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Watch Pantera Play First Concert in Over 21 Years at Mexico Metal Fest

Semi-reunited lineup of Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante will open for Metallica’s stadium trek in 2023

Pantera staged their first concert in over 21 years as the semi-reunited heavy metal band headlined Friday night at Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest.

The gig marked Pantera’s first concert since Aug. 2001: After initially going on hiatus, the metal legends broke up in 2003. A year later, guitarist and founding member “Dimebag Darrell” Abbott was killed onstage by a deranged fan at a Columbus, Ohio concert in Dec. 2004. Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, Abbott’s brother, died in 2018.

The current Pantera lineup features singer Phil Anselmo alongside longtime bassist Rex Brown, with Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charles Benante standing in for Abbott and Paul.

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The bulk of Pantera’s first show since 2001 focused on their two metal masterpieces: Six songs from 1994’s Far Beyond Driven (Number 39 on Rolling Stone‘s Greatest Metal Albums list) — including “I’m Broken,” “Becoming” and their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” — and a handful of tracks from 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power (Number 10 on Rolling Stone‘s Greatest Metal Albums list). “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit,” from 2000’s Reinventing the Steel, Pantera’s final LP — was also played.

The reformed Pantera — Anselmo has billed the concerts as a “celebration” of the band, not a reunion — will next take the stage at Monterrey, Mexico’s Monterrey Metal Fest before embarking on a festival tour in South America to close out 2022. In 2023, Pantera will set off for an early summer European trek before returning stateside to serve as special guest at Metallica’s 72M stadium tour through 2024.

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