November, known for football, turkey, pastries, family, aaaaaannnndddd a dual
concert bill with Mastodon and Judas Priest? It truly will be a happy thanksgiving.
Still touring in support of their 17th studio album “Redeemer of Souls”, Priest’s first
in the top ten in the United States at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and decades of
touring, these masters of hard rock brought out the mighty Mastodon! For the un-
initiated Judas Priest did not bring a hairy prehistoric elephant on tour, but the just
as colorful and hard-hitting rockers led by Troy Sanders. This bill truly has it all. All
thriller and no filler two number one acts under the same roof on the same night.
Alas, some sad news was that this would be the last date of the double bill, as
Judas Priest would be hitting the European leg of the tour whilst Mastodon will
continue it’s conquest of the North American continent. Bringing out a thirteen song
set list that was heavily saturated with six tracks from Mastodon’s newest offering
“Once More Round the Sun”, including songs such as “Tread Lightly”, “The
Motherland”, “High Road”, “Chimes at Midnight”, “Ember City”, and “Halloween”, the
band quickly turned on the lava lamp of a mosh-pit with it’s array of lighting
schemes and colors to give the full nightmarish effect of their music. What’s so scary
about the music? It’s about life, so it’s real, and real is fucking scary shit. This did
not deter the rock and roll faithful through Mastodons non-stop set where it was
barely discernable where one song stopped and the next began. Fans pumped their
fists, others screamed the lyrics with the band, while others moshed in their own
little plain of existence to the persistent march of the bands truly unique sound.
Having witnessed Mastodon once before, tonight brought something different.
There was more energy as the band thrashed as hard on stage as their fans did on
the floor. Sometimes heavy metal, sometimes-droney death melodies, and other
times speedy thrash, Mastodon brought a little something for everyone this night.
One fan when asked what he thought of Mastodon’s performance this night could
only reply, “I fucking love these guys”. A quote that by a quick visual inspection of
the nearly ten thousand strong would thrash approval.
Now, after performing for approximately four decades, multiple album awards for
sales, ranked by nationally syndicated shows such as MTV as the second greatest
heavy metal band (right behind Black Sabbath), what could fans expect to see?
Lets begin with a young guitar upstart named Richie Faulkner. Coming into the
Priest family during the Epitaph Tour, Faulkner assuredly cemented his reign
amongst the Metal Gods to be one of the greats. With speed on the fret board and
technical precision, passion for the music, and being a playful ham for fans and
photographers alike builds appeal. It was quite apparent this virtuoso of the six
strings sparked some new invigoration into one of rocks greatest bands. How can
one person do this? Disciples, do you believe in reincarnation? If so, it could be
argued that the late great Randy Rhoads has been re-born in Mr. Faulkner.
Rob Halford, always the showman of highest standards gave a staggering vocal
performance that is truly lost amongst many of the “newer” metal acts we see today.
Not only vocally, but also visually Mr. Halford and crew looked like performers, not
stagehands just walking of the street, which again, seems to be the look of
mediocrity so many newer band exhibit. For each song played, Halford sported a
different vest or coat with the album cover displayed on the back adding even more
to the visual spectacle of leather, studs, and chains that became universally known
as metal. These talents and visuals combined with the seasoned musical genius of
Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, and Scott Travis, Judas Priest were now going to show the
crowd what rock legends are.
Playing a lengthy sixteen song set-list, Priest didn’t leave any of the long time fans
wanting playing all the classics saving fan favorite, “Living After Midnight” for the
sets closer for obvious reasons. For the less experienced and younger crowd, three
cuts from “Redeemer of Souls” were put on exhibition with the title track,
“Dragnaut”, the sets opener, and “Halls of Valhalla”. Even being released in 2014,
these songs were accepted and sung to as though they were already classics. Fans
were also treated to other Priest staples such as an unmatched laser light show and
Halfords riding a motorcycle out on stage. What band does any of this anymore? No
one. Judas Priest gave fans what they came for…a rock and roll show that only true
musicians and showmen can give. Catch this band live while you can before like so
many other Gods are eventually lost to the histories.
On a parting note Disciples, remember to always keep your eyes open and truly
absorb the experience for what it is, a unique and individual stimulation. No show is
ever the same. Each city has their own personal vibe that makes live shows unique.
Marking the end of the North American leg for Priest, this final factor tagged this
shows individuality with the mighty “Anvil” present to see these legends off before
the European leg of Priest’s journey. Always keep your eyes open or you WILL miss
something truly great.