I decided to sit on the balcony again as with Slayer last night. Age, fatigue, wussiness, etc...
This time I sat on the opposite side to where I was last night so as to get a slightly closer angle. Unfortunately the angle of the seating in the Briton Academy is not quite steep enough to give a better view of the stage and if the performers come to the very front of the stage your view is slightly obstructed by the front rows and the hand rail. But I digress let's talk about the music and it was an ace night for sure.
The only support band of the night was Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock with Scotland's finest, Doogie White on vocals. Now I must admit I haven't heard Herr Schenker's latest album but I do hear good things about it on the web and that he's now a reformed character who's rocking to maximum effect. As Doogie explained they are playing a 45 minute set so they would be sticking to the hits in the main from Schencker's past in the Scorpions and UFO and a couple of new songs. They started with the legendary Doctor, Doctor with Doogie's vocals sounding mighty fine and crystal clear. Schenker was leaning over his Flying V at the side and rocking out riffs and smiling to the crowd. The sound was almost too perfect for Temple of Rock I must say. Michael's guitar was of course loudest and clearest but the rest of the band were crystal clear too. They continued with further tracks which included extended melodic solos from Michael especially in the final track Rock Bottom where he goes through his full repertoire. I'm not one for extended solo sections, but Schenker's was so tasteful and melodic and not just a flurry of notes. The guy is a real classy melodic player to my untrained ears that's for sure. The songs were catchy and very melodic. I really need to remedy the fact that I haven't heard the Temple of Rock album, there's really no excuse on my part. As for a support act, Temple of Rock were indeed the perfect warm up and got a great response and the crowd duly sang along to the hits such as Rock You Like a Hurricane with full gusto. I think I'd pay to see a full set by Schenker and co on this form.
Live and Let Live
Victim of Illusion
Lord of the Lost and Lonely
Rock You Like a Hurricane
As the support troops left the white curtain dropped as it had done the previous night for Slayer, this time with the Priest logo highlighted in fluorescent blue. It took about 20-25 minutes to ready the stage as Priest were supposed to hit dead on 9pm which they met with precision accuracy as the War Pigs intro was played and the curtain dropped as the band launched into opening cut Dragonaut from their latest album. I must admit I am not too fond of that song as it sound a bit dull to me, but I had to eat my words as it sounded amazing live. The riffs were superb and immediately I could tell that this incarnation of Priest was on fire. They are getting very old barring Richie of course but the blood is coursing through their veins with much vigour these days it seems.
The sound was once again almost perfect. Not fantastically loud and very clear indeed. Rob's vocals were indeed much better than I could have imagined. The guy obviously never runs when he can walk and he walked on with a stick for the opener in his full leather gear. For a second there I was thinking oh no Rob's really old he needs a fucking walking stick now and then I realised well it's just a stage prop.
Metal Gods plod followed after the opener with Rob doing his robot walk at the end of the song which was rather funny and cool to witness. His voice sounded superb during it though. As each song was played the album cover of where that song was coming from gave clues to the audience as to what song was coming next.So loud cheers went up on a regular basis as the fan's old faves were played. Desert Plains was awesome indeed and very melodic.
A point about Ian Hill on the bass. The guy is something else. He just stays rock solid on the spot throughout the night as either Glenn or Rob go up to him but that guy ain't moving for nothing. He just stays there rocking out that top string on the bass like his life depends on it!
Victim of Changes was a wonderful of old epic with Rob's vocals reaching the stratosphere on the high notes. Maybe he even over does it a little bit or maybe he's trying to prove a point like "hey I can still do this you motherfuckers!"
I was a bit surprised to hear the glammy Turbo Lover but the crowd participation on the chorus was full so I think it went down a storm pretty much.
The title track Redeemer of Souls which is my fave song from the latest CD was awesome and very melodic.
Beyond the Realms of Death was monumentally epic and sang with so much emotion by Rob. The guy was something else on that song I tell ya.
Three more urgent classics followed with the best song of the three being Hell Bent For Leather where Rob rode out on a Harley and sang the song with full crowd back up once again during the choruses.
Two separate encores followed although I must admit I thought the first one was just a little mini break and not actually an encore hehe. Electric Eye is one of Priest's most loved tunes and everyone loves singing it and it was no different this time either.
The second encore as it turns out features of course Priest at their heaviest and most melodic as well namely with Painkiller and the catchy Living After Midnight, a perfect song to end any Priest set. Halford really bust his guts out during Painkiller though. I was thinking Rob take it easy man, you'll get a burst blood vessel in a minute! Painkiller was lead heavy and Living After Midnight brought the night to an end with a rousing sing along.
The band thanked the fan profusely as they slowly left the stage and it was left to Rob to leave the stage last as he milked the applause and lead the "Priest! Priest!" chants as he pointed to the bands logo on the big screen.
People have been saying Priest needs to pack it up since KK left but on this showing there's a few years left in the old dog yet! Whilst Rob can still do it they need to keep going. A very strong showing indeed by the legends and I must admit I enjoyed Priest much more than I did Slayer.
(Black Sabbath song)
Battle Cry (Intro song)
Victim of Changes
Halls of Valhalla
Redeemer of Souls
Beyond the Realms of Death
Screaming for Vengeance
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Living After Midnight