What a night, it is going to take a little time to recover from the metal assault. Two bands with a combined 50+ years of making metal music. That is quite a feat. Together they put on a great show of pure metal.
I got to the venue around 6:30, a small crowd was starting to form. The doors opened at 7:00, and the crowd had grown. We all moved through the security check and into the site. First stop was to take a look at the merchandise, the usual array of t-shirts were available. Next walk into the main hall and find my seat. That’s right, my seat. For some reason, the powers that be thought that this show, featuring loud metal acts, would be best to have all the fans in seats. I think it was a ploy to make more money by having different price level seats. Anyway, I had a pretty good seat, I was in the 6th row, center section, I was just a little left of center.
8:00 rolls around, the lights go out, we knew what time it was. The opening of “Among the Living” starts and the crowd went nuts. This was my main reason for going. I am a long time Anthrax fan, but never got to see them in their 80′s prime, now with the reunion of the classic lineup, I have that opportunity. Let me start by saying that they were absolutely incredible. Every song was there, the energy and intensity was as high as ever. It didn’t take long before the rows of chairs got dismantled, the first 4 rows of chairs just disappeared. You could see chairs being handed out of the center area as a mosh pit formed. Where there is a will, there’s a way, the fans want to mosh, they are going to mosh. Security did what they could to make sure the chairs weren’t turned into weapons, but they were good, this was a crowd that seemed to know what moshing was.
Back to the stage. To see these guys back onstage playing again after 13 years is great. Getting to hear all of their classics again is a sight to be seen. Frank Bello was a madman running back and forth on the stage,getting the crowd riled up, Scott and Danny shredding together, after ten years apart, Charlie proving why he is one of the best drummers in the game, and Joey Belladonna leading the charge. They owned the crowd for their entire 60 minute set. They proved that they can still tear up the stage and play tight thrash metal. I was like a little kid in the audience, seeing these legends, singing along with all my heart. I only wish that they could have played longer.
Here is the set list, the order may be wrong, and I may have missed one:
1. Among the Living
3. Caught in a Mosh
6. Efilnikufesin (NFL)
9. I Am the Law
Between 9:00 and 9:30 the stage was rearranged for Judas Priest. The drum kit was uncovered, the risers revealed, the backdrop came down. While that was going on, security was working on reconstructing the front rows that had gotten dismantled during Anthrax’ set. Chants of “Priest” kicked up a few times while we all grew restless waiting for the main event to take the stage.
At 9:30 the lights went down again. A red light came on at the rear of the stage, moving, as if peering out into the packed house, looking for something. The stage lights came on and KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, and Scott Travis took the stage. There was one person missing, our master of ceremonies, Rob Halford. Arising at the rear of the stage in the middle of the electric eye backdrop rose Rob Halford, complete in full leather regalia, singing Electric Eye.” The crowd went nuts, me included. The song concluded and Halford descend back from whence he came. The next song came up and Rob appeared in a cloud of smoke on the left of the stage at the top of the risers. Throughout the night Rob would occasionally appear and disappear through the hidden riser lift throughout the night.
This was my first experience seeing Judas Priest live, and not being the most familiar with their music or their live show, I didn’t know what to expect. The music was great. The interplay between Tipton and Downing was unbelievable. These guys have been at it for over 30 years, they have there stage presence honed to a fine science. It seemed to take Halford a little to get up to steam, but once he did he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. There are rumors that Rob is using a teleprompter to keep from forgetting lyrics, I am not sure how true this is, but there were numerous moments that I saw during the show that would lend credence to the possibility. In any case, he sounded great, perhaps not as strong as he once was, but still impressive by any standard.
Seeing Priest live was a great experience, to be amidst so many like minded metal souls is truly inspiring. A great performance by these legends is a sight to behold. The stage, built with Priest crosses, elevated walkways and hydraulics is one of the bigger ones that I have seen on this stage.
The set ended with the classic “Painkiller,” but the show was far from over. Rob returned to the stage atop his trademark motorcycle. They came out for two more songs, “Desert Plains” and “Living After Midnight.” They came back one more time for the second encore, ending the show with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.”
Set list, believed to be correct:
1. Electric Eye
2. Solar Angels
3. Riding On The Wind
4. A Touch Of Evil
5. Judas Rising
7. I’m A Rocker
8. Breaking The Law
9. Diamonds And Rust
10. Worth Fighting For
11. Beyond The Realms Of Death
12. Turbo Lover
14. Victim Of Changes
16. Desert Plains
17. Living After Midnight
18. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Bottomline. Seeing two bands reunited on one tour, who would have thought it? Seeing Anthrax like this was like being in a time warp, the 1980′s are still alive and well kept alive in the still relevant music of Anthrax. Judas Priest continuing to back up the legends of metal tag. Both of these bands are great live. Anyone with the opportunity to see them, do it!