The first photos from the rehearsal sessions for PANTERA's upcoming shows can be seen below.
The reformed band — featuring PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) along with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) — will headline a number of major festivals across North America, South America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts.
According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band's founders, drummer Vincent "Vinnie Paul" Abbott and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, as well as Brown, who last year said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.
Benante took to his social media on Sunday to share the rehearsal pictures from a New Orleans studio, and he included the following message: "2 weeks in NOLA with these boys, it's been a lot of work but how could it not?. So much heart and soul is going into it.
"This is all about the Love for Vinnie and Dime ,the fans and the music that these 4 created.
"I'm really enjoying playing these songs -they sound Great! It's very emotional and it's just starting to hit me…
"See you soon, I need a drink".
Grady Champion, who was Dimebag's guitar tech throughout his career with PANTERA and who has "signed on" to assist the band with the upcoming tour, shared an Instagram photo of him and Zakk, and he wrote in an accompanying message: "This is such a pleasure for me. Seriously. It's coming. I get to listen to this man and this band play everyday for, I dunno groundhog days. I get to enjoy the artistry of Father Zakk. He's cooking man, and I'm in the kitchen eating everything.
"I got to fill in for [Zakk's guitar tech] Stephen Christopher Murillo for a couple of days, and I'm feeling a stronger vibe by the day. I get to play with buttons and pedals like old times, and MOST of all, we are honoring the boys memory. Stronger than all. Here for the right reasons. I'm already 7 cries in."
PANTERA will play its first shows in over 20 years in December 2022, starting with a co-headlining slot at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest and Monterrey Metal Fest, followed by appearances at three Knotfest festivals in South America. There will also be a one-off show with JUDAS PRIEST in São Paulo, Brazil and a headlining concert in Santiago.
Next year, PANTERA will appear at Germany's Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, two simultaneous rock festivals, which will take place June 2-4 in Nürburgring and Nürnberg, respectively. Later that same month, they will perform at the Sweden Rock Festival, set to take place June 7-10 in Sölvesborg, Sweden, and at the Tons Of Rock festival, which will happen June 22-24 in Oslo, Norway.
Confirmed PANTERA shows so far:
Dec. 02 - Texicoco, Mexico - Hell & Heaven Metal Fest
Dec. 06 - Monterrey, Mexico – Monterrey Metal Fest
Dec. 09 - Bogotá, Colombia – Knotfest Colombia
Dec. 11 - Santiago, Chile - Knotfest Chile
Dec. 12 - Santiago, Chile - Movistar Arena
Dec. 15 - São Paulo, Brazil – Vibra São Paulo (with JUDAS PRIEST)
Dec. 18 - São Paulo, Brazil – Knotfest Brazil
Jun. 2-4 - Nürburgring, Germany - Rock Am Ring
Jun. 2-4 - Nürnberg, Germany - Rock Im Park
Jun. 10 - Sölvesborg, Sweden – Sweden Rock Festival
Jun. 22-24 - Oslo, Norway - Tons Of Rock
Benante told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about how he plans to approach the PANTERA gig: "I can't go do this as the drummer from ANTHRAX because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I'm gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it's gonna sound like it's Vinnie, basically. And that's how it's gonna be. The sound is gonna sound exactly like him."
Wylde said that he had a similar mindset. "You approach it the same way as you do when I'm playing with Ozzy," he said. "Obviously I've gotta learn [Randy] Rhoads's stuff and I've gotta learn Jake's [E. Lee] stuff, and when I was doing the [BLACK] SABBATH stuff, you learn it and do it as faithful as you can. Charlie's gotta learn all of Vinnie's parts. You approach it as if you're in a cover band. When we do the ZAKK SABBATH stuff," referring to his BLACK SABBATH cover band, "I don't start changing lyrics midway through 'War Pigs'. You learn the songs — so that's what you do."
A year ago, Anselmo said that he was up for reuniting with Brown for a special tour celebrating the music of PANTERA. The 54-year-old singer, who has spent the past few years playing a PANTERA-centric set with his solo band, THE ILLEGALS, discussed the possibility of re-teaming with his former PANTERA bandmate during an interview with Brazil's Inside With Paulo Baron. Asked if he and Rex would be open to playing some shows in celebration of PANTERA's legacy, Anselmo said: "If Rex and I had a show to play, or we were ever gonna be on stage again together, I would welcome it with open arms. I love Rex. And he'd be the same way. We're brothers forever. So playing on stage together, or doing some shows together, is not out of the question. It could happen."
In April 2021, Rex told Eonmusic that he and Philip still get offers for a PANTERA tribute tour. "But if you don't have the other guys in the band, it's not going to sound the same," he said. "If we were ever to do something like that, it would have to be spot-on, or I wouldn't do it. It would be a tribute."
Talk about a possible PANTERA "reunion" intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA's song "I'm Broken" during DOWN's 2014 stint on the "Revolver Golden Gods Tour". That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
Up until his passing, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for Dimebag's death.
Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.
PANTERA is managed by Scott McGhee of 1 Degree Music Entertainment. The band's legal representative is Nick Ferrara And Associates. PANTERA is booked internationally by Rod MacSween at ITB. Artist Group International will book PANTERA's North American dates, with Dennis Arfa and Peter Pappalardo as the responsible agents.
2 weeks in NOLA with these boys, it’s been a lot of work but how could it not?. So much heart and soul is going into...
Posted by Charlie Benante Official on Sunday, November 20, 2022