Friday, July 03, 2009

Rock Hard, Ride Free

It is not often that you get to see true legends of heavy meal play live. Its not often when the main players are on stage- not a replacement singer or guitarist but the original members- playing the music you remember from your youth. Even rarer when they dedicate the show to playing music off what some call one of the best heavy metal records ever made.

But there they were, Judas Priest, on the Harley Roadhouse playing to a huge crowd, cranking out songs from an album first released in 1980, British Steel. From the opening songs of Grinder and Metal Gods to the closer You've Got Another Thing Coming, Judas Priest had the crowd eating out of their hands. Anthems like Living After Midnight and Rock Hard, Ride Free pumped the crowd into a frenzy as the guitars crunched out the heavy notes that would leave ears ringing the next day.

I am not a die hard Priest fan. I am a fan but I couldn't name you all of the songs off the British Steel album. I knew a handful of the songs but was only acquainted with some others. But it didn't matter. The band was cranking on all cylinders, pumping out riffs that made your body move to the music. You didn't need to know the words. Either the pounding of the drums or the shredding of KK Downing's guitar kept your head banging to the music.

Rob Halford also did not disappoint me. Playing a venue that features a stage sponsored by Harley Davidson, I would have been let down if he hadn't ridden a bike out on stage as some point. But the roar of the bike went up from backstage and soon he was rolling out to the center as they slammed into Freewheel Burning.

The show wasn't perfect. The band went on stage 20 minutes left and played just under an hour and a half. Like most great show you wanted more. I was hoping to hear Painkiller or Hell Bent for Leather. But I still left feeling like I got exactly what I wanted. A night of great music played by the Metal Gods.

The local cover metal band Cherry Pie opened for Judas Priest. Though the lead singer either had mic problems or just sounded like crap, the band played a slightly heavier set than they normally do. They actually played some Metallica instead of teasing guitar riffs. Makes me wonder if they have a "safe" set list for the church festivals.

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