Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Judas Priest at the Gibson Amphitheater

It is difficult for me to grasp the idea that my first concert was twenty-five years ago. I was at a very impressionable age. In the height of when bands were deemed "Satanic" and with the PRMC campaigning for the ban of Heavy Metal, my father wanted to make his two sons happy by taking them to see Judas Priest at the Long Beach Arena in 1984. It was something I will never forget. The following review will be heavily biased as my sentimental meter was on overload.


I was never the biggest Whitesnake fan, but definitely loved the videos as a young boy. Who doesn't remember Tawny Kitaen dancing on a pair of Jaguar automobiles? It turns out 1984 was the recurring theme for this night as David Coverdale (Vocals) mentioned they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of their album Slide It In.

After opening with "Bad Boys", I will admit I do remember "Love Ain't No Stranger" and was instantly transported to the days of cassettes, long hair and listening to KNAC all day. I was chuckling during "Slow An' Easy" thinking about I had no idea what this song was talking about back in the day. I was hoping for "Slide It In" but alas it was not played.

Another good sign your were at a hard rock show was the intense light show employed by Whitesnake. David Coverdale wore a white shirt and white shoes that radiated when he was lit up by the spot lights. Most bands like to hide in red or low lights, but Whitesnake wanted you to know you were getting rocked by Whitesnake.

Doug Aldrich (Guitars) and Reb Beach (Guitars) had the obligatory shred off with squealing harmonics and judacious guitar gymnastics. It was almost as if this concert was taken straight from the vaults. Out of the hundreds of shows I have reviewed in the last couple of years, I can't recall a good guitar duel.

I wondered on Twitter if Whitesnake could be considered forefathers of the power ballad during "Is This Love". Whitesnake even dialed up the similar synthesizer presets. Nice touch indeed. They finished their set with "Here I Go Again" and "Still Of The Night". I witnessed a lot of beers hoisted in the air approving their set.

Judas Priest
Judas Priest at the Gibson Amphitheater
One of the things I remember from the classic Judas Priest show in 1984 was when Rob Halford (Vocals) comes storming out on the Harley Davidson motorcycle. It doesn't get any more metal then that. I enthusiastically noted a fair amount of young kids in the audience who were with their fathers.

A large curtain dropped as Judas Priest slammed into the title track from British Steel "Rapid Fire". The members of Judas Priest were back a number of feet from the front of the stage for the first song which presented few close up photo opportunities.

It wasn't until the blazing guitars of "Metal Gods" that K.K Downing would bring his trademark flying "V" guitar up front for some choice photos. It was extremely nerve wracking taking photos of these Birmingham metal legends.

The surreal moment of the evening came when I was in the pit during "Breaking The Law". It seemed to go by in seconds as I barely caught the fleeting moment of K.K. Downing, Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton front and center. All the late night hours and energy I put into this website was worth those very precious few minutes in photo pit.

Ian Hill (Bass) looked exactly the same thrashing away tirelessly on his bass while Glenn Tipton and K.K Downing effortlessly negotiated their fretboards. I think I lost a few followers on Twitter due to my incessant updates of glee. I should have been paying attention to the lyrics for "You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise".

At the majority of the concerts I attend, all of my friends know I am fairly reserved as I am taking notes or carefully observing the show. This was not the case during "Living After Midnight". I was singing along with my fist in the air "Rockin' to the Dawn!"

Judas Priest would dig deep after their triumphant completion of British Steel for an astounding version of "The Ripper". Fast forwarding to the present the backdrop changed for the prog rock tinged "Nostradamus". Rivaling "Breaking The Law" in nostalgia factor was when Rob Halford appeared on a British Steel styled Harley Davidson for "Freewheel Burning" which gave me goose bumps circa 1984.

"Diamonds And Rust" was a pleasant surprise as I made a pact not to cheat and look at setlists from their prior shows. The house was coming down by the time Judas Priest played the classic "You've Got Another Thing Comin'". I know I missed a lot of details I normally would have caught or remembered but I reverted to my old care free self in 1984 who was amazed at the spectacle of live music. I immediately secured my ticket to see the show again on 8/5 at the Pacific Amphitheater. Do not miss this show if you own a Judas Priest album.


Anonymous said...

Got goose bumps reading the review! Great job!


Anonymous said...

Agreed. :) Your excitement over the show oozed from this review, not to mention your tweets. Was great to see you so stoked for a show!