Judas Priest - Sheffield, England, 13th February 2009
|Event:||Judas Priest: Priest Feast Tour|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Judas Priest - Sheffield, England, 13th February 2009 by Baz Anderson (46)
Sheffield, the steel city of Britain and inspiration for the title of a certain album that goes by the name of "British Steel". The third date of the Priest Feast tour of the heavy metal gods Judas Priest accompanied by thrash legends Megadeth and Testament, finds itself raiding the south Yorkshire city and its suitably sized arena. If there is one word to describe this tour of these three bands together it is "metal", and so what better place to deliver the goods than the home of real British steel.
Sheffield Arena, many entrances and many people waiting before the doors open to get inside from the cold wintry chill and setting sun. It took a while for the floor to fill up and quite a sum of people had decided to get seating places around the outside to watch from a more leisurely environment. By the time Testament were due on, the floor was holding a vast number of people all seeming eager to get the show going.
The stage was set up with humongous backdrop of "The Formation Of Damnation" cover, and finally it was time to get things under way. Testament blasted onto stage with their usual thrash metal bounce and gave great performances of songs old and new, mostly of the songs usually played; "Over The Wall", "The Haunting", "The New Order", "Into The Pit" but also a little surprise with the title track of the new album that was not featured on the band's appearances last year. From where these ears were, the bass was overpowering to the point where the guitar and vocals were slightly more difficult to pick out, especially with their double bass drumming thundering over everything else. Testament are an amazing band and in a perfect world wouldn't be opening any show and would be the headliner, but with a tour of such quality someone needed to take the opening spot. With any band it is harder to open the show with a less enthusiastic, or drunk audience, but Testament did it well and seemed hugely grateful to be on such a bill. It still seems that especially with the younger members of the audience, Testament just aren't getting the credit they deserve, but for the people who did venture into the pit and the people who do appreciate the band, they enjoyed a bassy but thrashing forty minutes of metal of the highest order.
By number of shirts people were wearing it seemed strangely although Megadeth may have been the most anticipated band of the night. Dave and company took the stage and completely owned it. The setlist was quite similar to others used in recent years since the release of the new album, and due to the style of Megadeth not being all about thunderous double bass the sound was much better as the bass didn't swallow up the rest of the performances. As mentioned, Megadeth totally owned the large stage with just four people; in between songs there was not much, if any communication with the audience as it was as if it were expected that everyone there already were worshipping the band, and needed no more encouragement, which was the opposite for Testament where although a good number of people were into the show, Chuck would be constantly trying to rev the audience up.
The Megadeth set started steadily with some usuals, and some unusuals such as "She-Wolf", and seemed to increase in momentum until an enormous eruption from the audience could be heard and seen with the opening of "Hangar 18". Entering the venue with a hint of scepticism towards Megadeth, not particularly being a big fan of the band myself, from here on it has to be said that Megadeth produced pure magic with the constant riffing and soloing and absolute epic ending of "Hangar 18" followed by "Symphony of Destruction" and then entering straight into a medley seemingly of all the best bits of their other songs including the classic ending of "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying" and even a good chunk of Metalli... Dave Mustaine's "The Four Horsemen". What Megadeth did was produce an entertaining and at times mesmeric and awe inspiring solid ball of metallic quality that no one could argue against.
This was their tour and with a stage setup fit for kings it was time once more to hear those heartbeats through the speaker system as the introduction of the "Nostradamus" album filled the arena to be followed by a huge cheer at the sight of Scott Travis walking to his elevated drum kit and then as the other members of the band take the stage with Rob making his uprising entrance through the floor of the left tower at the back of the stage. "Prophecy" kicked of the show and gave time for the audience to come to terms with the fact that they actually were standing in front of the metal gods themselves. The real excitement kicked in however with the timeless and classic opening riff of "Metal Gods" that just doesn't sound the same anywhere else but live. Slightly disappointingly the setlist was pretty much the same as the one used last year at the summer festivals, but not overly surprising as this event was part of the huge world tour for the new album. After visits back in time to 1984, '82 and 1990 we were at another one of those seemingly timeless songs that just completely comes alive in the live environment in "breaking that what?!!... breaking the what?!!...", "Breaking The Law"! The second of only two visits to the new album was found with the lackluster "Death", one of the most un-live-worthy songs on those CDs, and gave us the only moments of the show that lacked energy, as Halford sat in his throne for the song. Such contrast was found with the next song however with probably back in its time the scariest and heaviest song ever, "Dissident Aggressor".
In between most songs there was strangely an almost eerie quietness after the audience had cheered for the preceding song. This did not seem to bother the band, after all they are experienced enough to know an audience will enjoy a show however they like. Even though these men on stage are living legends, they did not appear disinterested in the audience as to just play and not really communicate, far the opposite really, in between songs Rob would occasionally thank the audience telling us that we are the people they make their music for, and that without us they are nothing. Guitarists K.K. Downing and especially Glenn Tipton also constantly kept coming to the front and making eye contact with the ravenous fans there. When you are young and impressionable and go to see your first bands, and when watching them think "oh my god, he looked at me", or "oh my god, I touched him", and then grow up and realise how stupid you must have seemed. Well having the metal god Rob Halford stand in front of you and make eye contact, trust me, it feels just the same as that.
"Angel" seems to have knocked "Diamonds And Rust" out of the setlist as the ballad of the night, but "Electric Eye" will never be knocked from the setlist, as the timeless guitar of "The Hellion" to open for it will never cease to make the hair on the back of people's necks stand up. A journey back to 1977 and the "Sinner" once again just reinforces the thought that this band have recorded so many memorable riffs in their history than fathomable, and hold that thought as the vastly popular, hugely influential and aggressive drumming and riffing of "Painkiller" thundered through the vastness of the Sheffield Arena next. An encore and a motorbike later we find ourselves "Hell Bent For Leather" and then in front of probably the only actual surprise from the setlist as it was omitted for the festivals last summer, with Fleetwood Mac song "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)". Rob Halford may be drawing towards 60 years of age, and even though his vocals are perhaps not as clean live as they once were, he can still deliver the goods with a few minor, and actually good sounding alterations where need be, and as always can command the audience like the puppet master. The audience may have seemed quiet in between some songs, but the arena echoed and shook as the vast audience followed Halford's vocal lead for a sing along before the last song "You've Got Another Thing Coming" and a fond farewell leaving the audience with memories of a spectacular show from all three bands, but of course Judas Priest stole the show and shone as bright as ever.
Intro: Dawn Of Creation
Eat Me Alive
Between the Hammer And The Anvil
Breaking the Law
The Hellion / Electric Eye
Rock Hard, Ride Free
Hell Bent For Leather
The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)
You've Got Another Thing Coming
Written, and photos by Barry Anderson
||Written on 15.02.2009 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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