JUDAS PRIEST
MOTORHEAD


Universal Amphitheater, 03/98

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

...It's too bad that JUDAS PRIEST is such a great name for a rock'n'roll band. Otherwise, I'd suggest that PRIEST change their name to PHOENIX because this is one band that's come back from the dead. After Rob Halford left them seven years ago, we haven't heard much, if anything, from the remaining members of PRIEST. But they've been out there, writing songs, checking out the new music and hunting down a replacement vocalist for Halford. Finally, with Tim "Ripper" Owens at the mic and a new record in stores called "Jugulator," JUDAS PRIEST are back in spades...

...The sold-out crowd at the Amphitheater waited with bated breath. It was the PRIEST's first show in Los Angeles since the band had added Ripper to their lineup. The same question was on every fan's mind - you could almost see their thoughts in the air: "We know Ripper can belt out the new stuff, but can he handle the classic PRIEST?" About ten seconds into the first song, "Electric Eye," JUDAS PRIEST and, particularly, Ripper Owens had the audience eating out of their hand. It was obvious that not only can Owens handle the classic Halford material but that he gives it an edge that makes it his own. Plus, Ripper has a stage presence that is second to none. The guy obviously loves being on stage, is supremely confident of his vocal talents and rocks like a big dog. Though it might be unfair to say, "Rob who?", it is certainly fair to say that Ripper is a worthy successor to heavy metal's crown Prince vocalist...

...The band was perfection as well, combining their twin guitar sound with thundering drum and bass to deliver a performance the Universal crowd screamed for. The song selection was a little strange with the band having apparently chosen seldom-played classics over some of the more familiar ditties, but none of it mattered. PRIEST was back and they were delivering a hurricane of heavy metal (Ripper, unlike other hard rockers, proved unafraid of the term, screaming it out several times throughout the show: "PRIEST is back with heavy metal!")...

...My hunch is that "Jugulator" sales went through the roof the next day as the fans in attendance who hadn't picked it up before the show rushed out to buy it. If hard rock is indeed making a comeback here in the States - as it indeed seems to be - then JUDAS PRIEST will be at the forefront, guitars and Ripper screaming with vengeance...

This was all especially impressive because we think of MOTORHEAD as the greatest living band in rock'n'roll. And yet PRIEST managed to impress us even though they followed MOTORHEAD. That isn't to say that MOTORHEAD didn't give yet another explosive performance - they did! - but just to say that PRIEST was especially good...

...A good portion of the crowd wasn't yet seated when MOTORHEAD first take the stage. In fact, it seemed by the startled faces of some that they were surprised that the show was beginning and starting so blisteringly fast. But with LEMMY belting his gravelly heart out and MOTORHEAD steaming ahead like a speeding freight train, there was no question in anybody's mind that this was rock'n'roll. "We are Motorhead," Lemmy said, introducing the set, "And we know how it's done." The band then went on to prove it, ripping through a set that included classics such as "Ace of Spades" and "Metropolis" all the way through "Civil War," the first cut from their last album, "Overnight Sensation." By the time MOTORHEAD paused between the set and their encore, the audience was on their feet, clamoring for more. The evening's only disappointment: Lemmy et al didn't play a single tune from their latest collection, "Snake Bite Love," yet another classic MOTORHEAD album that proves, once again, they are indeed the greatest living hard rock band...


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Copyright 1998 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.