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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Judas Priest

Live at Ozzfest, 2004, Alpine Valley, WI

Review by Gary Hill

There was a day when Judas Priest were in my top two or three bands, and I had seen them more often than any other band. I originally saw them on the "British Steel" tour, and the last show with Rob Halford was the "Operation Rock and Roll" tour. That last tour to me showed a band that had done all they could and had lost the fire and drive to truly be a band. So, when Halford and Priest split, and they found a new vocalist in the person of Ripper Owens, I thought that maybe it was a well needed infusion of new blood. When I saw that lineup live, though, they felt more like a Priest cover band than the real deal, and I found myself hankering for the return of Halford to the fold. Well, now in 2004 that change has come to pass, and this made the Priest appearance the most anticipated show all year for me.
The band did not disappoint! They were certainly the most vital and powerful performance of the entire day at Ozzfest. As Glenn Tipton told me in my interview with him, they did nothing other than the classics (and that in itself, although I expected it was one of the few disappointments for me). It really felt, and looked, like they were enjoying playing them again. I haven't seen them look to be so into the performance in years, and it felt great. Halford's voice was spot on, catching the high notes as well as ever, for much of the show. The only other complaint, though, is that for some reason he chose to change the timing of his delivery on some of the tracks. On most occassions this worked, but, on "Hell Bent For Leather" in particular, it really took away from the track.
     
It was interesting to see all the young metal heads before the Priest set, essentially disregarding the band, and thinking that they had seen the best shows of the day already. Then, to see them while Priest was actually playing, pushing their fists in the air, high fiving each other and singing along really made my day. It was obvious looking around the crowd that the Priest had won over virtually everyone in attendance, even those who doubted them. It's good to know that they were able to please both the uninitiated and the old-school fans like myself. This bodes well for Judas Priest in the new millenium, and I certainly hope to be along with them every step of the way on this new glory ride.
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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