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Judas Priest / Queensryche / Rival Sons http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/cd/14/46/1489_judaspriestlivesplash_1312670972.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 06, 2011    
 
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Judas Priest / Queensryche / Rival Sons - Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth (UK) - 24th of July 2011.

Not quite a sell-out but eagerly anticipated none-the-less, Judas Priest’s final UK date hot on the heels of yesterday’s massive High Voltage Festival was one of the last opportunities for UK fans to see this iconic Heavy Metal band.

Opening band Rival Sons, (formed in 2008 in L.A.) with their Indie look and Zeppelinesque leanings, seemed at odds with the two main acts tonight, but performed with suitable charm and persuasion allied to a confident approach that illicited warm applause from a largely ageing audience. With the current musical climate and limited opportunities for bands of their ilk, they will do well to last the course, but have as good a chance as anyone else as their potential is there for all to see.

A large portion of the above mentioned ageing audience were here to see Queensryche as evidenced by the roar that greeted their arrival onstage. Supplemented by Mike Stone, it’s hard to believe the 4-piece are touring to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Where have all the years gone? Opening up with lead off-track ‘Get Started’ from their new album ‘Dedicated To Chaos’, it was both brave and bold considering that the majority of the audience would’ve been unfamiliar with the modern approach, but the familiar ‘Mindcrime’ and ‘Empire’ songs (two from each album, including ‘Jet City Woman’) kept the fans enraptured during their 40-minutes set.

Queensryche-Live-Bournemouth

Particular highlight for me was ‘NM156’ from `84’s ‘The Warning’, which reminded me just why I got into this band in the first place 28 years ago, and ‘Screaming In Digital’ from ‘Rage For Order’ was a particular treat too. Closing the set with an extended ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ really got the hairs on the back of my neck stretching as the sound for once in the B.I.C. was spot on as the opening chords erupted from the speakers. Geoff Tate was engaging as ever and had every Queensryche fan attentive to his every word. The phrasing of his vocals was masterful, Michael Wilton’s guitar tone just beautiful and Ed Jackson’s bass and Scott Rockenfield’s drums just so powerful. Trust me, they’re not about to retire any time soon!

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Which can’t be said of headline act Judas Priest. With a combined age pushing well over the 200 mark even without the departed KK Downing in the ranks, this ‘Epitaph’ tour represents their final world tour, although Priest are at pains to point out that it’s not the end of their live career. A set list featuring at least one song from every album in their career kept them on stage for over two hours and it was noticeable towards the end that Rob Halford will struggle if this punishing schedule is maintained. A particular bane of mine is when a singer gets the audience to sing the song for them, and Rob allowed the audience to sing, in fact, the whole of ‘Breaking The Law’. Now, if I had to sing that song at every gig for the last 30 years, I’d be pretty bored of it too, but don’t use it as an excuse to rest your voice. At best it’s lazy, at worst it’s short-changing the fans. It detracted from the overall show. Not singing the high note chorus in ‘Turbo Lover’ and getting the audience to sing instead, as he also did for ‘Electric Eye’ (two of Priest’s best songs), was also a major disappointment for me. Gripes aside, there was plenty of pyro and good use of lights, lasers and backdrop to enjoy plus Rob’s costume changes, in particular ‘Nostradamus’.

Judas-Priest-Live-Bournemouth

A set list comprising a lot of familiar favourites, ‘Victim Of Changes’, ‘Diamonds And Rust’, ‘Night Crawler’, ‘The Green Manalishi’, etc., plus some surprising gems, ‘Starbreaker’ from ‘Sin After Sin’ and ‘Never Satisfied’ from ‘Rocka Rolla’ kept the Priest faithful extremely happy. The audience reaction on the whole matched that of Queensryche and I have to say that the performance level didn’t drop, Rob’s vocal resting aside. New boy Richie Faulkner slotted in to KK’s shoes seamlessly and was no doubt a favourite with the female audience as he constantly threw shapes at the front of the stage without once threatening to upstage Rob. As value for money, the three-band bill can’t be faulted, so it would be wise to go and see this tour wherever and whenever you can. 

Carl Buxton

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