At John Dee, Oslo, Norway, September 9, 2010

Tim “Ripper” Owens (Beyond Fear, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Charred Walls Of The Damned, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Judas Priest) started his European tour at the venue John Dee in Oslo, Norway. Only about 50 people turned up for the event … maybe due to the fact that Misfits played at Rockefeller (the bigger venue right next door) at the exact same time, or maybe due to other reasons that will be discussed later in this review.


The Norwegian Heavy Metal band Thunderbolt is support for Owens throughout the European tour, and they opened the ball this evening as well. In spite of the very small crowd, lead singer Tony Johannessen managed to get most of them to the front of the stage after the first couple of songs. The band played with high intensity and they eventually seemed to enjoy themselves onstage despite the low turn out. Musically they are located somewhere in-between Iron Maiden and Manowar, and though their music is not especially original, they do what they do with such confidence and ease that the crowd gets carried away. The only new song in their set, “Special,” sounded great and speaks well for their upcoming album Dung Idols.

Thunderbolt setlist:
Call Out The Lions / Bad Boys / Fight / Special / Lidless Eye / Crucified / Metal Tide

Tim “Ripper” Owens

Tim “Ripper” Owens didn’t wait long before entering the stage after Thunderbolt. The crowd was first treated to three Judas Priest songs in a row, sung with supreme power from the main man himself, before they played “Scream Machine,” one of the two Beyond Fear songs in the set. The small crowd seemed happy with the set, and sang along to most of the songs. Owens seemed to be in a good mood, joking throughout the set and handing out guitar picks with his name on them.

The set also included “Gates Of Babylon” (Rainbow cover) and “Children Of The Sea” (Black Sabbath cover) in tribute of the late Ronnie James Dio, as well as Iron Maiden covers (“Transylvania” being the first instrumental to ever be played in a Tim “Ripper” Owens solo set), and a couple of songs from his 2009 solo release Play My Game. The set list consisted for the most part of cover songs, and you kind of got the impression that you were at a HAIL! concert (Owens tribute band to Metal featuring musicians such as Andreas Kisser, Paul Bostaph, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy, Jimmy DeGrasso and Roy Mayorga).

The general impression was that the tour hasn’t been prepared well enough. Sure, the backing band consists of highly skilled musicians who played flawlessly, but they seemed to lack the feeling of togetherness that a band usually displays onstage. This might come from the small amount of rehearsals they’ve had (there were even songs in the set that they hadn’t rehearsed), but it might also be due to the fact that half of his backing band seemed to be there only because it’s another job they get paid for. Only the drummer and the lead guitarist seemed to really be playing with their hearts. Also, Owens had the lyrics to each song in a folder in front of one of his monitors. And yes, it was possible to see that he looked at the lyrics frequently, the sunglasses didn’t fool anyone. Top that with him not being sure whether “Save Me” is a Beyond Fear song or not, and it becomes clear that he wasn’t prepared for a month on tour.

In spite of these “problems,” Owens’ good mood and great singing kept the crowd happy throughout, and overall it was a good concert. The problem wasn’t that he has recorded with the best of the best and has a pretty extensive discography; it’s that he’s always been the hired hand. All in all Owens doesn’t have the foundation that most artists with the same amount of time and releases in the music industry have, and that is why he ends up playing other people’s material live. This is also probably one of the reasons why people didn’t show up for the gig; you never know what kind of set to expect from him. He has only recorded one CD with his own band, Beyond Fear, and one solo CD, and these were represented with only four songs all together. Only two songs from his era in Judas Priest were performed, while seven songs from the Halford era were played. Add another four cover songs from various bands that the “Ripper” had no involvement in whatsoever, and there you have the set list of a tribute band. Out of seventeen songs (if you count “Hellion/Electric Eye” as one), Owens has been involved in the making and recording of six of them. And that was the worst thing about the concert.  When you left, you weren’t really sure if you’d seen an original Metal star, or just a tribute band.

If his primary goal was to play less of his own stuff, he could just as easily have played stuff from his time in both Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen, or even the “supergroup” Charred Walls Of The Damned, who released their first album in February this year. Judging from the set list there’s no evidence that Tim “Ripper” Owens recorded a solo CD last year; a CD that (for the record) was an extremely solid release.

Owens needs to decide whether he can continue to tour with this kind of set, or if he wants to play more of his own material. With a set dominated by Judas Priest-songs he will end up being the new Paul Di’Anno (ex-Iron Maiden — quite fitting as he already uses Di’Anno’s backing band for this tour!).

Tim “Ripper” Owens setlist:
Painkiller (Judas Priest cover) / The Ripper (Judas Priest cover) / Burn In Hell (Judas Priest cover) / Scream Machine (Beyond Fear cover) / Gates Of Babylon (Rainbow cover) / Running Wild (Judas Priest cover) / Transylvania (Instrumental Iron Maiden cover) / Children Of The Sea (Black Sabbath cover) / Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover) / Save Me (Beyond Fear cover) / It Is Me / One On One (Judas Priest cover) / Desert Plains (Judas Priest cover) / Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover)
Encore: Hellion / Electric Eye (Judas Priest cover) / Starting Over / Hell Bent For Leather (Judas Priest cover)


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.