|On Thursday, I saw Judas Priest live for the fourth time in my life, and for the third time on the same venue (only in 2011 they played elsewhere) - Helsinki Icehall. I promised to write a review from the show when I had the time, so here goes nothing!|
The ticket, bought on 10th November 2014.
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After an agonising wait of two hours, one outside and one inside the icehall (where I managed to get almost right next to the fence on the right side of the stage), support band Five Finger Death Punch blasted on the stage at 20:00. While I'm not really fond of their musical style, they sure put up an energetic show that did it's job of warming up the crowd well during the 45 minutes they had been allocated. As I don't really know about the band much, I'll refrain from commentating from any further. You can look at photos from their gig here: http://www.inferno.fi/live/kuvagalleria-five-finger-death-punch-lakaisi-lavan-puhtaaksi-judas-priestia-varten/
Once their part of the show had ended, a huge Judas Priest curtain was dropped to cover the entire stage where the crew was frantically setting up things (due to the lightning it was possible to see a bit through the curtain). They were ready after about half an hour, after which the PA started playing War Pigs (which has been Priest's "entry tune" for a few years now). Unlike in 2012 when they almost played the entire song, it was now cut off after just a couple of minutes as the intro of Battle Cry took over. At 21:20 the curtain was dropped and Priest started blasting Dragonaut in our ears!
And man what a show it was! Rob is really at the top of his game right now, reaching the high registers easily and holding those notes for quite long as well. In fact at times the stage PA couldn't handle the power of his vocals and started crackling! While he wasn't exactly running wild he almost constantly kept himself in motion, allowing the crowd all around the stage to get a good look at him. This also applied to Glenn, although he refrained from getting any further than the center of the stage. There was a small platform set up on Glenn's side of the stage which was frequently used both by him and Rob to get a better look at the audience. In fact, besides Scott and Ian of course, Richie seemed surprisingly stationary in comparison, only getting to the center a couple of times.
The band seemed to have a really great time, and us in the crowd made sure to make them feel welcome. As seems to be customary in their concerts here, the chorus of Turbo Lover was sang so loudly by us that it drowned out Rob completely! For whatever reason we're always louder during that song than the actual crowd singalongs.
The stage setup was simpler than in 2012, with three platforms forming Scott's "throne" while the rest was left rather barren. The three platforms had displays on them, which were used to show footage fitting to each song's theme along with a huge display behing Scott (partial list of the themes shown during each song further down this review). There was no smoke or pyro this time either, so the other effects were done solely by lightning; for example at the start of Love Bites they moved small spotlights very similarly to what is seen in the original music video for the song.
I really liked the setlist - the songs from the new album formed a quarter of the entire set, but they blended in well with the usual classics. I also liked that they brought in songs from Defenders of the Faith that they haven't played since the mid-80s, although it's a bit unfortunate they've now dropped the title track from the setlist which was played earlier in the tour (it would've made for a fine last singalong).
Here's the stuff they showed on the displays during some of the songs:
Dragonaut - a dragon, of course
Metal Gods - CGI footage of a marching robot army, which was poorly looped
Halls of Valhalla - Viking imagery (helmets, swords, drawings of viking ships) and a hall in flames
Love Bites - footage from the 1920s Nosferatu film, with the chorus lyrics shown as silent film captions
March of the Damned - CGI zombies waving around
Jawbreaker - footage of a shadowy man which looked like a boxer, a viper and lots of destruction
Breaking the Law - news articles and old footage of crimes
Hell Bent for Leather - Harley-Davidsons and logos of various motorcycle clubs
Living After Midnight - a clock which was aptly showing a time after midnight
So all in all the show lasted 1h 40 mins and consisted of 17 songs in total, which in my opinion is quite perfect for a metal concert. As the show ended and Beginning of the End started playing on the PA, I began my own March of the Damned to the bus stop... I usually don't have a lot of physical exercise so every muscle in my body was sore, and in fact I'm still feeling a bit of pain three days after the concert! But it was definitely all worth it, best Priest show I've been to so far.
I took a few photos on my phone, but unfortunately most of the turned out garbage. The ones below are those that I deemed the best shots I got:
The Priest curtain
During Devil's Child, I think
Richie being ionized by the spotlights
The stage just after the show ended
Luckily enough, there's professional photographs available here: http://www.rumba.fi/live/ikaantyneet-metallijumalat-sorvin-aarella-katso-kuvagalleria-judas-priestin-jaahallikeikalta/
And the whole concert filmed in good quality by a fan here: https://youtu.be/VJOy6Tjqamo