"Beauty and the Beast" was playing Saturday night at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, but this version wasn't rated G.
Beauty was Sebastian Bach. Lithe and handsome, with flowing blond tresses that women might well covet, he is the heavy-metal pinup boy (rated R for language) who fronts Skid Row. The Beast was Pantera, a growling Texas hard-core metal band made up of shaggy, bearded scruffs, except for singer Philip Anselmo, who is a shaven-headed scruff.
Beyond Bach's comeliness and high-energy presence, Skid Row had nothing distinctive to offer. The hot-selling band's songs lack grabbing melodic hooks, although that didn't stop thousands from singing along almost nonstop. As long as the pace and action were rapid, which was most of the time, Skid Row turned in a serviceable metal show. Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum joined the group during the encore.
A fuzzy sound mix took most of the bite out of Pantera's opening set (which included a guest turn by Rob Halford of Judas Priest). Despite that and its clash of styles with the headliner, Pantera was reasonably well received.