Sunday, February 8, 1998, 7:30 pm
Metropol, Pittsburgh, PA

(Note: All pictures on this page courtesy of Todd Silimperi. They are not to be used anywhere else without his written permission. I want to thank Todd for sharing these great photos with us!!!)

I've been a Judas Priest fan since the early 80's, but I've never seen them live, can you believe? I missed the Vengeance tour in 10th grade because my family was out of town on vacation. A week later, Maiden opened up for Priest at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, but i wasn't old enough to drive yet, so I was denied again! That could have been, theoretically, the most ass-kickin' show ever on earth!

Anyway, we pulled into Metropol around 6:00, and proceeded to enjoy our own pre-show warmup in the parking lot. There was already a long line of loyal fans outside. I had been to a club show like this before and I knew we could still get up front if we waited till around 7 to go in. We left the vehicle around 6:50, joining a steady stream of fans walking toward the club. Since we had our tickets already, we didn't have to wait in line, but instead could walk right!

I noticed the crowd was mostly 25-35 and male; unfortunately, very few "metal chicks". As I had predicted, we were able to walk right up to the second row; my one buddy got right up against the fence, stage left. As I was commenting to him about not having to push our way to the front row, the guy next to him said, "You don't have to do that, come on up." Thanks, man, whoever you are!

There we were: front row, stage left. The crowd was growing impatient. At around 7:50, we began to chant: PRIEST! PRIEST! PRIEST! We couldn't wait any longer.

Suddenly, the lights went out and The Hellion blasted from the speakers as the band came onstage under cover of darkness and the crowd erupted into a frenzy. RAW POWER! I was a little disappointed that they didn't actually play that song (it was pre-recorded) because I'm trying to figure it out on my guitar, and I wanted to get an idea where to start. Anyway, the band was ready to go for Electric Eye and they tore right into it without missing a beat.

The Sentinel really rocked the crowd; Glen and KK were very tight. A couple songs later, they played Burn in Hell, from Jugulator. Some of the crowd were into it, but most didn't seem to know the song, except when Ripper got us to sing "Burn in Hell" a couple times. It was ok, but I was already looking forward to the next song.

Ripper: What's my name?
Crowd: Ripper!

Ripper: Crowd:
Ripper: THE RIPPER! In for surprise; you're in for a shock...

KILLER! If I had closed my eyes, I wouldn't have known it wasn't Halford singing. Ripper was that good!

I thought Bullet Train got a similar reaction to Burn in Hell. The crowd just wasn't whipped into a frenzy over these songs like it was for "the classics".

Nightcrawler was one of the highlights of the show. There was so much energy in the air, we started a mini-mosh pit up in the front row. It only lasted a couple seconds, but it was great! The best part was after the chanting; I could just picture the 'Crawler emerging from his lair!

They finished up the main set with Green Manalishi. This brought back some memories; I think it was the first Priest song I ever heard (back in the day!)

When they came back out and the drums for Painkiller kicked in, the place went absolutely nuts! Glen and KK jumped in like clockwork, and the place was abuzz with energy. Again, Ripper sounded exactly like Halford. A couple more mosh pits started up. After that, they went right into another crowd favorite, Another Thing Comin'. They finished up with Hell Bent and Livin' After Midnight.

As they were taking their bows and waving to the cheering crowd, I kneeled on the fence (with a little support from the dude behind me...thanks, man!) and high-fived KK. "Gimme a pick, Gimme a pick," I yelled (it was too loud to say please!). He obliged by walking over to his monitor and bringing me back one. YESSSSS! I was a little disappointed that the pick doesn't say Judas Priest on it; it's just an ordinary Ernie Ball pick, but I know in my heart that it's been used by a true Metal God. I'll never use it myself; I'm not worthy!

Sometime during the show, I pulled out my camera and started snapping away. After a couple shots, the one bouncer told me to stop, but I continued anyway and he didn't bother me again. I wish I had had a shot or two left when Glen, Ian, and KK did their trademark "guitar rocking" thing. I got a couple good shots, though. The one of Glen in the red lights looks like it's out of Hit Parader! There's also a cool shot of KK, Ripper and Glen, but Glen is pointing to the crowd and his hand completely covers his face. DAMN!

As soon as I hit the outside air, I took off my sweat-soaked Vengeance t-shirt (circa 1982) and drank in the cool air. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! My ears were ringing like crazy, but I didn't care. I had just witnessed an incredible display of power and musicianship. Judas Priest blew the place absolutely awesome show!

Todd Silimperi