October 19, 2000
Halford, Live, Webster Theater, Hartford, CT

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

My ticket for the Hartford show at the Webster Theater said "7:00." Naturally, I felt I had to leave work early to avoid traffic and not miss any of the show. I managed to bolt at 5:00 - just in time to sit on I-95. I was freaking out, thinking there was no way I'd make it up to Hartford in time. I had my Mapquest directions with me. I got up there around 7, but I got lost (only for a few minutes). Let's just say the signage in West Hartford isn't all that great. Yes, I did the bold thing and asked a few people for directions. The last guy I asked said "You mean the gay bar?" I figured I'd be better off finding this place using my natural manly instincts instead. Sure enough, I back-tracked and found the turn I missed. I pulled into the parking lot ($5 to park. What a rip-off) and was slightly discouraged. There were maybe 20 cars there. I walked to the front of the club and found a small group waiting for the doors to open. I had a really bad feeling. Was this ALL the people that were here for the show??? It turned out that the doors didn't even open until 7:30. I was also expecting to meet my old friend from high school, Chad, there but I never heard from him. His loss! He missed a great show.

When I got inside, I kinda scoped out the place. It was smaller than I expected. Probably about 1/3-1/2 the size of Roseland. It might hold 600 (I'm a poor judge of venue capacity, so it could be a lot more or less). I grabbed a soda and sat down. I met a few cool people (Darren and Dave. Go figure. Those two with Devin. Life is strange sometimes....) We talked about a bunch of things. Darren turned out to be a fellow Philosophy grad. I burned out on Philosophy 6 years ago, so he really blew my mind since he's still deeply involved with it. Heh. I can't remember the last time I read a philosophy book. Anyway, I warned them about the opening act. We didn't even bother getting out of our seat for them. We put our earplugs in and watched. (Why aren't there any truly good opening acts any more?)

After that was over, we eagerly awaited Halford to come on. Turns out that the band wasn't going to hit the stage until after 10:00 (I'm so glad I risked getting another speeding ticket driving up there...) While we were talking, Metal Mike came out to set up his video camera on top of the sound board. Apparently, he tapes all of the shows. Who can blame him???? I'd want to remember each and every show I played with Halford until the day I die, too!! Believe it or not, we were the only ones who recognized him. We called him over and he hesitantly agreed to take a picture with me - as long as there was no flash. Well, I should have known better. As you can see, there is no picture here of Mike and me. It didn't come out at all. :-/ Oh, well.

At 10:00, it was time to wish the guys farewell (thanks for the soda!) and find a spot up front. I had bad luck so far with pictures at the two shows in NYC and Hartford during the Iron Maiden tour, so I wanted one last chance to get some photos of the Metal God I could actually keep. As you can see, I actually pulled it off! WOO HOO!

The place was actually PACKED! I was lucky I moved when I did, otherwise, I would have been stuck in the back or on the sides. I got within one person of the barrier...and right next to the giant fan they had on. Ya gotta love that. Lights went down at 10:20, and the place went crazy. The guys took their place on stage as usual. And then, Rob walked slowly up the stairs to the stage, puffing on a cigarette, cool as can be. He was ready.for a hell of a night. Following the same exact set list as the night before, they exploded into Resurrection. I knew this was going to be the best show ever when they hit the chorus of Made in Hell, however. Wow, did the Webster Theater crowd ever deliver!! HELL!! Every single person in this mid-sized club was singing along. Rob had the biggest grin on his face. He was having fun, and we were all in a frenzy! How cool was this??

I didn't think Halford could have put on a better performance than they did the night before. But with the exception of a few broken strings and a dead wireless guitar chord, they sure as hell did. Rob seemed to be more absorbed by the music than ever. He would just seem to go into trances during some of the songs. Eyes closed. Hands moving about. Tongue hanging out. One couldn't be more into his music. And I couldn't stop watching him. How could I miss it?? This was a master in the middle of creating another masterpiece!

The highlights were basically the same as the night before. It was obvious that this small, but ravenous crowd, really got Rob off. There were several periods in between songs, where he just stood at the edge of the stage eating up the screams and chants. HALFORD! HALFORD! HALFORD! (and yes, a lot of calls for the Priest!) He may not be playing sold out arenas anymore, but it didn't seem to matter one bit. THIS is what metal is all about.

As you can see, I was snapping away with the $8 disposable camera I bought at CVS. Yes, I did better with this thing than I did with my new Olympus camera my parents got me for my birthday. Go figure! I'm just glad most of them came out. I also managed to get one of Patrick's guitar picks (thanks to the tall guy who reached over the barrier to pick it up for me. I hate being short.). This guy cracks me up, though. He is one hell of a guiar player, and I love his guitars (Jackson Solists). He's all "beefcake" and loves to pose for people. I don't know, maybe the women love it. And he looks like a cross between the Excorcist and Tim Owens ("Ripper"). I swear it's Tim's evil twin. He and Ray were positioned in front of us most of the time. They just love being up there and it shows.

I'd say the only "flaw" of the show was Rob missing the first line of the second verse in Resurrection. In fact, this was the second time I've seen him do this. It happened at Madison Square Garden (It's NOT Gardens). Since he relies on the teleprompter for the Resurrection songs, I figure that there was a problem with it. I guess I am also surprised that he needs a teleprompter for the new songs still. I'm sure there is a good reason for it.

As always, the show ended too soon. I was exhilarated. What can I say? Halford kicked the crowd's ass every which way possible and left us screaming for more. From the second they took the stage to the final bows, they were on top of the world. They had a blast, played as well as they ever could, and delivered a show that was worth ten times what our tickets cost.

Since I saved a few pictures, I figured this was my last chance for a very long time to actually meet the Metal God himself and actually get a pic or two with him. The bus was parked right out front, so I made my way over. There were about ten other people waiting to have various items (guitar pick guards, posters, CDs, etc.) signed. Since we were going to be waiting a while, I ran back to my car and grabbed my Two and Halford CDs with hopes of having them signed, too. After about 15 minutes, we were told to move away from the back entrance (of course, for no particular reason). Sure enough, as my luck would have it "Rob has left the building!" How, when, where and why, we didn't know. But, he snuck out of the club after the show and left in a waiting car. Man, were we disappointed. After being ignored by the band's management for interview and "greet-n-meet" pass requests, I am still unable to meet a person I have admired for nearly 20 years. Life sucks, but it goes on. It was getting pretty cold, and it was late, so it was about time I headed home anyway. I was still thrilled by the show I had just experienced, singing along with Rob, snapping pics, jumping, yelling and screaming, so the ride home was actually a nice way to wind down. At least I saw the show I wanted to see and had a roll of film I'd treasure for a long time. Thanks, Ray, Bobby, Patrick, Mike, and Rob. This has been the most exciting three months of music for me in my life. If anyone hasn't been able to see Halford on this tour, you better make a point of seeing them as much as possible next time around. You can't miss something like this in your lifetime. It doesn't get any better.

-Devin Comiskey 10/24/00

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