Daemo: Judas. Priest. Put those words together in the right order and you get two things: 1) possibly the greatest band of old men alive on the planet, and 2) a reason for two of the coolest dudes YOU’LL ever meet to trek away from hearth and home to the depths of fucken Newark, New Jersey.
Inquisitor: Newark is a magical place. I’m from Baltimore (lovely little town, maybe you’ve heard of it lately? Riots and over 300 murders this year already make The Wire look like Sesame Street) and even I was amazed at how shitty Jersey’s largest municipality really is. Thankfully, the Ramada by the airport and the Prudential Center concert arena were not completely riddled with bullet holes and able to accommodate our bromance for this one night trip.
And what a night! The metal gods themselves Judas Priest brought the pain on this, the second round of the Redeemer of Souls world tour. I saw them in October of 2014 and the show was solid…but this time around was fucken KILLER. Daemo and I have seen the Priest before, and this was sixth time overall for me, and this was one for the record books.
D: Agreed. Oddly enough, the last time I saw the Priest (not a priest) was also in New Jersey…but this time felt a lot more up close and personal. But let’s not talk about the tunes yet. Let’s ease our audience into this with a bit of backstory, like Halford eases into a jacuzzi while listening to “Hot Rockin’.”
So my attendance concert was 100% thanks to IG. He made the plans, bought the tickets, transported the Nibblers – real championship-level shit.
IG: It’s true…I schemed HARD on this one. A few quick clicks on the internet provided us with stable lodging, decent seats, and plenty of horse porn for…………..oh wait, wrong internet story. Anywho, I also procured some high quality cookies loaded with the devil’s lettuce. Our plans were set, our hearts true, our mission clear. I picked Daemo up from the Newark rail terminal and immediately felt that I was in the bar in Mos Eisley. I felt that this place could get a little rough.
We happily made our way the fuck out of there and checked in at the classy Airport Ramada which was surprisingly packed with people. The hotel bar, Ted’s, was already packed for Happy Hour and had a nice long lists of specials. Things were looking up.
D: Damn, I wish I was bellying up to the bar at Ted’s right now, sipping on another insanely strong gin and tonic as the last vestiges of my sanity drained away. But that’s later in the evening…we’ll get there.
One thing I must note about Newark – it is a mysterious place. You travel through what appears to be an industrial wasteland to get there. I was half-expecting some T-1000s to attack the train while either “Metal Gods” (if they were winning) or “Blood Red Skies” (if we were winning) played in the background. Once you get there, it is hard to tell if the neighborhood you are in at any given moment is the ‘hood, middle-class, or completely abandoned. That didn’t stop me and IG from cranking the Nile to ear-shattering volumes, and loudly discussing how the U.S. should use the powers of Ra to defeat ISIS, or some such shit.
IG: Sitting in traffic while cruising through the ‘hood of Newark = shitty.
Blasting Nile while hordes of Latino church-goers stare at you = less shitty.
When we finally got to the airport Ramada I think we were both shocked at how crowded it was…I mean like half-off at the buffet in Roseanneland packed. Upon entering we noticed the hotel bar, previously mentioned as “Ted’s” had happy hour (bonus), the parking was free (double bonus), and the hotel was hosting a large event named something like “The North Jersey African American Women’s Empowerment Society Ball”. (major triple bonus). Being two dopey, doughy white dudes with heads full of drugs and wearing metal shirts meant we would fit right it. We hit the room, hooked up the ipod, broke out the booze and weed cookies, and got down to business.
D: We rocka’d. We rolla’d. IG played some rockin’ tunes I had yet to hear, I played a bunch of shit he probably never wanted to hear in the first place. We kicked it pretty hard in that room, to the point where I really don’t recall the cab ride to the event nor getting up to our seats.
IG: We stumbled into the Prudential Center just as Mastodon was going on. Our buzzes were kicking at a high level, and we were ready for action. I enjoyed Mastodon more than Daemo, but (as I usually say about a Mastodon show) they played WAY too much stuff from “Once More Around the Penis” and ignored a huge chunk of their better back catalog. However, the did trot out “Mother puncher” which was a very welcome surprise, and I rocked my ass off to “Blood and thunder”, which closed out the set. Brett also did a mini-version of “Eruption” before launching into “Aqua dementia”, which was pretty fucking cool. Mastodong’s vocals are starting to suck, though…but the guitar playing and drumming still keep me interested.
D: Yeah, I never really dug Mastodon past “Remission.” But there is no doubt those dudes know how to ROCK. Hair flying in the wind, guitar solos exploding out of nowhere, then the dude(s?) opens his mouth and pure, strained, low-quality vocal shittery occurs. Still, there was a good light show going on while they played. Which, in my intoxifried state, elevated their performance multiple levels.
IG: Daaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnn son, that is way more positive than I was expecting. Nice job Mastodon.
Now, let’s get to the real eggs in this cob salad…Judas “Epitaph wasn’t the end” Priest. They killed it, plain and simple. First off was the expected “Dragonaut” from “Redeemer of Souls”. I good track from a good record, but not as rousing an opener something from the old days would have been.
I would have busted a nut in my pants if they had opened with “Exciter”.
Still, the crowd was into it from the get go.”Metal gods” scratched that classic itch next, followed by a personal favorite of mine, “Desert plains”. I was in full-on karaoke mode, horrifically butchering the chorus to that “Point of Entry” gem with reckless abandon.
D: They had some great, repetitive animation going on the background, with shit like dragons and motorcycles and shit. Halford marching around like a geriatric robot with some “metal gods” projected on the bigscreen behind him is something everyone should see before they die.
And it was not just IG up there drunkenly butchering Priest choruses – I too wailed poorly, side by side with my lifepartner. The Brotherhood of Metal was strong that night. Strong indeed.
IG: Obviously, teh Priest had to throw in some tracks from the new record…and “Halls of Valhalla” definitely rocked. However, it was the classics that got the Jersey dicks up and hard. My personal favorite moment was the solo from “Beyond the realms of death”. Glen Tipton is starting to show his age, and RIchie Faulkner is great and covering up some of his slight mistakes, but grandpa metal TORE THE FUCKING PLACE DOWN on “Beyond…”. One of the best things about Priest live is that their shit sounds significantly heavier, especially the old stuff. This was especially true on “The Rage”. The main riff for that song is already juicy, meaty, and tasty…and live it only gets BETTER.
D: Hearing “The Rage” live was truly wonderful. That Police/ska-like intro right into the big riff, and Halford nailing that gritty vocal tone. And IG is right – the Priest really added a layer of gravel to the classics, making them sound much more burly and fresh in person. It felt like JP was on stage with something to prove. Barn-burning solos echoed about the Prudential Center, and Halford let loose his ear-shattering banshee wail consistently at just the right pitch to shatter the skulls of nonbelievers.
IG: Priest brought the show home with an impressive barrage of certified classics…including the very rarely played “Screaming for vengeance”…another tune that benefited from the band’s heavier live sound. “Breaking the law” and “Hellbent for leather” closed out the regular set, but even the drunkest Jersey hobgoblin knew the band wasn’t done.
When “The hellion” began blasting over the PA system, my dick almost came screaming right out of my jeans. I LOVE that intro. My only compliant is that the band doesn’t actually play it. Still, we knew what was coming and “Electric eye” did not disappoint. The obligatory “You’ve got another thing coming” was next, and even though I’ve heard it a gazillion times I still giggled at the “live only” breakdown/crowd participation part the band does to close out the song. I was screaming, Daemo was feeling the maximum velocity of mach five cookie awesomeness, and things kept getting better. Plus, we still had one more set of encores to go.
D: The fact that IG remembers what order these songs were in, let alone which ones were played, is a testament to the man’s grasp on sanity in the face of wave after wave of consciousness-destroying substances. Or maybe he is looking at a setlist somewhere. Anyway, individual songs aside, at this point in the show I had reached a higher plane of Priest-inspired being. it was like riding a chromed out chopper in the sky, which also happens to be at the bottom of Loch Ness.
IG: I remember the set FAIRLY well, but have glanced at ze setlist a few times just to get my story straight. The second, and final, encore was quite the crowd pleaser with “Painkiller” kicking things off. It is incredible that Halford can still sing that song, and Scott Travis’ drumming is critical overlooked too…he still nails the intro to “Penisfiller” every time. A sporting version of “Living after midnight” closed out the show and received the expected amount of crowd participation. Fuck, what a great concert.
Nooooooooooooooooooow, time for the complaints. Not a single damn thing from “Angel of Retribution”! No “Judas Rising”, “Revolution”, or “Demonizer” was a bummer…I can not really point out any classic-era jams left out (although, I would have greatly enjoyed “Heading out to the highway”) because no Priest set could contain them all. I’m sure Daemo will mention something about “Ram it down”, so let’s here his final thoughts….final thoughts…
D: Had they fucken done the “Defenders of the Faith” chant and then rolled right into “Heavy Metal”, I would have exploded. I would not be writing this review, because I would be dead. So it’s probably for the best that this did not occur.
Final thoughts: Judas Priest…foreva.
IG: Yeah, some “Rock hard, ride free” would have been nice too. I too often forget about “Defenders..”, it is an overlooked album for sure.
Judas Priest did in fact rule this time. Maybe it is their devotion to metal, or maybe it was the presence of my best bud and a ton of mind-altering delights. Either way, it was an amazing time.
After the show was over, we went back to the hotel and moseyed up to Ted’s for some libations and food. I was so goddamn hammered, the mozz sticks and bourbon went down like gold. I kind of remember going back to the room and jamming more tunes, but anything after that is fuzzy at best.
D: Yeah man, I don’t recall a whole lot of that part either. I do recall the ambiance at Ted’s being absolutely delectable, and the bartender dishing me out one of the most punishing gin and tonics I’ve consumed in many a moon. I’m willing to bet that we listened to some more Nile and then called it a night. I’m sure the GD audience doesn’t want to hear about any of the “fuzzier” details.
IG: Well, I guess that wraps it up. Judas Priest still rules, Global Domination is still dead, and our tag-team review still continue to reek of journalistic EXCELLENCE.
D: Truth. Reality. Honor. Valour. Pride. Ted’s.