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JUDAS PRIEST (LIVE) - British Steel Tour 2009
The Murat Theater - Indianapolis, USA

by: DAN 'SOFT BOY' SKIBA

Email: SoftBoy (at) MetalExpressRadio.com

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The Murat Theater - Indianapolis, USA

 

Many bands are referred to by other bands as “influential,” and usually these quoted bands point to a certain album that they view as setting the tone or providing the motivation for them also wanting to create a band in the first place.  One such band mentioned consistently as a primary influence in the Metal community is Judas Priest (JP), and their 1980 album British Steel is perhaps the most venerated and revered by both musicians and fans alike (check out MER’s British Steel classic album review if you’re unfamiliar with this Metal gem).  British Steel is considered by many to have marked the true definition of both the Heavy Metal movement and sound by incorporating razor-like cutting distortion within the guitar riffs and power chords, a thick, pounding rhythm section, and vocal aggressiveness and moxie that stretched way past conventional Rock ‘n’ Roll norms.  The album presented a fresh and certainly “new” sound back in April 1980, and 29+ years later, British Steel still sounds as relevant and contemporary as ever; 2 characteristics of a truly timeless, classic piece of musical art.

 

Now having truly “done it all,” JP have decided to revisit the past and to tour North America in tribute to this Metal masterpiece, entitling this go around The British Steel Tour to celebrate its ensuing 30-year anniversary (word has it too that certain shows will be video-recorded for an eventual commemorative DVD release).  Throughout this North American jaunt, JP will be touring with Whitesnake (another band you just may have heard of once or twice in the past) and newcomers Popevil.  On this early summer evening, though, JP was flying solo, playing at the cozy and historic 2700-capacity Murat Theater (built in 1909) in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana (USA) … more or less a “live rehearsal” gig to get the kinks out before the “real” tour started a few days later.

 

There’s something to be said about a “small venue” stop by a major band … in the end, JP could’ve played at the Indianapolis outdoor theater and packed in 15,000 on this night, but instead decided to treat their most dedicated and diehard fans in a small-venue environment … and “true” fans indeed they were.  Plenty of “uglies” could be found polluting the audience, weighted probably 95% male, and most old enough to own British Steel in CD, Vinyl, and Cassette Tape formats.  You could tell the fans were a “unique” breed when deafening sing-a-long participation erupted to the pre-concert P.A. music (no lie)!  Although coming through a bit muffled (as is painfully customary with P.A. warm-up music), Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” was certainly sung “… just like witches at black masses …” by essentially all in attendance at the top of their lungs.  Certainly a phenomenon that had to get JP revved up and ready to deliver when prepping backstage.

 

Speaking of the stage, the pre-show view was screened by a floor-to-ceiling drop cloth veil depicting what appeared to be a British Steel Manufacturing Plant, replete with rusted heavy equipment, bellowing smoke, a clouded sky certain to be at least partially accountable for global warming, and eerie, ominous red lights offering barely enough light for even Freddie Kruger to navigate his nightmarish escapades.  As the show was about to begin, a mechanical percussion sound resonated from the amplifiers, and a pretty cool green laser-created, muscle-taxed boilermaker was cast onto the veil, pounding away at some stationary (presumably) steel-based anvil in rhythmic fashion.

The screening was dropped in favor of pulsating lights to show the band members in place, instantaneously belting out the first eardrum-blowing power chords of “Rapid Fire.”  The band was dressed in leather garb “similar” to what was worn during their original British Steel Tour 29 years ago, and looked extraordinarily motivated, energetic, and excited to be playing the entire British Steel album as “Part 1” of their concert set.  It’s interesting, though, that the playing order of the album the band has chosen to follow doesn’t conform to the North American release version, which leads off with “Breaking The Law” and plays “Rapid Fire” as the 2nd track.  Nonetheless, on this night, there couldn’t have been a better opener.  As is often the case with 1st shows of any tour, there were a few sound snafus to work out (e.g., Tipton’s guitar wasn’t coming through with full force and the bass tones were too dominant), but to the Sound Crew's credit, all was smoothed over by the time the 2nd song on the docket was delivered, “Metal Gods.”  Funny, but in an exclusive interview with Glenn Tipton conducted after the show, he admitted that the band wasn’t even aware that the North American version differed from the version released to the rest of the world until after this set was completed!

 Glenn Tipton

JP then cranked through customary tour favorite “Breaking The Law” and chomped through “Grinder” before settling into the melodic feel-good anthem “United,” a song that seemed to be played slightly off-time at several junctures, but was still very well-received by the crowd.  “You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise,” a song that has been ignored by JP tour set lists for perhaps a good 28 years, was next up … arguably a bit out of place today compared to when its lyrics were first written by Rob Halford – at the age of 27.  One can’t help but to wonder if Halford and the rest of JP feels at all “wiser” (now that they’re ranging in their upper 50’s) than they did back in 1980.  Place your bets that they do.  Regardless, this song was no less enthusiastically received by this audience.

 

British Steel’s timeless hit “Living After Midnight” was next on the docket, and the band enjoyed more than exuberant audience participation during the chorus.  In the end, few songs written in “true” Metal style have ever had lyrics as catchy and instantly memorable as this landmark track … one of those songs that when performed live simply creates a rush of energy.

 K.K. Downing

Next up was “The Rage,” another song similar to “You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise” that had to be dusted off a bit before being performed as part of this set.  The result was the same, however, and the crowd loved every second of it.  Last but not least, the close out song from British Steel, “Steeler,” took center stage, and perhaps was the song that K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton noticeably had the most fun with, especially the last 1/3rd of the song where they toyed with their brief solo interludes and guitar effects amid a persistent and driving power chord pattern.

 

At the end of “Steeler,” the rabid audience gave JP a rousing ovation that nearly caused a ceiling plaster avalanche, prompting Halford to announce with a relieved expression, “Well, we made it!”  Then, after interacting with the crowd a bit, the band set the stage for “Part 2” of the show, which was a mix of other JP classics.

 Rob Halford

As those familiar with the British Steel album know, just about all of the songs were written in a very straight-forward, genius-ly simplistic fashion.  Well, the theme of “Part 2” of the set by and large followed down the same path (meaning too Scott Travis was basically left unchallenged), and started with an inspired version of “The Ripper,” followed by the song "Prophecy" from 2008’s Nostradamus, the only song performed in support of their outstanding concept album.  Rarely performed “Rock Hard, Ride Free” from Defenders Of The Faith was a surprise to many, but the vast majority of the audience showed their appreciation for this change-up by screaming out the chorus throughout the song along with the band.

 

Perennial concert favorite “Victim Of Changes”  was up next (sans the repetitive Tipton quasi solo-riff played in recent tours), and Halford, who was in outstanding voice the entire evening, showed he was both unafraid and very able to belt out the extremely challenging high notes required by this JP staple.

 

The band took a short break (it had to be short – if it hadn’t, the ravenous crowd was apt to riot!), and the stage silence was soon broken by the unadulterated revved-up power of Halford’s strikingly handsome Harley Davidson, which made way for the highly energetic “Freewheel Burning,” amid an outstanding array of stage lights and lasers.  The “electric” version of “Diamonds & Rust” was pounded out next by the band, and by this point, the front 3 seemed to be fully in tune and fostering a very intimate rapport with the ecstatic audience.

 

After an even shorter break, Halford nonchalantly re-entered the stage with an American Flag draped across his shoulders, grinning from ear-to-ear with appreciation for the energy this Indianapolis audience provided the band.  The rest of the band wasn’t far behind, and soon broke into the final song to be performed on this evening, the mega-hit “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” again to the certain satisfaction of the crowd.

 

All in all, this stop was a complete success … the band worked out the 1st Show kinks and fed off the energy from a crowd that showed immense hunger for JP’s menu of Metal in a fashion not to be taken for granted.  The band had a noticeable extra hop in their collective step, and Halford, with his command of the stage, seemed to have a rejuvenated level of energy … and seemed to genuinely be having fun during this performance.  Perhaps revisiting and playing from start to finish the pivotal British Steel album was just what the doctor ordered for all members of the band … a proverbial “Fountain Of Youth,” so to speak.  Perhaps too the strength behind the audience’s appreciation demonstrated towards the band caught them off guard a bit (in a very positive way), and provided a jolt of adrenaline that caused the band to take their performances to an even higher level.  Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is JP delivered the goods on this Monday evening … and, if anything, left the audience wanting much much more than just a 90-minute set.  Truth be told, with no opening act on the ticket, JP could’ve/should’ve expanded the set list a bit by say another 3 - 5 songs.  After all, a number of albums in their library were ignored in their setlist, including Stained Class, Hell Bent For Leather, Point Of Entry, Turbo, Ram It Down, and their comeback album Angel Of Retribution. The fans probably indeed did deserve “more” … but what they got was truly a once-in-a-lifetime treat … an outstanding tribute performance of the entire British Steel album – a true classic performed by a bunch of blokes who have without a doubt created a timeless, monumental Metal masterpiece … and seem to be unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “quit.”

 

Long Live The Priest!!!  Amen …    

    

SETLIST:

Rapid Fire

Metal Gods

Breaking The Law

Grinder

United

You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise

Livin’ After Midnight

The Rage

Steeler

The Ripper

Prophecy

Rock Hard Ride Free

Victim Of Changes

Freewheel Burning

Diamonds & Rust

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

 

For more information about the band, along with updated British Steel Tour 2009 information, go to JudasPriest.com.

 

To see the full photo gallery of the show, click here!

Photographs taken by Nicolaus M. Furiak ...

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User Comments


Posted by chuck on 25/10/2009 07:21:03

come on judas what's up you didn't come to Portland Or, or to the amphitheater in Ridgefiel Wa, which would have been 10 miles from me in Woodland Wa. well at least I saw the screaming for vengence tour in Pheonix Ariz In 1982 And I must say it was the best hard rock show I have ever seen, and Iv'e seen a few at 45. Keep rockin and hope to see you in the Northwest.


Posted by Jimmy on 24/10/2009 05:28:22

Love it!


Posted by Jimmy on 24/10/2009 05:28:13

Love it!


Posted by Jim on 14/10/2009 07:29:39

I am seeing them in Japan on a headliner show at Loud Park 2009. Thanks for the review!


Posted by alex rockatansky on 23/08/2009 09:51:35

i am seeing them tonite! from the reviews it sounds like its going to be a great show even though whitesnake cancelled.


Posted by Kathy on 18/08/2009 13:05:20

The 08/17/2009 show at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL was amazing! They were taping the show for their DVD, and they rocked it out all night long. The only regert I have, is that I can't see them again tonight! This is a must see guys, ROCK ON!


Posted by JOEL FAUCETT on 17/08/2009 14:17:04

CAUGHT THE PRIEST SHOW LIVE IN TAMPA,FL ON 8/16/09.THEY STILL ROCK LIKE THEY DID IN THE 80'S,UNBELIEVABLE!THE CROWD WAS A MIX OF YOUNG & US OLD HEADBANGERS STILL HANGIN ON TO THE DECADE OF DECADENCE,80'S FOREVER!!!


Posted by Bill 'G' on 13/08/2009 22:49:18

Vegas show on 8/8/09 was mind-bendingly-great. I saw Priest twice in '82 and so wondered what they would be like 27 years later. The answer is they are truly better than ever! They were so in-command and their sound was awesome. I would have gladly traded the bands before Priest for a larger dose of the BEAST! I looked up the balance of Priest tour for a 2nd dose but it's just too far to go rite now. Added dates would be interesting...no Priest here in SLC, UT since 2005. Like Rob says..."keep the faith"...Priest will be back?!!!


Posted by Lori on 13/08/2009 16:16:07

I have been a Priest fan since I was twelve (now 41) and have seen every Priest concert played here in Denver. Saw them play Redrocks on Aug 11th and I still have goosebumps and a smile. Judas, you kicked ass. One of the best concerts I have seen in years. Way to go guys, very proud of you! Thanks for the music and a damn good time!


Posted by Mark Horn on 11/08/2009 19:13:43

I saw the Indianapolis show and LOVED it. I headbanged the whole night and upon leaving a lady said that I looked like I really enjoyed the show. What an understatement!!! I do have to say I was disappointed that the set was soooooo short, especially since Priest was the only band, but I'll take it anyway, it sure was a great show. The guys were really great to meet and give autographs after the show, I'll treasure my Nostradamus CD forever!!! Thanks again Priest, you RULE !!!!


Posted by Mike on 10/08/2009 22:31:50

Killer show in Los Angeles on 8/2/09 at the Gibson at Universal. Hope they around for another 30 year to provide us with great "BRITISH METAL".


Posted by Jim Lamunyon on 08/08/2009 07:58:43

Saw Priest last night here in Phoenix and they were on fire. I was expecting a good show, but got a memory of a lifetime. The Halford and the boys have not lost a step and delivered a show that undoubtedly will go down in hisory as one of the greatest metal tours of all time even if it is the second time around...Crisp, relevant and note for note. What ever you do don't miss this live show...nothing lasts for ever...


Posted by Kent on 06/08/2009 17:28:01

I saw Priest in San Diego on Aug 4th . It was an absolutely amazing show-reminded me of the first time seeing them -Screaming for Vengeance 1982 Glens Falls Civic Center . I've been a fan since I was 12 and was inspired by Glen and KK to play the guitar which I still do today. These guys BRING IT live and put bands half their age to shame. The musicianship and Rob's vocals were fantastic. They truly are the Defenders of the Faith!


Posted by AS on 05/08/2009 00:54:59

San Diego-have not seen Rock N' Roll like that since the 80s. HELL YEAH


Posted by Bulletinman on 04/08/2009 19:36:55

The real deal see this show @ all cost. Saw them the 2nd night in St. Louis. They were excellent.


Posted by Grace on 28/07/2009 05:40:45

I saw Judas Priest in New Jersey on 7-11-09 with my son and daughter. At 52 years old I still love heavy metal and there is no one better than Judas Priest. They put on an awesome show.


Posted by Pierre Fournier on 26/07/2009 13:21:22

I flew from Québec city to get to Toronto for the 9/07/2009 concert. It was a great concert. They didn't play Rock hard ride free in Toronto if i remenber well they did The hell patrol instead. Finaly I bought in Canada a remastered version of Brithish steel (cd) and the first song is Rapide rapid. It think the song sequence is better than on the original record (vinyl)i bought in the 80'(breakin the law is the first song).


Posted by John on 24/07/2009 13:12:14

The PRIEST came to Nashville, TN on 7/22/2009. I don't know if they read these postings, but I just want to say THANK YOU for a killer show! My son took me for Fathers Day and it was awesome. They know how to put on a ROCK & ROLL show. Again,THANK YOU, and come back soon.


Posted by Scott/MER on 19/07/2009 23:02:19

Almost exact same setlist here in Chicago tonight other swap out "Rock Hard Ride Free" with "Hellrider". "Victim Of Changes" and "Steeler" were both awesome tonight!


Posted by rolando on 17/07/2009 11:36:19

my first concert was judas priest in 1980 in mcallen texas 2 hours from my city i was 17 years old since then i went to all tours i hope they are comming back to mexico we love judas long live judas priest long live heavy metal


Posted by Steve on 13/07/2009 07:29:50

Awesome show in New Jersey Saturday Night! First saw JP back in '81 and they still Rock.


Posted by KRISTIANE ABIGAIL PRIEST on 11/07/2009 09:46:06

SON LO MEJOR!!!!!LOS ADORO!!!!!!!!! AMO A MIS JUDAS FOR EVER


Posted by Rodrigo on 10/07/2009 14:06:16

Me encantaria que hicieran estos conciertos tambien en Argentina!!! Ya los vi 3 veces y los quieros seguir viendo siempre!!! MeTAl GoDs!!


Posted by Davey Jones on 09/07/2009 14:50:15

Man! I saw The Priest at Canandaigua, NY last night & they don't disappoint! I'd like to thank Mr. Ian Hill for the pick he handed me. It will be charished for many years to come! If anyone out there is thinking about going to a show, I'd say Hell yeah. Well worth the money! Keep the Faith boys! I know I will!


Posted by Davey Jones on 09/07/2009 14:50:13

Man! I saw The Priest at Canandaigua, NY last night & they don't disappoint! I'd like to thank Mr. Ian Hill for the pick he handed me. It will be charished for many years to come! If anyone out there is thinking about going to a show, I'd say Hell yeah. Well worth the money! Keep the Faith boys! I know I will!


Posted by George (MER) on 09/07/2009 07:58:41

Between this review and the JP special feature you seem to be on top of your game once again...good to see it going in this direction! Nice job!


Posted by Star on on 08/07/2009 16:05:52

Looking forward to the Special Feature tomorrow!


Posted by Steinmetal on 08/07/2009 15:12:23

I could only wish that Priest would come to Israel , we rarely have a real good Heavy Metal act. Great review man!! Way to go!!


Posted by Mick (MER) on 06/07/2009 16:28:19

Great review Dan. I hope Priest come back to the UK for a British Steel tour soon.

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