I landed at noon from a trip to the NovaRock festival in Austria where the day before I had just watched Iron Maiden and System of a down live. Now, back in Oslo, it's time to head towards the Spektrum scene to see another one of heavy metal's legends - the Brits from Judas Priest. According to the announcements made so far, this Epitaph your is the last world wide tour of the band, so I consider myself lucky to have gotten the chance to attend a concert. Even if a little while ago they split ways with guitarist K. K. Downingm who was replaced by Lauren Harris' guitarist, Richie Faulkner, this doesn't make the live experience way less interesting. On the contrary, he is quite good at catching people's attention and getting them to cheer and clap. Besides, he doesn't lack the right skills in guitar handling.
To my surprise it wasn't a sold out concert, you could still buy tickets at the entrance. It was another occasion to see metalheads of all ages who gathered their dusty or shiny, old or new leather jackets, pants, belts, big heavy boots, mean tshirts. Probably it was worth it, since Rob Halford&co, despite the very long time between their birthdays and current date, were quite full of energy and made an intense show with the help of a good light setting (that also included colored laser beams), pyro effects, huge pots(?) on each side of the stage with tridents that would go up and down, chains of all sizes and shapes hung on everything standing on the stage and last, but not least, the outfits. While the guitarists had a more or less classical leather&spikes&studs-wearing heavy metal look, Halford went to an extreme close to ridiculousness though. His long coat reminded me of the movie Pinhead and as little as I could see from far behind, I think he even wore a wizard robe and carried a trident for Dawn of Creation. He seemed to change the outfit, or at least the jacket, a couple of times, but then again, hard to tell from the distance. He even wore a Norwegian flag around his neck for a song.
Musicwise, there's things to love and some to complain about. Their guitar riffs are old and too overused by many bands, but that doesn't mean they are not capable of giving you goosebumps and feel the excitement witnessing them and clapping along on the familiar tunes. Even more exciting when Faulkner and original guitarist, Glenn Tipton, would perform twin solos and Halford pointing to them in admiration. He would even kneel in front of the drumkit. Halford still has his famous voice, just no longer getting hold of it completely for over two hours. I was pretty sad when very beautiful parts of Diamonds and Rust or Beyond the realms of Death were turned into screams rather than melodic singing. And with all due respect, but the screams on Painkiller were almost part of a Spinal Tab parody. But he made up for it by really hitting the right notes at other classics performed that night or by keeping the crowd busy by repeating 'aaaaaa's in the manner he sang them.
All in all an experience I am glad with, but I'm even more glad they decided to stop touring. In few years from now I bet it would be an extremely ridiculous show with an embarrassing interpretation of the songs. The playlist was made of:
Heading Out to the Highway
Victim of Changes
Diamonds & Rust
Dawn of Creation
Beyond the Realms of Death
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
Breaking the Law
Encore: The Hellion
Hell Bent for Leather
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Encore 3: Living After Midnight
And few videos filmed at the show can be seen here.