The following first-hand accounts of the public memorial service held Tuesday night (Dec. 14) for slain DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott have been submitted by BLABBERMOUTH.NET visitors:
Bryan and Andrew Mamaliga: "I was at the memorial last night. It was an incredibly cool and sad event.
"Me and my brother got there about 7:15 and there was already 1,000+ people waiting to get in. It was freakin' cold outside.
"By the time they let people in, there was another 1,000+ people behind us.
"The stage was cool. On either side of the stage were posters of Dimebag from the various guitar/rock magazines. Onstage was a carboard cutout of Dime, along with a floral wreath in the shape of his guitar.
"At the start of the memorial, DJ 'Dr. Rock' came up and shared some thoughts and memories.
"Next up was the former guitar player from GRIM REAPER, who shared a wonderful story about how Dime gave a 12-year-old kid his first guitar.
"Jerry Cantrell, Pat Lachman, Mike Inez, and one of the BLACK LABEL SOCIETY guys came up and did two acoustic ALICE IN CHAINS tunes... The whole audience went nuts singing along......
"After that, Zakk Wylde hit the stage, followed quickly by a surprise visit from Eddie Van Halen. Both were pretty toasted, and Eddie kinda made an ass of himself by not letting Zakk tell his 'Dime story.' I really think Zakk was taking it all pretty hard, you could tell he honestly felt a loss.
"The saddest part of the evening was when Vinnie came to the stage. Everyone in the audience could feel his pain, as they all shouted 'We love YOU TOO Vinnie!!!' I think everyone was really touched by his short, heartfelt speech.
"A video showing the 'history of Dime' from 1988 to present was shown, which totally rocked. Old-school footage from his high school days was shown which was way cool.
"Overall, there was a lot of love in the room.
"On a side note, to demonstrate the ultimate COOLNESS of Zakk Wylde: After the memorial, me and my brother went to a local microbrewery called Humperdinks after the memorial...
"We walked in, and there was Zakk with his crew, just finishing dinner. I felt a little uncomfortable approaching him on such an emotional time, but went up and asked his table if I could buy them all a drink and that I was sorry for their loss.
"Zakk, politely and warmly said, 'No thanks man, we've been going at it hard for about four days, but we appreciate it.' I told him 'Sorry to bother you, I'll get out of your way.' Zakk then replied, 'You're more than welcome to hang with us if you would like.' Being a giant Zakk fan, I damn near fell out.
"They had to leave shortly thereafter, and Zakk shook my hand, asked me my name, and gave me a friendly hug while saying, 'Tonight's all about Dimebag.'
"I'll never forget how cordial Zakk was, just like Dimebag.....
"Me and my brother had a beer and a shot of Jagermeister in Dime's honor."
Tony B.: "As far as who was there, for one, NO, Phil [Anselmo] was not present, however Rex was. Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, and, of course, Vinnie. Aside that, it was in fact Darrell's night and it was pretty much a bunch of of video shot from when they played in local warehouses, and clubs from back in the day (which I remember well) til now. All and all it was a pretty cool tribute to HIM."
Mobo: "I read your report sayin Phil was not at the funeral but I was pretty sure he was at the memorial at the Convention Center. Rex [Brown] was on stage visibly drunk and upset... He did not have much time to speak they said and he was kinda angry he said 'I'll never forget what this guy did for me..' the M.C. named 'Rock', who also I think manages the Clubhouse, was tryin' to get Rex off stage sayin' 'We have alot of people to get too…' then a person emerged from the side wearin' a big funny-lookin' jacket and a moustache, I think, and long hair....everybody sure thought it was Phil.... I guess i could be wrong but it looked like him... Didn't get to really see his face and he didn't say anything... He just hugged Rex kinda and took him off stage... It may not have been Phil I would hate to be wrong and then you guys take some shit for it...but everybody there applauded when they saw him...then later I did hear a couple of guys say, 'Fuck Phil'... I think it's real unfortunate that people feel that way...but oh well."
[Editor's note: BLABBERMOUTH.NET has confirmed that Anselmo was not present at either the funeral or the public memorial service]
Anonymous: "I myself was kinda bummed that Phil wasn't allowed to show his love and respect, but I do understand where Vinnie is coming from. The memorial was sweet, but I didnt like the way an obviously distraught Rex was rushed off the stage. But [the city of] Arlington does have curfew laws and they couldn't very well rush Eddie fucking Van Halen offstage."
Tbone2112: "I live in Arlington Texas (Dime's hometown and I have for almost 20 years). I was there and it was awesome celebrating Dime's life. The girl from 'Uranium' metal show [Juliya] was there and interviewed my friend who went to junior high and high school with him (he used to take guitar lessons from him) while we were outside waiting to get in.
"Eddie Van Halen was there and so was Zakk Wylde and they were both pretty buzzed from drinking and you could tell they were mourning like everyone. Rex was there and he was not allowed to talk for more than a second and that sucked because you could tell he was hurting. Vinnie talked some but he was hurting real bad as well. There were maybe two or three thousand people there.
"Eddie played a message from his answering machine over his cell phone thru a PA of Dimebag leaving a warm, heartfelt message to Eddie. Some of the guys I used to hang with were in the VIP section. I did not know Darrell well enough for that, but I was still glad to be there. They played videos of him playing guitar in DAMAGEPLAN, PANTERA, and him in the mid-1980s."
George Hammond III: "Just got back from the memorial and I must say it was truly hard seeing Rex and Vinnie in the shape they were in. Poor Vinnie, losing his best friend, all he wanted to hear was his brothers name being chanted, something he said he hadn't heard in five days. Vinnie had me and all my friends in tears. On the other hand it was also sad to see Eddie Van Halen in the shape he was in. There's a point when being drunk just isn't funny and Eddie Van Halen was at that point tonight. He was rude and abnoxious and wouldn't give Zakk Wylde one second to talk. If I was Zakk I would of gave Ed a good sock in the mouth to shut him the hell up. Overall, it was a real nice tribute and I'm sure Dime would have loved it. My prayers go out to the Abbotts. RIP, brother."
If you attended tonight's public memorial for Darrell Abbott in Arlington, Texas, BLABBERMOUTH.NET would like to hear from you. Please send all first-hand reports and photos to the e-mail address listed in the "Contact" section of this web site (using the navigation above).