2-4-2002 in Atlanta, Georgia
I had arrived in Atlanta from Nashville around 3:30 or so. Made our way to where Deb was in the Downtown area. Chatted with her for awhile...she was soon to interview K.K. Downing. Interview accomplished, and after some time spent in a bar drinking on my part, Deb, Robert & I met again and went forthwith to the venue. We were late enough that I missed Anthrax. I was slightly disappointed, having seen them 2wice before I was wanting to see them again. Oh well.
Anyway, ON WITH THE SHOW...umm mean..REVIEW!...yeah the Review..
Was standing about 20 feet back, dead center. Prime standing place to get my ass kicked by the Almighty Priest! Lights go down, some smoke is happening, then....the intro sound for their first song "Metal Gods". I had seen set lists from this tour already, so they played stuff like Bloodstained, Painkiller, Hell Is Home, Victim Of Changes, and more. I had received a video of their Buenos Ares, Argentina show only 2 days before the show in Atlanta, so I got a small preview. In Atlanta, they did not play "Machine Man" but they played two songs I did not expect...that I would only have HOPED they would play....Desert Plains...and Beyond The Realms Of Death! WOAH!! GODDAM!!! HOLD THE PRESSES!! HOLY SHIT!
*ahem* we now move from the "set-list" portion of our programming to to the "performance category"
The band was tight. VERY tight. What should I expect? Except for a couple of "incidents". In the middle of Heading Out To The Highway Glenn's guitar strap became unfastened from his guitar. Guitar tech dude was on the money and ran out there to fix things. On with the show. THEN, during Glenn's solo spot in the midst of the etude "Victim Of Changes", a strange HOWL came out of the P.A.....sort of Mid-Range tone that was strong, steady and overpowering. Lasted for about 30 seconds, then the badass crew fixed the problem. Howl was shut the fuck up, Glenn got back to the task of coming out of his solo spot to begin the second-half of VOC and the Metal World was made perfect again. Glenn switched between 3 (I think) of his guitars during the set (then there was an acoustic for "Diamond's And Rust"). His solos were precise, he was the tried-and-true Glenn Tipton we all know and love....kicked our asses GOOD!
Ian Hill-BASS GOD MUTHERFUKKER!!!!!! (Am I blowing some smoke or what?) Hell, just telling it like it was!
Ian was in his usual place, kicking total ass. Played some great lines on some of the newer stuff, and basically ROCKED!!! Due to the fact that he is somewhat "back of the front lines", he is perhaps not noticed quite so much as the others but DEFINITELY FELT!!), but I made it a point to watch him during several different songs, and he just went OFF!!!
**HAT'S OFF TO THE METAL GOD OF THE "LOWER REGIONS"!!!!**
Scott Travis...man......I gotta tell ya. 3rd time I have seen him (Once on Painkiller, once w/FIGHT, now again with the Mighty PRIEST). 3rd time's a charm? I dunno, but (to repeat something I have said too much already), he KICKED MY MUTHAFUKKING ASS!!
I must take a moment to compliment the FOH sound God. Reason being, he made Scott Travis sound fucking great. The Crack of the snare was penetrating and persistent. Kick drum was loud and solid low-end thud, with the perfect amount of high-mid slap to give it definition. Toms were loud and slamming, again with great definition! Cymbals and hi-hats were clean and crisp without being too noticeable!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! FUCKING GREAT DRUM SOUND WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!
Rest of the mix was great. Noticed many instances of subterranean pitch-transposer on Tim's voice...at a tone much lower than his own...very low volume and in the background (relatively speaking)...a cool touch...reverbs and delays were clean and great in their effect. Man...reminded me of some of the great shows I heard Gungi Patterson do for Priest in the 80s.
**ahem** ok back to the review. Scott was fantastic. His meter was very precise. I did not catch any mistakes, though of course only the band and crew would notice any minor ones. He reminded me kinda like a God Of Thunder having a race with Satan whilst riding a herd of cannons! He had several solo spots...like Painkiller! where he was fucking explosive!!!! He was the dynamite to back up the fireworks provided by bandmates Tipton, Hill, Downing & Owens at the front of the stage!!! I had a great time watching him beat us up with his drums!!! He also keeps busy playing with Racer-X (both a studio and a live album released in the past 18 months).
Now for a brief interlude on the lights...The Metal Light God Review (what, ya wan' me to do a review of the ticket takers too?). The lights were exactly what was required. Great looking Par can layouts, cool lighting effects, great between song lighting...man this dude knew his fucking cues!!! (and perhaps some p's too, but we'll save that discussion for another time...). So Thumbs up to the God Of Light!
I have no idea how much of the production pa/light gear was local, and how much (if any) was taken out on tour with the band.
Now...another of my guitar teachers over the past 23 years, MISTER Ken Downing, affectionately known as K.K. Came out in a full length leather coat looking every inch a MUTHERFUCKING METAL GUITAR GOD (yeah so I feel that way about the band, alright? ). Had a black ESP Flying V guitar. Not sure what kind of bridge was on it, but the points of the wings had chrome-plated metal tips on them. It looked to me as if the frets were scalloped as well. Rosewood fingerboard...DROOOL!!! Anyway, it sounded great, and he played some amazing stuff. A fantastic turn in Victim Of Changes. Even threw in a lead bit on a song (I think it was in the midst of Breaking The What?) that was so cool!
Both guitarists had custom racks for their speaker cabs...playing through 4 Marshall cabs apiece. Did not see what Ian Hill's Rig or bass were. I did not see what kind of amps Glenn & Ken used, though they both had pedalboards, Ken a few times using a whammy-pedal for some cool shit!
Now...last but certainly not least. Tim Owens.
As much a fan of Rob Halford as I am, I still have to say that Tim is the best there is on the road right now. I gotta say that what I saw Tim do last night, was better than what I heard in St. Louis in August 2000 when Halford was opening for QR/Maiden. Now...back in the day, Halford woulda blown him away. But, times change, and gravity and other things take their toll on one's voice. I must say that these days I feel Tim Owens is the shit.
Don't believe me?????? Go see him and listen for yourself. Rob COULD rule the day back IN the day...but I feel that Tim is the Next Generation of Metal Vocal Mutherfukkers!!!
I always said I dug what he was doing vocally and I always looked forward to seeing him live. I have not been comfortable with the songs they have been writing on the last 2 albums, but the songs I heard them play last night from Jug and Demo translated well to live performance. I had watched some boot vids I have of recent shows, and the final test of a song's value (in my opinion) is how it comes across live. Sometimes stuff is better live than from the studio, or vice-versa. Their performance of Hell Is Home was fucking great!!! The vocals have a great melody that makes it a standout composition.
I am now slightly disgusted that I missed them on the Jugulator Tour. I have some friends who are hardcore critics of things musical, however I rest assured that what I saw last night would please the most critical of Metal Fans out there.
A pure slab of slamming, hot, molten-radioactive MUTHERFUKKING METAL! Massive in intensity, I stared in Crazed Amazement...floored by Tim's performance and getting off on the great shit I was hearing. I did not go berserkers yelling, screaming or jumping up and down....I wanted to remember every last bit of that show...so I mostly just stood their and drooled, and watched half the fuckers in the crowd play air-guitar!
Scott Travis came out, and hung out for awhile chatting with Deb, Robert and I as well as the other fans that had passes. After about 10 minutes of great fun talking with him, Glenn Tipton came out to us. Very cordial, friendly guy. Glenn signed some stuff and talked with us. I had read recently that he still had some unreleased tracks from his solo album, and I asked him about them. I asked him which lineup of musicians were on the unreleased tracks, and he said Cozy Powell on Drums, and John Entwistle on Bass. HOLY CHRIST!!!! I thought that was the most kickass linup on Baptism Of Fire!!!! WHO WOULD EVER THINK OF JOHN ENTWISTLE PLAYING METAL MUSIC WITH GLENN TIPTON!!! AND COZY POWELL?? Oh God...R.I.P. Cozy. He was one of my all time favorite Metal Drummers. In the general melee that followed, I asked him if these unreleased tracks were going to be released, and he said YES! WOOOHOOOOO! What fun!
After we had chatted a bit, Tim Owens came out. Boy was I glad to talk to him! First thing I said was "Man your voice could peel paint off of walls!". He asked me if I meant that in a good or bad way, and I said VERY...GOOD! He said his voice was slightly off that night...not at his peak (Hell, coulda fooled me..he was fucking great!). He signed some stuff for us....he told me they are supposed to go on a tour this summer with The Scorpions and Dio. I HEARD IT! I SWEAR! Though of course check official sources for any "Official" news, peeps. Ken did not come out, nor did Ian, but I finally got to meet 3 out of 5 current members of Priest! They were very kind and had fun talking with us.
Ok...sorta got the fan thing outta the way. But you all know how it is to meet someone who so profoundly influenced your life! Ken and Glenn's riffs have inspired and, in my formative years as a guitarist, taught me a LOT!
I had high expectations when I went to the show......ALL of my expectations were EXCEEDED by an immense amount. PRIEST RULES!