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Judas Priest - 02/15/02 Roseland Ballroom, NYC

By Devin Comiskey

(Yes, this is REALLY late. I'm sorry I didn't post it a few weeks ago as promised.)

It's hard to believe it's been nearly four years since I last saw Priest on tour. My last experience at the Hammerstein Ballroom back on Halloween of '98 was defined by a number of events. A lot has changed since then...

Me, Gail, and Bryan
Like all other shows scheduled for the US tour, the New York one was delayed because of what happened back in September. I had already purchased my ticket back in early August, so I've been waiting a long time for this show! I'd been chatting with a bunch of fellow fans at the Halford board and decided to shed what remained of my anti-social self and hook up with a bunch of people at the Friday's restaurant around the corner from the club. I talk to these people all the time, yet I've never met any of them. It would be nice to enjoy the show with friends this time. So, I headed over there after work and showed up around 6:30-ish. I wandered around the restaurant for a bit before one of the guys spotted me. I was then introduced to Warren ("Metal Goose)," Tom ("Iron Priest"), and Ray ("Master_Cylinder.)" These guys are all a few years older than me. For example, (I won't mention any names, but...) some of them had seen Priest live in 1977!!! I was only 5 years old back then! So, these guy are true heavy metal veterans and STILL believe in their music more than anything. And, hey, they have a good time when they go out!! ;-) I also met the guy who calls himself "Warlord" who made my night by making a very nice toast in my honor. Thanks, dude!! I certainly didn't expect that! = )

So, after everyone chatted for a while, my good friend Bryan Reesman (who you should all know by now is one of the greatest music journalists in the biz, by far), and his wonderful girlfriend, Gail Flug (did I spell it right, Gail???). I was so excited to meet Gail, as I had known her voice for years because she worked with "Fingers" on "Fingers' Metal Shop" on Long Island's WBAB. That show has been around forever, but since they switched it to Saturdays, I don't listen much. Gail still writes the news, however. Anyway, I had made many requests and won several contests on FMS, and Gail was usually the one I would talk to. Bryan interviewed Tim Owens before the show and Gail did the photo shoot. I can't think of a better pair! They make quite a team!

Warren ("Metal Goose"),Ray ("Master_Cylinder), Tom
("Iron Priest") and Me (we don't know who the girl is!)
By this time (around 7:15), the line for the show had extended ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BLOCK! I took pictures, but they didn't come out. We decided it was time to get in line, so we could cath most of Anthrax's show. I was starving and I think I ate two street vendor hot dogs (New York Style) in about ten seconds. I usually don't eat those, even though I work in the city, but when you're hungry, you'll sometimes eat almost anything! Anyway, the line was huge but moved fairly quickly. They let people in in blocks, so they could do security checks. The show was actually SOLD OUT earlier in the week, so I knew it was going to be packed. It was actually a nice change of pace given the state of metal these days. Priest got ZERO promotion for this show and still sold it out. I think there were many disappointed fans who figured they could buy at the show. Oops!

I got in with no problems. I was afraid they wouldn't let me bring in my $15 disposable camera, but they didn't care in the least! COOL! Anthrax was already on stage, so I ran downstairs to check in my bag and jacket. We all managed to take a couple of pictures together before making our way to the front for the rest of Anthrax's set. (See picture. BTW, no one knows who that girl is! She wanted to be in the pic, so we said OK! We're all friends!) Anthrax played their hearts out as usual, but the sound wasn't all that great. I had a heard time hearing the vocals and the mix was somewhat muddy. However, I've noticed that problem a lot when positioning myself at the very front. You don't have too many speakers pointed your way. But, they're always a fun band to see and still put on a very energetic show. I think the last time I saw them was back in 1993 when they played with Korn and White Zombie in the same club. The songs we heard were "Only," "Caught in a Mosh," and, uh, well, I can't remember the other song.

As soon as Anthrax was done, I managed to squeeze myself up to the barrier so I could get some good shots of Priest while watching the show! As usual, it was a tight fit. There's always ONE guy who just has to be an ass and make room for himself right next to you. Personally, I don't need some dude breathing down my neck, no matter where I am! Fortunately, the intermission wasn't that long and the lights went down for the mighty Priest at exactly 9:15....

The setlist was pretty much the same as the other shows (although I really don't think the order is correct):

Not bad! I have to say I loved hearing Desert Plains and Heading Out to the Highway again! I just wish they'd dump LAM and BTL for something more exciting. They just refuse to mix up the set list enough!! C'mon, guys! Take a risk! Although, big balls for for dropping You've Got Another Thing Coming!

Now, here's where some people are going to agree or REALLY disagree with me. So, take what I have to say for what it's worth. I was in the front row, and the band didn't seem to have any real energy until Glenn's solo in Beyond the Realms of Death (one of the greatest guitar solos EVER). He practically had an orgasm. The sound is different up front and it's hard to hear a lot of the crowd, especially with ear plugs in. But, something seemed to be amiss. Even Turbo Lover seemed to be performed by robots! However, the rest of the show was done well. The intro to Burn in Hell was SICK!!!! They played this super-low-frequency bass note for about a minute, that I swear you could have felt across the Hudson River! It was a great way to kick off an awesome song! (My only real favorite off of Jugulator) I'm still shaking from it! One on One is also a sure-fire metal anthem. I just WISH they would play Bloodsuckers! That is the greatest song off Demolition and would kick some serious ass live. I heard an interview done after the show and Glenn mentioned they *were* considering that on their next visit this summer. So, we'll see about that.

Oh, and one more thing. They just have to stop bringing Tim out on the Harley during Painkiller or Hell Bent for Leather. He looks like such a dork on it and he doesn't even ride. It's too fake and cheesy. He reminds me of a little kid playing around on his daddy's motorcycle! Nix it, guys! Only Rob could pull that off and it looks SO BAD!

I was able to score a pick from Glenn at the end of the show. He was cool enough to jump down from the stage and start handing them out, while slapping people's hands. That was cool of him to do. After the final encore, we all met up again and walked to the coat check area, where we said our good-byes. I had to catch my train (which, of course, I missed by 5 minutes AGAIN! DAMN!!) and buy my Judas Priest mug, so I was in a hurry.

Overall, it was a pretty good show. Was it the best? Unfortunately, no. And I'm going to slip into my self-righteous, opinionated mode, so be prepared. You've been warned.....

After observing the entire band during the show at Roseland, I've come to a few conclusions that FINALLY make sense to me now. First of all, KK is not happy anymore. You could see it the whole show. He has virtually NO interaction with Glenn or Tim on stage. Hell, he never even came over to our side!!!!!!

Second, the diff between Rob and Tim is that Tim is up there TRYING to put on a show. Rob IS the show in the sense that he is so emotionally into the songs, you can "feel" it. Yes, the fucker can sing, and he sang very, very well the other night. In fact, the best I've heard him sing! But the emotion just IS NOT there. And he doesn't know how to master the crowd at all. It's almost sad. Also, all Glenn is concerned with is pointing at people.

Glenn and Tim are like a couple. They have become a clique separate from KK and Ian. It's obvious because you never see Tim w/o Glenn at an interview. When have you seen just Tim and KK or just Tim and Ian?

It's just not "right." And, I think I've figured out why. Glenn's trying to be the frontman now. Compare him now to what he was like in the 80s. Back then, he was the star guitar player and the chemistry was just right. Now, he's the leader and it it just WEIRD to me.

I was thinking maybe it was just me, but I talked to a friend who went to the Cleveland show and she felt the EXACT same way and had the SAME observations as I did. I've since had email contacts from various shows who have all echoed my sentiments (Boston, D.C., Atlanta, and Michigan). I was hoping I was wrong, but it's looking like something is definitely going on. And, since Glenn Tipton has basically taken over the entire creative process of the band, who WOULD be happy being in the band?

I'm not trying to put a damper on this show. It was a sold-out fan-fest, and more than a thousand fans left there damn happy. I wouldn't have missed it! I went to see my favorite band, but left feeling weird. So, I know I'm going to hear it because I criticized the band yet again. But, I'm always honest about what I feel.

-Devin Comiskey, 3/4/02