JUDAS PRIEST: Live at House of Culture, Helsinki 2001

Spread the metal:

The 13th of November 2001

Review by the Finnish Metal-Rules team. Photos by Marko Syrjala

It is incredible how time flies and passes quickly because it’s been ten years since Judas Priest’s previous visit to Finland. Then the band performed in front of around 6000 people, along with a couple of rising thrash/speed metal acts, namely the Canadian Annihilator and the Texas fucking hostile cowboys from hell called Pantera. Unfortunately, there was now only approximately about 1000 people had entered to testify the current state of Judas Priest 2001. But it’s good to remember that the British metal gods have never enjoyed fanatical following in Finland like, for example, their national colleagues Iron Maiden. And that’s quite an unfair comparison after all cos mighty Maiden has visited here almost every second or third year whereas Judas Priest’s visits can be calculated with a few fingers. Another reason for quite a minor interest toward Priest is resulted by the absence of Rob Halford. But the new frontman, Tim “Ripper” Owens is an excellent vocalist fitting the empty shoes left by Halford perfectly. It is a real shame people don’t care and, above all, turn out to be inconceivably prejudiced about Ripper’s ability to interpret the classic Judas Priest songs. At least his talented skills as a vocalist got proved on the gig.

The beginning of the set was quite clammy, starting with mid-tempo “Metal Gods” and followed by “Heading Out The Highway” and newer “Touch of Evil.” But it seemed like the whole gig didn’t nearly get started at all. The guys stayed several meters away from the audience and looked a little bored and tired, especially Glen Tipton. Their tired attitude and relatively passive stage appearance ruined the first part of the set, lacking all the great dynamic passion of the double guitars’ intensive works of what the band and its gigs are known for. But somewhere in the second leg of the set, the metal gods started getting into the feeling bit by bit, and some pieces of evidence of their well-known energetic double guitar works could be caught a glimpse. Although the start was eccentric and more or less disappointing, the sound policy didn’t help improve and create the memorable feeling that much as the House Of Culture has always been criticized for the utter crap acoustic design; fortunately, the sounds had been turned to the maximum capacity.

Although the heavy metal forefathers’ biological clock is ticking over their fifties, they still put the leather pants on and get on the stage to unleash the unforgettable set of the most classic metal tunes ever written like “Breaking The Law,” “Electric Eye” and “Painkiller” throughout over two hours. Especially K.K. Downing didn’t feel shame when throwing the shirt into the corner and dared to show his trained body. Believe it or not, but he appeared to be in damn good shape, moving from one side of the stage to another side whereas the bassist Ian Hill, having turned older quite stylishly, by the way, stayed in normal position nearby the speakers as usual, but still banging his head through the whole show. Glenn Tipton, well, the old machine greased by the alcoholic refreshments started to set off and got warmer and warmed gradually toward the end of the gig.

Although Ripper is a fantastic vocalist, his way to comment and talk between the songs sounded, should we say, outdated. Especially when he was asking, “Is there any lawbreakers out there” or “What’s my name?” He’s been using the same phrases on every show after he joined the metal gods rank. Another hilarious thing about Ripper’s stage appearance could be pointed out by his eccentric and unavoidable need to change his clothing all the time. And in fact, he looked like Fred Durst with his stupid cap, and that was not a cool thing at all. As for the chewing of the gum on stage, it comes to mind, if he underestimated the Finnish audience?

The band’s newest album, “Demolition,” is criticized heavily, accused that there are too much-modernized elements added on the album. However, admittedly the “Machine Man” with the opening machine-sounding intro is a great live song, whereas both “Hell Is Home” and “One On One” fitted to the set along with the classic tunes quite bearably. But it was apparent that the older generation seemed not to recognize these newer ones, at least judging by their lame reactions. But when the older songs cut the air, the half-dead audience woke up from the coma, and several hundreds of hands pumped the air with the horny sign of the devil. “Living After Midnight” is a typical Priest tune to make the audience go crazy, as well as “United” and, of course, “Hell Bent For Leather.”

Although the gig started with “Metal Gods”, at the beginning the feeling was quite weak, but it still improved all the time. However, it was gratifying to see one heavy metal legend in action still kicking in the ass and keeping the spirit of the old metal in flames, real defenders of the faith.

SETLIST:

Metal Gods
Heading Out The Highway
A Touch of Evil
Bloodstained
Diamonds and Rust
Machine Man
Victim of Changes
Beyond The Realms of Death
One On One
The Ripper
Burn in Hell
The Green Manalishi
Hell is Home
Breaking The Law
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Painkiller

1’st Encore
The Hellion/Electric Eye
United
Living After Midnight

2’nd encore
Hell-bent For Leather