at Lerkendal, Trondheim, Norway, June 7, 2008

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Co-written by Andreas Nergård
All photos by Kristian Singh-Nergård
Diesel Dahl photo was taken by Tomas Nergård

It was a sunny and warm afternoon in Trondheim, a town in the absolute middle of Norway. It was time for the second edition of Trondheim Rock Festival. Last year, Trondheim was rocked hard and heavy by Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society, and TNT and in 2008 the goals for this festival were set higher with more bands and two separate dates. On this first date, June 7th, five bands were going to Rock Trondheim; Norwegian Progressive Metalers Pagan’s Mind, Norwegian Hard Rockers Stage Dolls, UK Rock N’ Rollers Quireboys, Norwegian Black Metallers Immortal, and last, but not least, the Heavy Metal legends from UK; Judas Priest.

Pagan’s Mind

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård
Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

First on the stage this warm day in June were Progressive Metalers Pagan’s Mind. They’ve come a long way since the band started in 2000, but they were still the least experienced band to hit the stage at Trondheim Rock Festival 2008. Their set was dominated by songs from their latest release God’s Equation, but two songs from other albums made it to the set list as well. Though there were extremely few people at the venue as early as 3pm, vocalist Nils K. Rue did what he could to give the crowd their money’s worth.

Pagan’s Mind delivered great Prog/Power and even got the people in front of the stage singing along to their “classic” “Through Osiris Eyes.” Why they chose to make their cover of David Bowie’s “Hallo Spaceboy” a part of their latest release is a mystery to all, but why on earth they play this song live is a question even the Metal Gods find unanswerable. However, great songs like “God’s Equation,” “Enigmatic Mission,” and “Alien Kamikaze” made up for it. All in all, it was a great performance by an up-and-coming band.

Pagan’s Mind’s setlist:
God’s Equation / United Alliance / Atomic Firelight / Hallo Spaceboy / Enigmatic Mission / Through Osiris Eyes / Alien Kamikaze

Stage Dolls

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

The Melodic Rockers Stage Dolls were one of the leading Rock bands in Norway during the 80s and early 90s alongside Hard Rockers in TNT. Since their beginning in 1983, they’ve enjoyed a great career with lots of album releases, and three of them made it quite well internationally. They also had a single called “Love Cries” on the Billboard Single Charts in the USA, where it landed at #46. It also made #3 on the Billboard Rock Charts.

In spite of an impressive past, it was an emaciated band fans saw this day. With backing vocals on tape and an unimpressive performance, they placed themselves at the bottom of the pack this evening. Sure they delivered hit after hit, and some songs they haven’t played in years, but it seemed like they didn’t enjoy themselves onstage. Where Pagan’s Mind’s Nils K. Rue managed to engage the crowd, Stage Dolls’ Torstein Flakne seemed to rely on routine for the job. That didn’t go over so well because a frontman needs to show that he enjoys what he does even though he has done it a thousand times before. On top of it all, Terje Storli’s bass guitar kept falling out all the time.

In the middle of the set they played a new song from their upcoming album, which is a nowhere-going up-tempo ballad that sounds much the same as many other songs on their latest studio effort Get A Life. This concert was the low-point of the evening, but luckily there were still a few hours of great music waiting for an eager crowd.

Stage Dolls’ setlist:
Still In Love / Love Cries / Hard To Say Goodbye / Medley: 24/7, Stand By You, Money, Dig, Rock You / New Song / Sorry (Is All I Can Say) / Commandos / Love Don’t Bother Me / Wings Of Steel / Soldiers Gun


Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Looking back on the past career of British Rockers The Quireboys you’ll see both ups and downs. They didn’t reach much of a commercial success due to the arrival of Grunge that changed the music scene totally in the early 90s. However, through 1989 – 1991 they got far with their debut album; A Bit Of What You Fancy that made it to #2 on the UK Charts. The album also gave birth to four singles, all of them entering the UK Single Charts. During the following years, they toured extensively, playing with great bands such as The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, L.A. Guns, and Aerosmith. They were even asked personally by Axl Rose to be the support act for Guns N’ Roses on their Use Your Illusion European Tour in 1993. Later, they split, but came back together for good in 2001 and started recording and touring again.

The Quireboys played a great set this evening, including many of their greatest hits such as “Hey You” and “7 O’clock.” Vocalist “Spike” was in great shape this night and with his charismatic appearance he made sure that the crowd got rocked hard. The rest of the band were also on top of their game and presented some catchy music to the crowd, but for those that don’t know the band that well, the songs could easily sound a bit similar to each other, and this was the big difference between the great bands and the rest this evening. However, if looking past this fact, they played songs that were easy to sing along to and songs that (annoyingly) got stuck in your head the following couple of days. The Quireboys ended their set with the song “Sex Party,” featuring some great guitar duels.


Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård
Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

There was a wide presentation of musical genres this night, and before the main attraction, Judas Priest, entered the stage, the audience was about to experience one of the greatest Black Metal acts Norway has ever created: Immortal. The band saw their beginning in 1991, but in spite of their name they quit in 2003. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that they reunited, then with a new line-up. Now they are back for good and are currently working on a new studio album.

The guys in Immortal seemed to be bothered by the sun from the beginning of their set; therefore it was quite an ironic thing that they opened with the song “The Sun No Longer Arises.”

Bassist Apollyon was all over the stage, constantly headbanging and trying to look scary. As a result of his intense headbanging and the heat, most of the corpse-paint his face was covered with ended up in his hair. Yes, it was fun to watch, but he sure delivered an amazing stage appearance. Seeing a Black Metal band perform in broad daylight is not a usual thing. If you have seen a Black Metal band perform outside on a sunny day, add a comment at the bottom of this review and tell the world all about it. When and where was this? What band? Was it any good?

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Immortal sure did a fine job on stage and vocalist/guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta seemed to have a great day at work, and when he didn’t play he made jokes about the sun. Midway in the set they played two of the most known songs from the band’s career; “Sons Of The Northern Darkness” and “Tyrants.” These songs were highly welcomed by their followers and the rest of the audience as well. Maybe it was a little out of concept booking this band, but they were indeed the band with the best stage performance. Even if you weren’t into Black Metal you would have to admit it was awesome watching them play.

Judas Priest

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

What can be said about Judas Priest that hasn’t already been said? They’re a legendary band that along with Black Sabbath started the Heavy Metal genre in the 70s. Well, they’ve also just released a brand new album, called Nostradamus and have received great reviews and good chart positions in many countries. Therefore it was a natural selection to start with the intro from the album, “Dawn Of Creation,” and when the band entered the stage they went right into “Prophecy” from Nostradamus. Vocalist Rob Halford entered the stage via an elevator leading to a “tower” on the left side of the stage. He was wearing a shining silver cape and holding a scepter with the Judas Priest logo on it, and you knew at this point that this was going to be a memorable night! The stage on this tour has two towers on each side and a door at the center of the stage where Halford eventually stepped out of for the second song of the set; “Metal Gods.” On top of this door was drummer Scott Travis’ enormous drum kit. It was also through this door Halford entered on his Harley Davidson for the first encore, “Hell Bent For Leather.”

The band laid most weight on old material and the set was full of unexpected pearls that haven’t been played live in a while, such as “Eat Me Alive,” “Dissident Aggressor,” “Sinner,” “Rock Hard, Ride Free,” and “Between The Hammer And The Anvil.” Only two songs from the brand new album Nostradamus were played (or three if you count the intro “Dawn Of Creation”), and the first song that was officially published, the title track “Nostradamus,” was not even played. That was extremely disappointing as it is the very highlight from their new effort and why not play that one instead of “Death,” which is a slow, Doomy song that takes some time to like, when first playing new stuff? One feature from their reunion release Angel Of Retribution was played as well, but their choice of song from this album was far from satisfying. Every song on that record would have been more pleasing than “Angel.” If the attempt was to slow the show down a bit, why not play the legendary “Diamonds And Rust?”

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

One can’t really complain about Judas Priest or their set list this evening. The band was in shape. Scott Travis is a drummer with world-class talent, no doubt about that, and Ian Hill is steady as always. Adding heavy rhythms and incredible solo exchanges courtesy of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton on top makes Judas Priest a deadly Heavy Metal machine that is just as important for the Metal scene today as they were thirty years ago. But, what about Rob Halford? Many were skeptical to how Halford’s performance would be, as he didn’t do a great job on the Rising In The East (Live DVD) from the reunion tour in 2005. He literally screamed his balls off during the almost two-hour long show. Only during “Painkiller” did it seem that he had some problems, but that’s understandable. Halford is close to 60 now and it would be a miracle if someone his age could sing the song the way he did 18 years ago. Towards the end of the show he had the obligatory duel with the audience, making them repeat what he sang. Maybe a little disappointing that he did the exact same routine on this part as he always does, but, hey, it’s Rob Halford! Everything is allowed and he really proved himself to be the Metal God this evening.

Judas Priest setlist:
Intro: Dawn Of Creation / Prophecy / Metal Gods / Eat Me Alive / Between The Hammer And The Anvil / Devil’s Child / Breaking The Law / Hell Patrol / Death / Dissident Aggressor / Angel / The Hellion / Electric Eye / Rock Hard, Ride Free / Sinner / Painkiller
Encore: Hell Bent For Leather / The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) / You’ve Got Another Thing Coming


Photo by Tomas Nergård

Only 4000 people showed up for this big event, so they had to move the festival from Lerkendal Stadion to the parking lot outside the stadium. Why weren’t there more people? Perhaps because two weeks earlier Diesel Dahl (TNT’s drummer) and Svein Bjørge (chief of Steinkjerfestivalen) organized a concert in Trondheim with Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy under the strikingly similar name Trondheim Rock Fæst (which is Norwegian for Trondheim Rock Party). Why they chose such a similar name for their concert or why they set their date to two weeks earlier no one knows but them. What is certain is that Diesel Dahl didn’t pay to see Judas Priest. Instead he went home to fetch a stepladder so he could see everything from outside the gates.

Another possible reason why so few showed up is that the bands that played were bands of five completely different genres and many people are fans of one or maybe two of these bands, and the result is that for them the ticket will function as a 600 Norwegian Kroner (approximately 75€) concert ticket instead of a festival pass. That’s a little expensive. Having bands from different genres would have worked out great if there had been more days and more bands, but not on one day with five bands. For next year, they should concentrate on bands of one or two genres like last year with Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society, and TNT.

However, those who saw the bands at Trondheim Rock Festival had a blast, and Judas Priest haven’t showed such strength live in years! Now all are looking forward to July 22nd when Iron Maiden will play for 25,000 people at Lerkendal Stadion on the second date of Trondheim Rock Festival.


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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