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Judas Priest, The Pageant, St. Louis - 07/09/02

by Robert O. Chinn
Owensboro, Kentucky

The Mighty Priest played at The Pageant in St. Louis, Missouri, a club in the city near Washington University. It is a new, very nice facility. I would guess it probably holds about 2,500 people. On that Tuesday evening the show wasn't quite sold out, although the ground floor was quite packed.

Priest's set began about 9:20 pm, and they played a little over an hour and a half. The setlist (as I recall - order could be off) was:

I thought it was a strong set. Infact, I thought it was a better song selection than when I saw them earlier in the spring in Cleveland and Columbus, even though they played more songs on that tour leg. I missed "Green Manalishi" and "Hell Bent...", but some fan favorites just have to give way to keep the set fresh for fans ("Another Thing Comin'" was dropped during their spring U.S. tour, which I thought took some balls!).

The band was solid and tight - probably the best show I've seen with the new line-up. "Exciter" was a brutal addition, and a great classic choice to bring back into their live repertoire. Ripper's voice was great, hitting all the right notes. Scott Travis, now on his third tour with the band, continues to amaze with his prowess and consistency. Favorites like "Electric Eye" that were conceived during the Dave Holland years take on an extra sense of urgency under the power of double-bass drumming. The man behind the kit appears to truly enjoy himself in his role and grown comfortable as a veteran band member.

Glenn and KK may look like old rockers, but are still a lethal combination when locking axes in tandem. Priest's two guitarists are a testament to the timelessness of this brand of music. How amazing to see those same men stand together playing the intro to "Victim Of Changes". Teens and near-seniors banging heads together to a beat that has endured three decades. This is heavy metal - trends be damned!

One thing I didn't understand about this show was the disappearance of the Harley during the encore. Ripper had ridden out on the bike prior to "Painkiller" the times I'd seen them before. The stage-show has been so scaled down for the smaller venues - I'm not sure why they wouldn't still bring out the trademark bike.

The band didn't disappoint on stage, and they followed through to the loyal fans in the parking lot after the show. If you stayed, you got autographs. The guys in the band were really classy and personable, signing all manner of Priest paraphernalia, chatting, and even allowing pictures with some fans. For this Priest fanatic, it was well worth the four hour drive.