a bass player hiding backstage somewhere so on the second night I snuck backstage looking for the mystery bass player to no avail. In the middle of Nothing Left Inside my friend said 'Just kill yourself already'.

"The middle set of First Four Years and Damaged stuff with Robo playing was all anyone could ask for, really good I thought. The only thing that marred it was the drum solo by Robo during Louie, Louie. WTF? A drum solo? But then the night took a turn for the worse when they came back without Robo and C'el and played along to the terrible bass track again. I really can't understand why Robo didn't play the entire set. If the drummer from the opening band can figure out the songs, why can't someone who played them over and over years ago? And why do you need a bass track for stuff like Nervous Breakdown? Anyone can play that on bass. I could've jumped up there and played the last set on bass.

"I also don't understand Ginn's position of not wanting to pay any of the musicians any money whatsoever just because it is a benefit. I really doubt the people who work at Goldenvoice, Ticketmaster, the Palladium, or the security company worked for free so what would have been so wrong with throwing a few bucks Keith Morris's way if that's what it takes to get him to show up (as Ginn contended in an interview)?

"If they would have limited the set to the middle part with Robo playing there would have been little to complain about. 75% of the Six Pack single lineup is not too shabby for a reunion show. Never having seen the Dez fronted version of Black Flag and having seen the Rollins version many times from 1984 to the end, I thought that Dez was the much better singer, frontman, and personality. He seemed to actually enjoy being there unlike Henry with his tortured artist persona.

"People who only know Black Flag from watching the Decline of Western Civilization were probably disappointed and people into Rollins were probably disappointed. The only way to have pleased everyone at this show would have been to have Dukowski on bass, plus every singer taking turns singing a few songs. Hey, isn't that about what Ginn hinted was going to happen?"

Jon O.
September 18, 2003


"I attended this show. I was given free tickets by this jerk-off drunk at a strip bar. He gave me six tickets. The price on the tickets was $27.00. So i said what the hell. I'm going. My ex-girlfriend was a Black Flag swut. So I went ahead and took some of my friends Friday night. I went inside and was given this wristband. I went up to the balcony and had some drinks and just hung out for about an hour and a half. I got bored, so I went outside where I had a lot of beers in my truck. I met this girl and took her by my truck and started pounding. Got to have safe sex.

"11:00 pm. People started coming out. We finished. The show sucked. Saw my ex-girlfriend and she said hello. She hated the fact that I had an all access pass. I went home with a smile and couldn't wait to tell the world of what had went on. Fuck Black Flag. The parking lot was good to me. Next time there is a reunion, make sure to hit the parking lot before the watered down show is over."

J. S.
September 20, 2003


"If you're gonna announce a reunion show, better make sure you have the advertised era line-up commited . What was billed as Black Flag the 'First Four Years' turned out to be a dissapointing scam,which should have been billed as 'Greg Ginn and ex-members and a skater he hasn't burned bridges with yet'. It was pretty pathetic and sounded horrible. I paid 38 bucks for a night of bullshit. I guess Greg Ginn must be laughing all the way to the pet store. I'm sure he can afford a life time supply of flea dip."

D. B.
September 20, 2003


"The show was a major let down. I bought my tickets 2 months ahead of time. Flew all the way from Texas to see a show that was advertised as 'The First 4 Years' and what I saw was a watered down version of what I grew up with. No bass player. Sound was awful. I have been a fan for 15yrs and this band was a huge influence on my musical interests. I really think Greg should have made more effort to making this reuinon a show include some of the other members, like Keith Morris, Chavo, and Rollins.

"I don't know all of the politics behind it with this being a 'benefit show' and all. I'm sure that some of the performers could have put things behind them and had a grand performance at a legendary venue. Well, hope all the money saves some cats, cause the price was a whopping $38.50 and merchandise (besides the bottlegers outside the club) was $25 a shirt. I bought 2 so I hope some kitties get some tuna out of it. My highlight of the trip was getting to dine at a local mexican food restaurant with Keith Morris while the second performance was going on. Two thumbs down Greg..."

Scott G.
September 20, 2003


"The show was bullshit. Fuck the cats and fuck Ginn. I want my fuckin' money back. Bullshit."

Gary N.
September 21, 2003


"I flew from London to see the Friday show, so now I'm broke! First time in the States.

"The security at the show was pretty special, going through two lines of search and having to give up cigarettes and lighters. 7 dollars for a beer! Is this usual?? I thought the Palladium looked great, although maybe a bit big for a punk show. The band's gear looked a bit lost in the huge room and it never really seemed to fill up.

"When the band finally appeared, it was obviously not the real thing. Ginn and Cadena were there, but it was disappointing to see the Rollins-a-like who had been with the first support band. He was OK; but, rather than just do a Rollins karaoke, wouldn't it have been better for him to put his own stamp on the performance? When Robo appeared, Dez started singing, and they started playing the earlier stuff the performance got a lot better. They weren't particularly tight but then I suppose they haven't played together for years, I don't think that mattered. What did matter (and the main problem with the whole show) was that the sound was terrible. You could barely hear the guitar and the vocal was just a mess. It got a lot worse as the show went on as well. With tickets at 30-odd dollars I would have expected a decent PA and sound man.

"All in all it was interesting, but not mind-blowing. The sound spoilt it more than the lack of original members, and I think playing My War was a mistake and certainly wasn't what I went for. I had tickets for the Saturday night show but didn't go: that probably sums it up for me."

Rick B.
September 22, 2003


"The 'First Four Years Reunion' has to be one of the worst reunion shows, but it wasn't all bad watching ROBO up there on like a 7 foot stage.

"Greg didn't put on a really good show. I've had more fun watching him on his solo thing with that drummer guy. I was hoping to see Ron or Keith but Dez?! He should have just kept on playing with Jerry [and the Misfits on the Fiend Fest. The My War set sucked, too, with that Henry Rollins wanna be. They should have got Kira or Chuck to play instead of that bass player or the recording. ROBO should of got way more time to play. I didn't like listening to all of that Rollins shit either. I thought it was a 'First Four Years' reunion, not Rollins era. Not much of a reunion as there were only three original members. All in all it wasn't worth no $36 just to see Greg & ROBO. Oh yeah, and Dez too."

Smokey
September 22, 2003


"Well, I seem to be in the minority here, but my wife and I had a great time seeing the Friday night Black Flag reunion show at the Palladium. Perhaps I simply kept things in perspective more than many who have reviewed the shows negatively and was happy just to hear and see those songs performed by Ginn, Dez, and Robo once again. I never expected Keith or Chavo/Ron to perform anyway and wasn't disappointed when they didn't show although it would have been great to have had them perform. Anyone who was at the Santa Monica Civic Everything Went Black show back in the olden times would have been prepared for this to occur, as it did then, and it should have been no surprise.

"What did surprise me was the decision to do the entire My War album with this Mike V. guy on vocals. I actually thought Mike V. did an admirable job in what was obviously a thankless position that particular evening. Those of us who saw them play back when My War first came out remember how much of that album was received back then. Much like it was received now: with boos and hostility. Playing side two of My War was a ballsy decision for Ginn to make all things considered. And even though I've always dug that entire record I was actually surprised to hear people booing, but should have remembered the past and how that record was received back in the 80's. This audience and it's pathetic negative reaction brought back those memories quickly and I loved Ginn and company all the more for playing that particular record in its entirety. I looked at the My War inclusion as a bonus set to the material that followed.

"If the audience didn't get it then it's no wonder they didn't get it now! No big deal... I could have given a fuck about the crowd and was there to see Flag songs played by the guys who wrote those tunes in the first place! Everyone seems to be bitching and whining about the money they spent (where the fuck have all these people been lately? 25 bucks is below the average for most concerts these days!!!), the cause was weak (which it wasn't; it was valid and noble in my opinion and I was more than happy to donate money to it), who did or didn't show to play with the band, etc, etc, etc. Yawn...get over it. If I have one complaint about the My War set it would have to be that there was no bassist playing with the band. I guess we had to settle for 'Dale Nixon' since Kira, Chuck, or even C'el were too busy to donate their time to the cause. I'd like to know why none of these people made it to the show since Dez and Ginn have both stated that the show was open to anyone who played in Black Flag and it just seems sad that that spot was vacant for most of the night.

"The Black Flag material that followed should have made the restless natives a bit more happy, but again, it apparently didn't. So what? Again I don't give a fuck about the crowd and thoroughly enjoyed Ginn, Robo, and Dez (and the other two guys) plowing through just about all of Black Flag's material pre-My War. Sure some of it was rough, Dez's voice got a bit hoarse at times, Ginn's volume was a bit too low for my liking, and some of the vocals were botched, but anyone who says that they didn't get off when the band tore through their great versions of Damaged, No More, or Police Story, just doesn't get it or simply weren't in the crowd at the time!!! C'mon, someone other than my wife and I must have enjoyed singing along with Louie Louie right? I mean, fuck, if this show sucked so goddamn much I must have imagined the massive pits occurring throughout the sets, or maybe kids these days will simply just slam no matter what the hell is happening in a club or hall. I'm hoping it's because they were rocking hard to the band and it's admirable efforts and not because they just wanted to hit the pit.

"This was followed by Ginn and crew doing an instrumental set which I thought was great as well. Being a guitar player myself, and being right in front of Ginn's section of the stage, I am always amazed at his fret skills and Friday night was no different. This guy knows how to play, writes great music, loves playing, brought back Black Flag to the fans to help with a cause he believes passionately in, and was giving it his all despite the response of some in the crowd.

"After the instrumental set it was on to the final songs of the night with Dez returning to the mic, and I'm almost positive that the band would have kept playing if the Palladium hadn't turned off their power and then turned on the lights. When was the last time you went to a gig and the band wanted to keep playing but was stopped by the venue??? Ginn was still playing his guitar when the lights went on!!! I thought the Palladium treated Black Flag and it's fanbase like shit; what with keeping the lights on, security assholes wandering through the audience kicking kids out, and then turning off the band at the end of the evening. Not once in ANY review I've read on these shows has anyone mentioned these facts!!! I guess those people would rather bitch about Keith not singing or that Kira wasn't playing. Whatever...

"In the end I don't give a fuck whether or not the masses feel like they got ripped off, got their moneys worth, or think that the benefit for cats (support convicted killers or cats? I'll take the cats everytime!) was worthless. I know that I had a great time that night, loved seeing those guys play again despite the rough edges, and had no problem donating to the charities or buying a t-shirt. If Ginn decided to do this again we'd be there in a heartbeat rocking to Damaged, Thirsty & Miserable, and Machine along with the eight or so other people who apparently may have liked the show. If you didn't dig it then go see Rollins and his lamest backing band ever, Mother Inferior, rape Black Flag tunes when they pull into your local multiplex hot topic town to play along to the virtually unlistenable Rise Above CD sometime soon. Enjoy the stench when you do."

Dave B.
September 24, 2003


"What a rip off. The 'First Four Years'? There wasn't four of anything. Imagine being able to see Keith, Chavo, the Duke, Kira, and any former members would have been cool. Instead you get dez (who sounded better than he ever had as a Flag vocalist) a few songs with Robo, a bass player behind the stage, and let's not forget Mr. Ginn. I think the turn out of former members is directly related to what an asshole Ginn really is. I mean, the dude isn't even talking to his own brother (former album cover, flyer creator, and great artist Raymond Pettibon). Don't get me wrong, I think Greg Ginn is a genius as a guitarist and as a man I feel single handedly created hardcore, grunge, and the work ethic to put indie music on the map through econo touring.

"With that said, I think Mr. Ginn is a fuckin' egomaniac and a hypocrite. I don't know why people say Rollins ruined Black flag. All you have to do is look at the history of the band and you'll see that there was only one original member left when Black Flag was all said and done. I'm not trying to defend Rollins (Keith and Chavo were my fave vocalists) but Rollins always seemed to be Greg's greatest thorn. I've read interviews where Greg admits how much he can't stand Rollins. So how does the fuckin' show start but with a god-damn Rollins WANNA BE from the opening band and they decide to do the entire MY WAR album. BULLSHIT HYPOCRITE RIP OFF SELL OUT.

"I remember reading an article with Ginn somewhere where he said he had been offered major cash to do Black Flag reunions in the past but didn't feel comfortable but that this cause for cats was a good enough reason to do the two reunion gigs. Wrong again. We know the reason why there were never any reunions in the past. FORMER MEMBERS OF THE FLAG HATE GINN BECAUSE HE'S A FUCKIN' BABY. I couldn't believe when Dez started the show by saying there was an open door to any former member who wanted to play the reunion gigs. LIES! I saw Keith's comments on the Circle Jerks website (a little too late though or I wouldn't have gone) that his services would not be needed. That sounds more like a back door policy to me because they totally fucked the greatest Flag vocalist and original founding member. You want to hear about a great show I saw the Circle Jerks two weeks before at the Sunset Street fair in Silver Lake, CA and it just blew my fucking mind what a raging release that was for me (sorry to the misfortunate ones around me hope I didn't do to much damage) one thing that was right about the show was it was a benefit for cats cause GREG GINN IS THE BIGGEST PUSSY EVER! WHAT A RIP OFF! I was so pissed off that I sold my ticket for the second show for $10.00"

H. B.
September 25, 2003



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