Judas Priest -- Wantaugh, NY -- July 12th, 2009
Judas got bitten by a white snake at Jones Beach.
Manowar may be the self proclaimed “kings of metal” but there is only one band that has achived the status of METAL GODS. That band is Judas Priest. Even though AC/DC was my introduction into hard rock and metal music and will forever be my all time favorite band. My love for these genres of music came full circle when I first saw Judas Priest on the main stage at my first concert, Ozzfest2004 at Jones Beach in Long Island right before Black Sabbath came on who I still feel lucky that I was able to see ‘em live. Everything about that moment in time with Priest was just perfect. The metal gods had just reunited with their singer, Rob Halford, the band was firing on all cylinders, and Halford has proven why he is the metal god even though Tim “Ripper” Owens did a great job in Judas Priest when Rob left the band in the early 90's. Six years and thirty-three amazing concerts later. I returned to the arena where of that very night too once again see the mighty Judas Priest celebrate forty years of their brand of British Steel but first I want to take time to give my thoughts on the two opening acts, Pop Evil and Whitesnake.
Pop Evil - Well, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about this band because me, my mom, and my friends were wrapping up our tailgating party in the parking lot and were getting to go to our seats as they were performing. All I know is that they are a Rock / Pop / Alternative band along the lines of modern Buckcherry, Sixx: A.M., and Trapt from Detroit, Michigan. From what I have saw and heard though. They looked and sounded like a band that belongs on Vans: Warped Tour or Motley Crue’s: Cruefest. It’s weird how Pop Evil weaseled their way onto the billing. The question beared in my mind was out of all of the band to open for one of the founding fathers of metal music. Why Pop Evil? The Whitesnake/Judas Priest crowd were not teeny bopping emo kids. Not by a long shot. I think Pop Evil got on the bill because all of the other good bands were at the better festivals over seas or at . . . Rocklahoma. It would have been nice to see maybe a folk metal band like Eluveite or perhaps one of these new bands to come out of the thrash metal resurgence like Bonded by Blood, Hatchet, or Hexen get the crowd warmed up to stir up the pot a bit. Either that or Whitesnake could have extended their set time because speaking of that band. I have a huge bone to pick with them.
Whitesnake - When I first heard that Whitesnake would be the opening act for Judas Priest. I was very happy for a few reasons. 1. Not only do you have this great blues driven hard rock band and then you have one of the architects of metal 2. This would be the first time that Whitesnake would be playing America in a really long time in support of their latest release, Good to be Bad (2008). 3. I had high hopes that they would play a few songs such as ‘Mean Business’ from Love Hunter (1979) or some songs the new album like Call on Me or Best Years because it’s such a killer record that deserves more U.S. support. So after Pop Evil leaves the stage. The Whitesnake road crew starts to set up. Their stage set was simple but really snazzy looking. So after a little bit of a wait Whitesnake hits the stage and opens with ‘Bad Boys’ from ‘1987' which was an awesome opener. The acoustics for David and company was perfect and they were off to a great start, however, all of my excitement gradually turned into disappointment.
Fool For Your Loving
Love Aint No Stranger
Slow And Easy
Lay Down Your Love
Crying In The Rain
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
The first reason is their choice of songs they’ve chosen for their set list which was mainly compiled of songs from ‘Slide it In’ (1983), ‘1987' (1987), and ‘Slip of the Tongue’ (1989) which opened a huge can of worms for me and here’s why. The reason why Whitesnake chose that set list is because their primary reason was to appeal to the populist American audience by playing any and every song that MTV and American success that destroyed them in the 80's. It angered me that Whitesnake was afraid to leave their comfort zone because they have never toured in America for support of Good to be Bad. So what do you do when you don’t play America for quite some time and have a new record out? You exclude that window of opportunity by just playing ONE song from it which was ‘Lay Down Your Love’ and crawl back to doing all of your hits. I was expecting the given songs such as ‘Here I go Again’ but....Jesus Christ. But their choice of songs was only the calm before incoming shit storm. The second reason is someone in the camp of Whitesnake decided to throw in a guitar solo/guitar duel into the set list between Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach as if they weren’t already a nostalgia act. I can understand that being thrown in if the band is in their prime where they can fuck all night, party all day and be in top form to play a show the next day or if they were the main head lining act but Whitesnake is not getting any younger. The guitar solos/guitar duel was cool for about ten to fifteen minutes but it grew old really fast because with the time they’ve gotten and in place of the guitar solos/guitar duel. They could have done either A. More songs from Good to be Bad B. A few songs from Good to be bad and some gems from their earlier albums or C. A medley of a few gems and some new songs. In conclusion, despite my complaints and grievances. Whitesnake are still a prenominal live band, David Coverdale still has the chops to be a great singer and frontman who I would like to see sing in place of Ray Gillen if Badlands ever decided to reunite, and the current line up is solid without coming off as forced and cheesy. If Whitesnake ever does decide to tour America again one day. I just hope they don’t make the same silly mistake again. It was almost time for the MEEEEETAL GOOOOOOODS to pound Jones Beach with BRITISH STEEL!
Judas Priest - It was already nightfall when Whitesnake left the stage and I started having flash backs of Ozzfest 2004 because for the forth time in six years. I would once again be experiencing the wonder and whimsey that is Judas Priest but what made seeing them so special this time around is that they would be playing ‘British Steel’ in it’s entirety because apparently they want to start the anniversary early even though it would have been a better idea to do it next year because that will the official thirtieth birthday of the album. Judas Priest isn’t the only band playing an album in it’s entirety during the summer concert circuit. Motley Crue will be playing all of Dr. Feelgood because it’s 20 years old on their own festival, Cruefest which is now in its second year along with Drowning Pool, Godsmack, Charm City Devils, and Theory of a Deadman. To further increase the excitement. Priests road crew had put up this amazing front drop with the image of the original British steel factory which was the inspiration for the album title of the same name to conceal and prepare for what was about to explode. I was still stone cold excited to see the album played live because the whole evening with Judas Priest would be reminiscent of 1980 from their stage clothing, the design of the stage, and the mini lazar shows. After waiting for a long time, the house lights went off, the arena grew drew, the green lazars created some awesome cartoon of steel mill workers pounding iron as the front drop descended into the skull crushing ‘RAPID FIRE!’
1. Rapid Fire
2. Metal Gods
3. Breaking The Law
6. You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise
7. Living After Midnight
8. The Rage
10. The Ripper
12. Rock Hard Ride Free
13. Victim Of Changes
14. Freewheel Burning
15. Diamonds And Rust
16. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
I lost my mind as soon as I shouted, “POUNDING THE WORLD LIKE A BATTERING RAM! FORGING THE FURNACE FOR THE FINAL GRAND SLAM,” AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS! Judas Priest was once again firing on all cylinders with all guns blazing! I did take a break during ‘Breaking the Law’ and ‘Living After Midnight’ to take tons of photos but I still sang along to the lyrics. Then I went back into the groove with ‘Grinder’, ‘You don’t have to be old to be wise’, and ‘United’ where I stood on my seat and waved the British flag I brought to the show with me for my pride of loving the music that has gotten me through the worst of times in my life. Seeing all of those songs that have not been played in a very long time was spectacular to experience but ‘Steeler’. That song holds a special place in my heart because it’s so underrated and it sounded so crunchy and heavy live. Even though ‘Steeler’ is my favorite song from the British Steel performance. The songs that sent a few chills down my spine and a few tears on my cheeks were ‘The Ripper’ and...’Victim of Changes’. That song made my mind blow space chunks into the solar system because everything about that song was just perfect from heart and soul that Glen Tipton and K.K Downing put into their guitars to the way Rob Halford sang all of the right notes in perfect timing. One thing I was happy to see and others were angry with their usual staples such as ‘Painkiller’ and ‘Electric Eye’, etc. Big fucking deal. I can do without those songs. I don't mind that Painkiller is out of the set list because it is a vocally demanding song for Rob Halford to perform. So I can see why that is taken out because he needs the energy to perform songs like ‘Victim of Changes’. Seeing Judas Priest again was nothing short of amazing but and I am not a big fan of this song. I could have done without the super, extended, live rendition of ‘You’ve got another thing Comin’ and would have liked to see two to three more songs in it’s place instead like ‘Heroes End’, ‘All Guns Blazing’, and or ‘The Sentinel’. Some songs from the Tim “Ripper” Owens era of Judas Priest being Jugulator (1996) or Demolition (2001) would have been a really cool surprise as well...maybe next time. In conclusion, Stained Class will forever be my favorite album by Judas Priest but seeing British Steel played in it’s entirety will forever be one of my treasured concert memories. I hope they do something like this again one day. I strongly recommend going if you know British Steel very well inside and out if you have some spare cash to piss away on a summer concert. Don’t waste your money on a poorly designed t-shirt inside the venue because they are not worth the extra $35-40 bucks.
POSERS SAY METAL IS DEAD BUT I NEVER GAVE A FUCK. HAIL AC/DC, OVERKILL, AND FUCK POSERS!!!!!.