|» Judas Priest 2009 07 07||
As a reviewer, I hate to say what I am about to say. But absolutely nothing
about Pop Evil's set stuck with me. It was one of the most bland, uninteresting
sets I've seen in awhile, so much so that I really don't even have a fair
opinion to give about them. A few people seemed into them, though, but
I really can't score this fairly seeing as how I can't even remember most
of the set, for whatever reason.
-- chalices of 10
(sorry, no setlist)
This is better. I've seen a lot of complaints thrown about because this is a co-headlining bill, with both Whitesnake and the almighty Priest having similar setlengths (though Priest's is longer by five minutes). Personally, I find no problem with that - while I could have liked a longer Priest set, the double-headliner feature with both of these bands being bands I would have paid to see by themselves, this was a fine deal for me. And, of course, from the moment David Coverdale & Co. took the stage with Bad Boys, I knew I was in for a treat.
The years have indeed treated Whitesnake well. Mr. Coverdale can still compete with the best of them where vocals are concerned, and his high notes are unbelievable. He took a few moments in between songs to talk to us, mentioning that this was a year of anniversaries - aside from the one Judas Priest was celebrating, this year was also the 25th anniversary of Slide It In, and the 20th of Slip of the Tongue ("Which makes us almost fucking old, but not yet")
Before going into Lay Down Your Love, off of 2008's Good to Be Bad album, Coverdale gave us a quick rundown of the situation as it had occurred - saying they were going to play a song off of the new(est) album, and that after it had done fairly well over in Europe, the record label went bankrupt on them. "So, you might be able to find it over here, if you're, like, the Sherlock fucking Holmes of record-finding, I guess." Regardless of it being knew or not, though, the song stood perfectly with the rest of the songs in the set, and was received just as well by the crowd, which isn't something you see often when it comes to bands like this.
As it always is with bands like these, the set was pretty consistently
hit after hit, with the crowd eating it up, interrupted only by a Guitar
Solo duel/battle about half way through the set, with Doug Aldrich and
Reb Beach going head-to-head. While not the best guitarists, both men
did very well, and I've said before that I think that tasteful solos are
always a nice addition to a set. Capping the set off was, of course, the
ever-classic Here I Go Again, followed by personal favorite Still Of The
Night. It was nice to finally see the 'snake find their way over to this
side of the pond, and I hope they come back soon.
7,5 chalices of 10
As David Coverdale mentioned so casually during their set, this was a night of anniversaries. While also celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band (having formed in 1969), Judas Priest were also starting the celebration a year early for the 30th anniversary of the release of British Steel, choosing to play that album in it's entirety for the first time. The band stated beforehand that, in the spirit of the night, the stage set up and their outfits would be inspired by the original British Steel tour, and while I cannot vouch for that (having not been born for another 12 years), it sure looked like everything could have been taken straight out of 1980, atleast.
The show started with a curtain obscuring the stage, covered with the image of a factory, with a sign standing in front of the factory saying 'Welcome to the Home of British Steel'. Once the stage lights turned off, and the intro to album-opener Rapid Fire started up, the curtain dropped to massive applause to reveal the Metal Gods themselves. While British Steel was never my favorite Judas Priest album, I can't really think of any song on the album that I flat out dislike, so this was a pleasant set. And, while I can't say that I hope they do this for every album, they should definitely think of doing this for Screaming for Vengeance in a few years. That I would absolutely love to see.
Of course, when you get such classics as Metal Gods and Breaking The Law back-to-back at the beginning of the night, you know you're in for a treat as the rest of the set rolls on. The Ripper became the first song to be played from the rest of their catalogue, one of only seven non-British Steel songs of the night. Of course, they felt obligated to include one song off of last year's Nostradamus, which, while not being 'album of the year' material in the eye of this reviewer, the song chosen (Prophecy) went over well with the people around, so perhaps it's worth another visit. The main set was capped off with Victim Of Changes, a very nice choice (and a personal favorite, to add).
The three-song encore was, of course, jump-started with Rob rolling out on the classic motorcycle, playing Freewheel Burning, and then the original version of Diamonds And Rust (not the slower version they've played on past tours). No one could doubt the end of the night, which had to be You've Got Another Thing Comin', and as over-played as it can be on the radio some times, there is no denying that there are few things like standing in a crowd with thousands of people shouting the lyrics to one of the most classic Heavy Metal songs of all time.
As for the band, it was as if the last 40 years passed them by without touching them at all. I cannot recall many mistakes, if any at all (though I've never really been 'that guy' that complains about a missed note or two in a solo or anything) on the part of the instrumentalists, and Rob's vocals were pretty good, and I actually found myself amazed at some of the highs he reached. Considering their age, and having never seen Priest before, I didn't know what to expect when it came to Rob's voice, and found myself satisfied. There were no sound problems this evening as there were with Def Leppard the week before, thus making the experience even better. I still think that the perfect ending to the night would have been a vocal contest between Halford and Coverdale, but that is neither here nor there. This night was truly a night to remember, with two top-notch vocalists still belting it out after all these years, backed up by incredible bandmates who never seem to miss a beat.
9 chalices of 10