Pantera celebrated what would have been Dimebag Darrell‘s 57th birthday in the most heartfelt way possible during their show in Austin, Texas on August 20th. As fate would have it, the tribute took place in Dimebag’s very own home state, a setting that couldn’t have been more appropriate.
In the middle of their performance, Philip Anselmo and his crew made a pause, inviting Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Dimebag’s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney, to the stage. Their purpose? Sharing a round of Dime’s cherished drink, the “black-tooth grin” — a concoction of whiskey tinged with a touch of Coca-Cola. As Blythe ushered in a cart filled with the beverage, Haney, in a heartwarming gesture, handed out the drinks. Notably, some were non-alcoholic, accommodating those on the tour who maintain sobriety. With the crowd’s anticipation building, Anselmo sparked a massive chorus of “Happy Birthday.”
This touching ceremony wasn’t the only homage Pantera paid to Dime during their Texas tour stops. Just a few days prior, in Woodlands on August 17th, the band had brought Blythe and Haney on stage for a rendition of “Walk,” showcasing a reunion of sorts between Anselmo and Haney, who’ve had their differences in the past.
This entire celebration wasn’t just restricted to the live stage. Before the concert, Pantera took to social media, posting an image of the late guitarist, flamboyantly adorned in a leopard print cowboy hat with his signature red-dyed beard. Another post was a fun-filled video montage highlighting Dimebag’s humorous and spirited character.
As the evening progressed, Pantera, who was touring with Lamb of God and occasionally opening for Metallica, played three songs before orchestrating the tribute. In a shared video, the audience saw Randy Blythe wheel out a cart filled with Black Tooth Grin shots.
The celebration reached its pinnacle as Philip Anselmo, with his unmistakable voice, prompted the Austin crowd to serenade “Happy Birthday.”
Earlier in the week, Haney came out with both Pantera and Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe to sing “Walk.” Check out that moment here.
The tribute was a somber reminder of Dimebag Darrell’s tragic end. In 2004, while performing with Damageplan, a project he had started with his late brother and Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, he was fatally shot on stage. Now, nearly two decades after the loss of this metal titan, his legacy lives on. The reformed Pantera, with Anselmo, Rex Brown, Zakk Wylde, and Anthrax’s Charlie Benante, ensure that Dimebag’s spirit continues to resonate with every note they play.
See video of the festivities below: