I was so psyched! I had waited SO damn long to see this show and the night was finally here! Thanks to some missing street signs downtown, it took me a while to find the club. When I got there there was a long line of people stretching from the door to Main St. While waiting in line (in the sleet!) I met a bunch of cool people. Of course, all were die-hard Priest fans! Funny thing was that, at 25, I was one of the younger ones there! Many people had their doubts about Tim Owens. I could understand. Hell, how could ANYONE fill the shoes of Rob Halford??? Well, judging from Tim's performance on JUGULATOR and from what I've heard from others, I knew we were in for one hell of a show. A couple of people said they could hear him during the sound check and were already impressed, though!
The doors opened a little before 7:30. I was a little surprised at the size of the club. It was one of the smallest venues I've been in to see a major act. From what people were saying, The Chance holds about 800 people max. Sure enough, it had been sold out for a while. That's a good sign! Right as we walked in, there was a table set up with all of the new Judas Priest merchandise. I bought one of those neck pendants (not that it's a reasonable thing to wear, but it's a nice addition to the collection). I have to admit, however, that I was somewhat disappointed with where Priest was playing this night. I thought to myself, "For more than a decade, this band was selling out every large arena in the country, and now they are playing these tiny clubs???" But I went to my optimistic side and realized just how cool it was to see these guys in such an intimate setting!! Priest, up close and personal! I was also reminded that this leg of the tour was considerred a warm-up for the band. It's been a while since they played live, so a schedule with small venues was a good way to acclimate Tim into the "live" Priest and to shake off the rust the band may have accumulated over the years.
Much to my delight, I was able to take a spot right at the edge of the stage. Since Glenn Tipton is my idol, I just happened to plant my self in front of his monitor. Priest wouldn't take the stage until 9:00, so some other fans and I chatted about Priest, the internet, other concerts we've been to, etc. It was nice to meet some other hardcore Priest fans. A couple of the guys I met had seen Priest at least 10 times! One even saw them back in '79. Damn, I was barely out of Kindergarten back then! While we were talking, you could see through an opaque window above stage right. The band was in the room up there getting prepped for the show. I even watched Scott Travis warm up for about 10 minutes.
9:00...and the lights go down. The music from The Hellion blasts from the speakers and the band walks out. I don't need to walk you through the set list (you can read it above). But this band put on one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen. Does Tim Owens sing well? You bet your ass! He blew us ALL away! From the very beginning he won over every single Priest fan in that club.
What was especially different about this show for me was that I got to experience this band "raw" for the first, and maybe only, time. I was literally less than ten feet from Glenn Tipton's and Ian Hill's amps! Fifteen feet from Scott's drum set. There was no "perfect" mix. In fact, I BARELY heard KK the entire night. And until I saw the NYC show, I actually didn't hear Tim very well either! This didn't bother me one bit, though. (I also have to wear ear plugs now, which really sucks....Thanks Steve Vai!...) As I have said over and over, Glenn is my idol. My eyes were practically glued to his hands the whole time. His solos for "Electric Eye" and "Beyond the Realms of Death" just floored me. He still blows my mind with his playing! I even got TWO of his "signature" picks. (Even though he uses "normal" blue Tortex or Delrin picks while playing). Scott Travis also deserves a ton of praise. He is like a machine! Absolutely flawless pounding the entire night. His precision just boggles my mind. I am so glad he is part of this band!
I have to say that "Beyond..." was the highlight of the night. Not only was Glenn's solo incredible, but Tim sang every note of this song beautifully. Priest nailed this song. Other gems were "The Sentinel," "Grinder," and "The Ripper."
Priest blew through 105 minutes with FULL INTENSITY. The encore performance of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" was probably the BEST I have ever heard it. It was a combination of the sound in the club, the sound of the guitars and bass, and the energy the band had that made this song HEAVY and GROOVING! It rocked hard! The one thing "missing" from the encore set was the motorcycle. But there was no room! The stage was that small! That was OK, though. I just wish they could play for four hours! But they sure as hell put on a great show.
A couple of things to note: what stood out throughout this whole show was that you could tell these guys were just on top of the world to be back on stage again AND just how confident Tim is while performing. Glenn had a smile on his face practically the whole show! He was beaming! He interacts with the crowd like he's never done before. (You can see who the "leader" of this band is now.) Tim showed no fear, though. It was as if he'd been doing this for years. I can't imagine the pressure he probably feels deep down, but that all seems to disappear once he steps on stage. He is moving non-stop throughout the set. Like me, Tim practically worshipped Glenn at his feet during some of the more memorable solos.
The show ended promptly at 10:45. I walked out of The Chance absolutely exhausted. I was sweaty as hell, but felt great! I had just seen one of the best concerts of my life! So far, that is...
I had heard that OVERKILL was supposed to open up the show. But KILGORE SLUDGE was listed outside the club instead. I have never heard of these guys. I was actually looking forward to hearing OVERKILL. I am not a fan, really, but I have liked what I have heard of their music so far. No one ever knew why they cancelled.
Once inside, I met a few more cool people. I chatted with folks from New Jersey and New York, mostly. I spent a lot of time reassuring people just how good Priest was in their new "incarnation" - since I had seen them two nights beforehand. I was impressed at the size of the crowd so far...
At around 7:30 or 8:00, Kilgore Sludge went on. They were OK. They certainly weren't the breath of fresh air music has been waiting for, though. They reminded me of a cross betweem "Stompbox" (which was an INCREDIBLE band from Boston a few years back) and, maybe, Helmet. But they don't compare to those bands. It was basically a "local" band opening. (They are actually from Providence, RI). The crowd was accepting of them, though
After KILGORE was done, I made my way up to the front, on the right side. I was about three persons deep, almost directly in front of the wall of PA speakers. Again, I met some more REAL old-timers, who have been fans since the late 70s. And again, I had some explaining to do as to how the previous Priest show was. One woman was *convinced* I was full of it when I kept saying how quickly one forgets about Rob Halford once Tim gets going. She wouldn't believe me (she did later on!). I couldn't blame her though! How can you forget Rob Halford??
As the time approched 9:00, I paid attention to the size of the crowd. I have NEVER seen Roseland so packed! I believe it was a total sell-out (2000+ people?). What was cool was seeing the huge diversity of fans! Right next to me was this 35+ year-old woman...with her 13-15 year-old daughter! Another 16 year-old recognized them BOTH from a Megadeth show last year! There were also plenty of 30-50 year-olds as well as many around my age (25). I was really happy to see the younger crowd. Not only did they contribute to the energy in the crowd, but it's nice to see these "youngins'" listening to a REAL band instead of all those flavors-of-the-week bands we have had to deal with in the 90s.
FINALLY, just after 9:00 (after EVERYONE was getting over-anxious), the lights went down! Of course, the Hellion blasted from the speakers once again! As soon as they started Electric Eye, I could hear Tim's voice MUCH better than I had the previous show. AND HE WAS AWESOME! The place went absolutely NUTS! Not only was Priest just rocking, but Tim was winning MANY new fans immediately! Everyone kept looking at each other with their mouths wide open in disbelief! I told you!...
What I noticed immediately was that Priest is just *meant* for large venues. Yes, they were fantastic in Poughkeepsie, but the bigger the venue, the more powerful their music becomes! Roseland was ROCKING BIG TIME! Yes, my visions of mosh pits during a Priest show came to fruition! The place just filled with this awesome energy that just kept growing as Priest played better and the crowd got more and more into the music. (My only complaint was that the guitars seemed to be too low.) The band charged through GRINDER, METAL GODS, BLOOD STAINED, and THE SENTINEL (what a classic!). TOUCH OF EVIL seemed to be the only weak point of the night. Glenn seemed to be distracted at the beginning. And they appeared to lose a bit of steam with this song. But then they followed up with BURN IN HELL. Now you can read about how I feel about this song, but I am a little disappointed with how they play it live. (They did the same thing in Poughkeepsie). If you have seen the BIH video, you notice that they shorten the beginning by almost two minutes. They do the same thing live!!!! GUYS!!! THE BUILD UP IS WHAT MAKES THE SONG!!!! Nevertheless, the place ate this one up! The crowd sang the BIH part. The band was really feeding of the crowds energy.
By far the most incredible moment was, once again, BEYOND THE REALMS OF DEATH - **ESPECIALLY** Glenn's solo. If there was ever a night he transcended his own playing, it was February 6, 1998. He just blew the place away. He truly mesmerized the crowd! He was so into this solo...and went with it through the end. He even extended it a few bars just to keep the feeling. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I always yell, scream, whoop, whistle, whatever in concerts. This time, I found myself saying to other people that that was the most incredible thing I have ever heard! It was amazing! Even Tim was gushing on stage! No wonder this guy is a guitar god! Eddie who? Jimi who? I hope to God that SOMEHOW this show got on tape.
If there were any "Tim Owens Doubters" left in Roseland, they all disappeared during VICTIM OF CHANGES. I could tell by the expressions on people's faces when they started the song that said "OK...let's see this kid show us what he's got." And did that son-of-a-bitch NAIL this song! Everyone around me was looking at each other in disbelief! Had ANYONE heard that song sung so well? Ever? I doubt it. The place almost exploded after they finished VICTIM. It was then that I knew I was in the middle of the greatest heavy metal show Roseland Ballroom had EVER seen. The band and the crowd were on fire!
The only awkward moment came when Tim rode the Harley out on stage. To me, it just didn't seem right. That is a Halford thing to me. And it was the same exact bike as the Painkiller show, just with a new logo painted on the bike. It also looked like Tim doesn't ride bikes. It just didn't work. That didn't matter much either, though. The place went crazy when the drums for PAINKILLER started (again, Scott was beyond spectacular!).
Before you knew it, they were finished. New York had just had its ass KICKED hard for the first time in a long time. I have never in my life witnessed such a show! Priest just reached a whole other level of musiciansip and showmanship. They just showed everyone just how GREAT they really are. Just imagine, a band that has been around for 25 years (albeit with some fresh young blood) just made any band that has played a club or arena in the past 8 years sound like child's play. It's hard to describe, really. You HAVE to experience it! The only problem is that every concert you see from now on will be a letdown compared to a Judas Priest show! At this point in their career, they are, once again, UNTOUCHABLE! Period. And let me tell you how many new fans Judas Priest and Tim Owens have right now. I heard high praise coming from everywhere. Yes, I heard the usual "Rob who?" But the compliments flowing about Tim's abilities and the band's performance never stopped! There were quite a few first-timers there who proclaimed "JUDAS PRIEST IS THE GREATEST BAND I HAVE EVER HEARD! THEY ARE NOW MY FAVORITE BAND!" Take THAT you poser sheep on eMpTyV!!!! Maybe after this buzz grows, radio and television will start paying attention to some REAL music. Certainly, the upcoming arena tour is going to just kill!!!!
I hopped in the cab back to Grand Central Terminal in a great mood. That show was just so mind-blowing! My ONLY real gripe for this show is that they *have to* add THE SINNER to the set list. I can't believe they left it out of this tour! KK just isn't KK without going through that whole intro-make-love-to-his-guitar-thing! That's an integral part of the Priest experience! For some reason, he seems to be a bit overshadowed on this tour. I wonder why....
I know some fans have been lucky to meet some or all of the band before the shows and have told them how great they sound. But if, somehow, they read this, I hope they understand just how amazing they sound today...in 1998. The chemistry, the energy, the talent, and aura is all there and they have, up through tonight, only played a few gigs. Guys, this country has NEVER seen such a performance from anyone!!! Amazing! Absolutely fucking amazing...
-Devin Comiskey 2/8/98
Well I also went to thet show 2/6 at roseland,and boy I was blown away! Wow,opening with electric eye was amazing. It brought back tha past (I went to two priest show in the past, 86 and 90).I one thing that I could see is that K.K.&Glenn were so happy to be there,you could see it in the way they were playing.Victim of changes KICKED ASS! I wish I had brought a camera, I was about 10 people away from the stage. Ripper sounded so good,I closed my eyes during one song,and could not tell the difference(I still like Rob).Ripper is the man,glenn and k.k knew it too! Damm I think they had the heat on at roseland,it was so fucking hot!, I think Scott was sweating his ass off (you could see he was not happy with the temperture) But all in all a great show!
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 16:52:31 -0500
From: Anthony Burburan (email@example.com)
Subject: Priest is back