October 18, 2000
Halford, Live, Roseland Ballroom, NYC

Set list:

Made In Hell
Locked & Loaded
Into The Pit
Nailed To The Gun
Stained Class
Running Wild
Silent Screams
Electric Eye
Riding On The Wind
Metal Gods
Breaking The Law

Upon arrival at the Roseland Ballroom there wasn't the large crowd I had hoped for. I knew the turnout was going to be spotty, given the fact that even though Rob Halford is the "Metal God," he is still with a record company that can't give its bands any amount of respectable support. I hadn't heard any ads on the radio or on TV. No newspaper ads or record store promotions anywhere in the area. I knew this was going to be full of only hardcore fans that kept track of what Rob was up to.

Regardless, I was excited as hell to see Halford in a club! I had seen Priest at Roseland back in '98. Now, I was going to be within mere feet of a legend on stage!! I was looking around for my friend Bryan who was supposed to be there, but I ended up never finding him that night. The place was barely 1/3 full by the time the opening act took the stage. Professional Murder Music is the opening band for the US leg of the Halford World Tour. I hate to knock on bands who are doing their best to get their name and music out, especially touring the country in a small Winnebago and probably not making much more than a couple hundred bucks a night. But, PMM is yet another example why my distaste for the large record companies grows daily. If you want to know what PMM is without listening to them, just picture what Korn sounded like about ten years ago. I honestly thought the lead singer WAS from Korn! He looks and sounds exactly like him. And the band's sound is just as similar, but very generic. It's your typical 4 chord progression stuff, tuned down a couple of steps. And, as with most new bands I've seen in the past decade, ZERO stage presence. Boring. With the exception of Halford and Queensryche opening for Maiden this past summer, I can't remember the last opening band I actually enjoyed seeing. I think the last time was actually when Korn opened up for Megadeth several years ago before they hit the big-time. Anyway, what pisses me off is that these guys have a record contract with Geffen. Rob is stuck with Metal-Is/Sanctuary. Guess who's going to get more support from their label? Yeah, the music biz is fair....

People continued to filter into the Ballroom during Professional Murder Music. When they were finally done, the place was more than half filled. At around 8:50, I decided I better make my way up towards the stage, or I wasn't going to be close. I wiggled my way through a bunch of people (who are always taller than me....) and got within one person of the front barrier. Cool. :-) The lights finally went down at 9:15. Finally!!! The opening music played while the anticipation built and the band made their way on stage. New York (at least a small, loyal part of it) was in a frenzy. The Metal God hath arrived!! Patrick, Ray, Mike, and Bobby launch into Resurrection to start the night off. With Patrick's opening riff, the place goes nuts and Rob Halford makes his appearance. BOOM! With his trademark glasses, leather, tattoos, and shiny skull, he takes his place center stage, head down, and rips through the opening number and Made in Hell.

Without going through a song-by-song review, the Metal god was in absolute top form this night. The last time, other than this past summer, I saw Halford was back in 1988. His voice was a bit on the rough side in August, but, as he's said in the past, Rob's voice gets stronger as he tours longer. On this night, he couldn't have been any more powerful. 50 years old and still screaming better than anyone 25 years his junior. It was mesmerizing. Only 15 feet away, the one man who single-handedly defined what heavy metal is all about - sweat, volume, presence, mastery of the audience, and the greatest voice to ever sing into a microphone - was pouring ever ounce of energy he had into every word. If you ever want to witness a human being immersing himself into his art, just watch Rob Halford when he closes his eyes and wails away. It's beautiful. In fact, he practically hypnotized the entire hall during the debut of "Silent Screams" n this tour. I had a wild drunk guy right behind me screaming the first part of the song, so some of the magic was missing, but just watching Rob sing the song that seems to be closest to his heart is something every fan of music should see. I have an MP3 on the site of this song the band did in Toronto on the opening leg of the North American Maiden tour, and it was lacking some of the power of the recorded version. Well, whatever adjustments the guys made, it worked SO well. The crowd was just blown away.

You can see the set list for yourself, but other high points in the show were Locked and Loaded (the guitar tone for this song is the BEST, and it's a perfect live tune!!!), Electric Eye, Jawbreaker (which shocked a lot of people...and was it incredible!), Stained Class (how Priest can't play this live, I don't know. It's just amazing) and Metal Gods. This time, the crowd, which had filled up more than 3/4 of the hall, became part of the show. You could hear everyone singing the words with Rob and sometimes for him, when he just held the mic out and smiled.

The mix of Halford, Priest and Fight tunes ended around 10:30 with the classic Tyrant. Mike and Patrick, as they did all night, ended with a flawless dual-harmony solo that sounds better each time. These guys were so tight all night, and they just got better with each song. By the end, I was spent. I was sweating and extremely hungry. As I turned around to begin my exit, the crowd erupted. What the heck was going on? It turns out Mike Piazza and Mike Hampton of the New York Mets were in the balcony that circles the hall. They were waving to everyone and you had Met fans cheering, and Yankee fans booing.

I was glad the show ended when it did. I was able to catch an earlier train home than normal. (I hate having to run for one of the last trains out of Grand Central.) I walked the twelve blocks back to the station, enjoying the peaceful time alone. I had just come out of one of the most amazing shows I had ever seen. I really felt like I had just experienced something I'll remember the rest of my life. This was one performance by someone I've idolized for almost 20 years that I couldn't imagine being any better than it was. Yeah, it was that great. Who knew the next night would be even better?

-Devin Comiskey 10/22/00