|» Judas Priest 2005 02 26||
In Flames performing live at Globen, the biggest indoors venue in Stockholm? Now that's a sight I wouldn't have believed a few years ago. But here they are, indeed not as the main attraction of the evening, but still It's an impressing sight to watch the shadow pictures of vocalist Anders Fridén and his band mates entering the stage while the intro to "The Quiet Place" rumbles out of the speakers.
It is obvious that In Flames have gained interest in their home country, and not just among the "younger" metal fans. There are many In Flames-shirts in the audience, and most of the people seem to have sat down on their seats when the show begins. I've had the privilege to see In Flames twice last year and know that they're always generous with explosions and such on stage. Not tonight though, the closest thing we get to a visual effect is when the stage lights turn red on (you guessed it) "Touch Of Red". Luckily enough, the songs are strong enough on their own; the visuals are just an extra spice.
50 minutes is a long time for a warm-up act (or, as it says on the poster, "special guest") but for In Flames it is not enough room to play all their greatest hits. Heck, these guys have trouble covering their whole career in a set length twice as long as that! Which means this is obviously not the time to start bringing out old favourites like "Artifacts Of The Black Rain" or "Clad In Shadows". But will the old-school fans accept that classics like "Behind Space" and "Colony" are not played? Probably not, although personally I wasn't to bothered with this. The set list was pretty much as good as it got, given that Gothenburg's greatest were only allowed to play 12 songs.
Anders Fridén is chatty as always, although between songs he doesn't joke around as much as usual, he's more into talking about how much it means to him to play on the same stage as his childhood heroes. Rest assured, his singing and growling is as flawless as ever, and it is proven that these shoes are not to big for In Flames to fill. This is mostly thanks to the powerful songs. "Dial 595-Escape" is a pleasant surprise since it's the only song tonight that I haven't heard live before. "Cloud Connected" is a crowd-pleaser as always, while "Only For The Weak" gets the audience to jump around like crazy in front of the stage. And "My Sweet Shadow" is a massive finish. My t-shirt of the evening says it all: "In Flames - probably the best band in the world".
9 Chalices of 10
The Priests from Birmingham have always been a big name in Sweden, although not on the same level as for example Metallica or Iron Maiden. While these two bands easily sell out bigger arenas like Ullevi in Gothenburg in just a couple of hours, Judas Priest have not quite managed to fill the considerable smaller venue of Globen this evening. However, this doesn't seem to concern the thousands of nostalgia-hungry metal-fans who have gathered here tonight. Let the show begin!
Initially, the backdrop consists of a huge eyeball, with a red laser beam coming out of it and scouting the audience. The opening dual track of "The Hellion" and "Electric Eye" is as predictable as it gets, but it works wonders with the crowd. The charismatic vocalist Rob Halford's voice might not be as impressive as it used to be, and sometimes it sounds like he's shrieking while tumbling off a cliff or something. Still, he's more powerful than most of the singers in the business, and combined with his almost robotic movements it creates an imposing character. In "Metal Gods", he even growls. You certainly don't see that every day.
After the epic "A Touch Of Evil", the backdrop is replaced (this happens two more times tonight) and the concert kind of restarts. The new backdrop consists of the angel from the cover of the upcoming album "Angel Of Retribution". It feels like a strange decision not to release the new album until the week after the concert. Sure, many will want to go out and buy "Angel Of Retribution" after hearing the new songs tonight, but on the other hand, the Priests can't play too many of them. That is why we should be grateful for having the Internet. How else would we be able to shout along to the captivating choruses of new hymns like "Judas Rising" and "Deal With The Devil"?
Everyone who saw the Priests making their comeback at Sweden Rock Festival last summer will remember it as a very nostalgic show. Nothing wrong with that, but to prove that the Brits are not just a band of has-beens, they need their new material. That's why it's a shame that they haven't incorporated more new songs into the set list. Except for the above-mentioned two songs and the new single "Revolution", we are left with nothing from the upcoming album. The beautiful ballad "Angel" and the rawness of "Hellrider" would definitely have suited more than well this evening. And while it is probably an unrealistic wish, the 13-minute long "Lochness" is greatly missed, since it is the best track from "Angel Of Retribution".
The set list is rather predictable all night long, although songs like "Hot Rockin'" and "I'm A Rocker" are surprising and neat choices. And the classics work just as well as last year, with "Turbo Lover" and "Breaking The Law" taking point. Both the cover songs that Halford & Co always play live are present, with Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi" performed a bit faster than usual and Joan Baez's "Diamonds And Rust" being the evening's big sing-along.
Ultimately, it's the troika of party-songs of the encore that really gets Globen going. After Rob Halford has done his usual entry on his motorcycle, the band performs "Hell Bent For Leather", "Living After Midnight" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" with great authority and gets standing ovations afterwards. Judas Priest is certainly back to stay.
8 Chalices of 10