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On stage: Judas Priest

- Bang-Your-Head - June 2008 - Balingen (D) -
- Judas Priest & Iced Earth - June 2008 - Düsseldorf (D) -
- Priest Feast - Feb. 2009 - Birmingham (GB) -
- High Voltage Festival 2011 - June 2011 - London (GB) -
- W.O.A. - Aug. 2011 - Wacken (D) -

- Priest Feast: Testament, Megadeth & Judas Priest -
- Feb. 14th 2009 - Birmingham (GB), LG Arena -

For me the long drive from London to the city of Birmingham was filled with excitement but also with trepidation! Excitement, as I was going to watch the 4th date of Judas Priests Priest Feast UK tour at the newly named LG Arena (previously NEC Arena) in Birmingham, trepidation, because the motorway's of England are notoriously traffic ridden and totally unpredictable! Would I make it to the gig or be stuck in a tailback for 5 hours on the M40 motorway? Thankfully the roads were as clear as a bell as I made my way steadily to the ancestral birthplace of heavy metal itself, the birthplace of Judas Priest and of the legendary Black Sabbath.
The LG Arena is a terrific venue with stewards and staff very friendly, helpful and well organised, I was very happy to have a standing ticket as I wanted to get as close to the stage as I could for this amazing bill of Testament, Megadeth and headliners Priest!
San Franscisco thrashers Testament took to the stage at around 18.20pm, to a rather good reception, the arena was far from full, but there were obviously quite a few of hardcore Testament fans in attendance.
The band tore threw some old classics such as Practice What You Preach and The New Order with excellent drummer Paul Bostaph laying down some amazing rhythums, while axe masters Skolnick and Peterson shredded for all their worth, vocalist Chuck Billy roared like unholy thunder throughout. They suffered from slightly stodgy sound at times, the guitars having difficulty cutting through. But the sound did improve, as the band referenced their new album The Formation Of Damnation by playing a couple of new tracks.
Testament are excellent at what they do, they're a very competant and highly technical thrash metal band. But I always thought that their songwriting maybe wasn't quite as good as it could be and no disrespect to Chuck, but I always had problems with Billy's vocals, with a Ripper Owens / Halford style vocalist with a very big vocal range this band could really have soared, but they failed to make it into the big metal leagues back in the 90's. But who knows, now fully reformed with renewed fire in their bellies they may yet prove doubters wrong, their new album has garnered very good reviews. Testament put in a very strong and competent 40 minute performance, the future could yet be very kind to them.
Soon it was time for my favourite band on this bill, the amazing Megadeth! 19.30pm arrived at last and the band took to the stage with the brilliant Sleepwalker, the NEC crowd were totally up for some Megadeth style metal, the atmosphere was terrific. A superb Wake Up Dead followed, a huge amount of head banging was undertaken by the assembled masses, I could not help but fully join in! Simply metal heaven!
Relatively new guitarist Chris Broderick seems fully at home with the Deth, as he shredded out superb solo after solo, drummer Shawn Drover on his amazing silver cage kit pounded the drums with total precision, very lively bass player James Lomenzo underpinned the drumming perfectly.
Dave Mustaine is quite simply the perfect metal ringmaster, with amazing charisma, snarling vocals and with incredibly precise guitar playing, he was very much on form as always. They played beautiful versions of Tout le Monde and In My Darkest Hour also an amazing version of my personal fave Deth track She-Wolf, Dave dedicated it as this was Valentines Day to all the She-Wolfs in attendance!
The Deth hammered through Hanger 18, Symphony Of Destruction, Washington Is Next and the classic Peace Sells' together with the hammer blows of Skin o'my Teeth and Holy Wars. The band got an amazing reception from the metal hungry Birmingham crowd for their hours work, so much so that a little crowd surfing occurred towards the end of the set, the likes of which I've not seen at this venue for a while! If the new Deth record is as good as is hoped, then it will surely not be long before they can once again headline arena's such as the LG, the resurgence of Megadeth in the 21st century is a truly wonderful event for any true metalhead.
As the crowd caught there collective breath for 30 minutes before the headliners arrived, it was amazing to reflect that Judas Priest have been making metal for around 35 years, this is a band that along with Black Sabbath virtually created metal as we know it today, the clothes & imagery, twin lead guitar shred fests and banshee like screaming vocals! I had not witnessed the Priest since around 1990 on their Painkiller tour, so to say I was excited was most definately an understatment! The great old band put on a masterful 100 minute show with a few choice tracks from their latest opus Nostradamus thrown in with the classic old favourites and mixed with some more obscure tracks from the bands incredible back catalogue like Devils Child and Dissident Aggressor. They played my own Priest fave Breaking The Law relatively early which was a surprise!
Rob Halford is the great showman of classic metal, like a heavy metal Gandalf style wizard he strode the stage with outrageous costumes and beard, his screams as piercing and powerful as they were 30 years ago, only the song Painkiller forced him to use vocal effects to acheive the high pitched dog whistle style vocals. Guitarists KK and Glen Tipton just get better with age, they are the perfect twin lead guitar attack, no band in metal can touch these guys at their best, pure metal gold. Bassist Ian Hill is still the same, seemingly tethered to the back of the stage, no movement bar his headbanging & bass waving! Drummer Scott Travis is definately one of the top 5 drummers in metal, as a drummer myself I watch in amazment at his abilties, he was born to drum for the Priest.
The band played several golden classics like Green Manalishi, Sinner and Hell Bent For Leather. The only track I really missed them playing was Living After Midnight which is one if the best metal singalong chourus's ever! The Priest Feast show was pure metal heaven, Judas Priest showed that they have much much more left in their locker, they may be approaching their sixties now, but my god can they still make amazing metal!
I cannot wait until they tour again, Hail to the Priest!!!

Simon Barnes


Judas Priest & Iced Earth - June 23rd 2008 - Düsseldorf (D), Philipshalle

The new Judas Priest album was just out for about a week - and Nostradamus didn't really convinced me... It seems that the new album divided the fans... Anyway, I hope that they play a lot old stuff too. My main reason to go to Düsseldorf was to see Iced Earth one more time, coz at RockHard festival they blow me away!
The Philipshalle wasn't sold out, but quite packed. About a quarter to eight the lights went out and Iced Earth entered the stage which showed in the back the Framing Armageddon cover. Within a few minutes Matt Barlow and his mates showed that they are really a band - Ripper Owens never really seemed to be part of the family... Anyway, Declaration Day sounded even better with Barlow! Bassist Freddy Vidales was always in action and it was pure fun to watch the guys playing! They had only 60 minutes and so I missed some songs, but with 10,000 Strong, Coming Curse, Dracula and the new track I Walk Alone they offered a strong set. The encore Melancholy (Holy Martyr) was the highlight and it seems everybody was singing along! I can't wait to see them again!!!! Please come back soon!
After a short change over the intro Dawn Of Creation called the fans attention for the beginning show. The intro came from the P.A., but was followed from some other new song - Prophecy. At the beginning of the show frontman Rob Halford entered the stage dressed with a silver robe - at one of the many podests lifted from below the stage. I was surprised that so many fans sang along the refrain, coz the album Nostradameus was only out for a week! And anyone who expected Judas Priest to play the whole concept album, was proofed wrong, coz next came Metal Gods!
No time wasted for talking! They continued with tracks like Eat Me Alive, Between The Hammer And The Anvil, Devil's Child and Breaking The Law. For Breaking The Law a guest joined the band and surprised the fans - Doro Pesch. The metal queen had covered the song and with her former band Warlock opened up for Judas Priest at the Turbo Lover tour, so perhaps not such a big surprise... During Hell Patrol guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton as well as bassist Ian Hill showed the typical synchronized posing. The place was on fire!
Another new track - Death - and they got back to older tunes including The Hellion / Electric Eye with dual lead guitar intro. One of the highlights! And they traveled back in time with Sinner. Then Scott Travis lead in Painkiller which was the closer of the regular set. And people shouted loud for more! And it got even louder when Rob Halford returned on his Harley for Hell Bent For Leather! A classic! And another one coming... The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)! The very last track was You've Got Another Thing Coming, sung by Halford wrapped in a German flag. And then it was over. A great show with a lot of classics!
A great evening with 2 great bands and tons of excellent music! Thank you guys!

Claudia Ehrhardt


           ©2008-2011 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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