Monday, June 13, 2005

Judas Rising

Judas PriestAn account of my evening out to see the Priest:

We left early to get to the Mohegan Sun Arena, which is located in the Mohegan Sun gambling resort. After grabbing some ribs at the rib joint in there (which were decent, but had nothing on ribs from Memphis), we waited on line for the show. It was just before 7:30, when Queensryche was scheduled to start, and there was an announcement that they were going on. Bastards.

We managed to find our seats before Queensryche got too far in their set. Unfortunately for them, almost no one was watching. This definitely affected their performance - while it was technically good and Geoff Tate sounded great (man, he really can sing), they didn't move around too much. As people started shuffling in, they got more animated, and the show really got going. Not being the biggest fan, I only recognized three songs: "Queen of the Reich", "The Needle Lies", and "Empire". They were splendid, even though people were constantly moving in front of me to get more beer, and the fool behind me kept drunkenly screaming for them to play more Mindcrime (apparently he didn't read the news tidbits about how they were going to concentrate on old material). It was also hard to see at times, because the drapes covering Priest's set obscured my view. They played for a good hour, and had the crowd going for the last 15 minutes (a decent feat, considering the generally lackluster audience, and big gaping hole between row one and the stage).

At the intermission I got the opportunity to look around and examine the audience. To say I was disappointed in the crowd is an understatement. Were there mullets ahoy? Bitchin' tight Maiden t-shirts with tour dates on the back from the 80s? Skin tight black jeans and leather? Hell no. What I saw were a bunch of fiercely overweight washed-up jocks. The only person who had a shirt cooler than my Slayer one was a dude with an Iced Earth shirt (which I later determined they sell at Hot Topic stores). No wonder the crowd was more interested in keeping their beer cups full than the show itself. I glanced at the merchandise table (ugly shirts for $35 and $40 - whee!) then headed to my seat.

Got back and the Priest came on shortly thereafter. They opened with the standard recording of "The Hellion" then pounced in with "Electric Eye". I have to say this didn't come off as well as when I saw them on Ozzfest - the drummer seemed to be lagging behind at a leisurely pace, and Rob did his usual slow pacing around the stage. "Metal Gods" fared better, as Halford did his "Mr. Roboto" walk to front and center, and Glenn Tipton expertly focused a beam of light off his pickguard into the audience (so very cool). By this time the drunk dude behind me had all but passed out, and was led away by his girlfriend (yay for me!).

Things cooked a little more during "Touch of Evil" (man I love this song) and "Judas Rising" (where Halford was raised from the depths of hell to the top of the stage via a "Rob-e-vator"). "Judas Rising" was especially cool, because Tipton was playing a constant muted riff, which sure as hell isn't noticeable in the studio version. The Priest were digging this song, for some reason, and I was feeling the groove.

People were getting up for beer all the time, but the frequency increased during "Diamonds and Rust", which is too bad, because that song was very well done (even though, again, the drummer was beyond bored). After this is where, just like when I saw them at Ozzfest, the show really started to slide. "Deal With the Devil" should've kicked all kinds of ass, but because the crowd didn't know about it (who buys new albums?), it didn't have the punch I expected. Then they pulled a very risky move by playing "Turbo Lover". Yikes! I rethought things, and said, "Maybe they'll make this song cool," but alas, better guitars and drums couldn't save it. It plodded on and never took wing. Then even though "Exciter" was elite, we got a few more slow ones which really put the audience to sleep, and "Painkiller" didn't smoke as much as it should've (a major disappointment). Again, I blame the drummer.

Fortunately they pulled it out at the end with "Hell Bent For Leather" (complete with the staple of Halford wheeling his bike on stage), which got the crowd going. Rob continued to engage them with his spinning in place and "call and answer" antics, which got everyone going enough so they stayed to watch "Living After Midnight" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" without leaving for more alcohol.

The crowd then spilled out into the casino, where they continued to yell their brains out (I guess everyone was really drunk by this point), thus scaring the old people who'd come to gamble. This amused me to no end. We ambled over to Krispy Kreme (although, shockingly, I wasn't in the mood for one), then vacated the premises.

The experience proves a point I've known for some time - the quality of a live rock show is directly proportional to how close the audience is allowed to get to the stage.

Set list:

The Hellion / Electric Eye
Metal Gods
Riding On The Wind
The Ripper
A Touch Of Evil
Judas Rising
Revolution
Hot Rockin'
Breaking The Law
I'm A Rocker
Diamonds And Rust
Deal With The Devil
Beyond The Realms Of Death
Turbo Lover
Exciter
Victim Of Changes
The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)
Painkiller
Hell Bent For Leather

Encore:
Living After Midnight
You've Got Another Thing Comin'

1 Comments:

Anonymous mokeface said...

Great show! That was the exact song line up at the show I went to in VA.

5:39 PM  

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