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Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Pop Evil - The Metal Gods Never Left

Molson Ampitheatre – Toronto, CANADA – July 9, 20009

by Kim Lapalme, photo by Calvin Oberton

Judas Priest, Photo By Calvin ObertonWhat do you get when you mix metal with steel? Judas Priest and Whitesnake.

That is exactly what Toronto got at the almost sold out show at the Molson Ampitheatre on July 9 th, 2009.

The crowd was revved and ready to go. The "die hards" knew what was coming and the newbies were eager to be indoctrinated into the heavy metal mayhem. After all, they were all there to see the Metal Gods! Akin to their song Metal Gods, there is no denying Judas Priest is one of the largest influences of heavy metal music in the universe. And, just the same, we cannot ignore Whitesnake's long-standing influence on commercial hard rock either.

I am talking about the stuff that legends are made of, and these days it's a bonus to be able to see living legends of an iconic status sharing the same venue. I heard whisperings that a meld of both bands would be like oil and water. They said 2 camps would not mix. Well, contrary to some opinions, it worked in the same vein as fire and gasoline. It sparked, flamed, ignited and exploded. What began with a tremor turned into a full out earthquake!

Michigan rockers Pop Evil opened the show. Never an easy feat given it's usually still daylight and the early arrivals are more interested in hitting the beer stand than watching a new, fairly unknown warm up act. I feel they deserve a mention and kudos to them. They are up and coming, have a good energy and a kick ass tour to boast about on their resume. Keep your ears peeled for them in the future.

The sun was setting and dusk was upon us. In the magical kingdom of Whitesnake, Mr. Coverdale, akin to King Arthur stood as lord and master of his stage. Surrounding him was a band of very talented musicians.

Onslaught commences! Tight pants, open shirts, long hair and stance, Whitesnake were cocked, loaded and firing off rounds of radio hits, power ballads and nostalgic blasts from the past to the receptive and enthusiastic crowd. And, what would an 80's genre band be without an encompassing duelling guitar solo between Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach? It might have been better to have shortened the solo and given us another song or two but that may have taken the nostalgia out of a time when live concerts were not complete without the quintessential guitar and drum solo. It's definitely a guy thing, but us girls got our own rush watching the uber talented bassist Uriah Duffy's long black hair blowing in the wind machine, standing akimbo, wearing his leather pants like a second skin. He let his fingers do the talkin' with some very compelling musicianship that complimented the rest of the band perfectly. Indeed, David Coverdale and his band were a delicious appetizer for Judas Priest, proving it's 'Still Good to Be Bad'!!!

As darkness set upon the city Judas Priest struck ready to do battle with the crowd who was salivating in anticipation of the 30th year anniversary celebration of British Steel. Rob Halford and the boys upped the anti and surpassed themselves since the last time I saw them live, delivering an almost perfect show that began with an immediate pummelling.

Halford taunted the audience citing we were "Heavy Metal Maniacs" and we rewarded him with a loud uproar of appreciation. Assaulting us with Rapid Fire, Metal Gods, Breaking the Law, Grinder (I need to come up for air coz like the rest of the crowd we are revved to the max already) Judas Priest was just getting warmed up and proving that you can't fuck with perfection, and if you tried you would not get out alive.

Halford, looking physically heavier, sporting a shaved head, leather jacket and sinister shades wailed with the finesse of a mercenary sniper and was confident that his aim would result in a precise execution. The Priest was out for the kill and no one would be left sitting, because we were all standing, dancing, slamming, singing, watching and letting them propel us further and further into a paroxysm.

Tipton and Downing were extraordinary in their ability to make it look so easy when in fact they are one of the best guitar duos in trading off breaks of complexity and finesse. And it continued...Living After Midnight, The Rage, Stealer, Prophecy. The adrenaline that Judas Priest was shooting into us could never be found on the black market. This stuff was 110% pure unadulterated Priest!

How could it be that these guys formed in the 70's and have been a household word in metal since the 80's and they are still at the top of their game in 2009? This is one show I am glad I saw, and will go down in my own personal hall of fame. Iconic. If anyone thinks otherwise "You've Got Another Thing Coming."


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