Firepower World Tour 2018, European leg 1 –
Megadeth – special guest
Royal Arena, Copenhagen
10/6 – 2018
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
In March, legendary heavy metal icons Judas Priest released their latest studio album FIREPOWER, which is a brilliant by the way, and are now out on tour supporting the album. Sadly, in February we got the tragic news that band leader Glenn Tipton had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Although he’s known about the condition since 2008, he’s now unable to play on tour anymore. He’s stepped back and filling in is producer/guitarist Andy Sneap. It was so sad to hear about Glenn’s condition but the guy is 70-years old and has done his miles on the road for a long time now; it’s better for him to focus on his health. The day before the show at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, the band closed this year’s version of Sweden Rock Festival where Tipton showed up to play three songs with the band. The big question for this night was if Tipton was going to come up on stage also in Copenhagen?
Along with them as special guest is Megadeth, a band that’s still touring on their 2016 album DYSTOPIA. The band is also promoting the re-release of their epic KILLING IS MY BUSINESS.. AND BUSINESS IS GOOD! Megadeth also hosted a meet and greet where the cheapest tickets was $125USD, and the more expensive ones were $225USD. The only thing that varied between the tickets was that with the more expensive one you were allowed to stand at the side of the stage during the first three songs. What I think of the meet and greet phenomenon is well documented so I’m not going there again… 🙂
The place for the show in Copenhagen was the Royal Arena located nearby Copenhagen Airport. The venue holds about 13,000 people for sports and about 16,000 for concerts. This Sunday, the doors opened at 6 and Megadeth was scheduled to be on stage at 8, with the entire evening planned to end at 11. The last time I saw Judas Priest was at Wacken Open Air on their previous tour and it was an amazing show.
Once we arrived, the Live Nation representative informed us that they had new rules: we were only allowed to take pictures during the first three seconds (?) of the three first songs. One of the photographers asked if she was serious and she was. To make sure we followed that, two of the security guards escorted us to the pit and stayed there watching us. Inside the arena I could see the stage and the backdrop. The fans that had bought the more expensive meet and greet passes stood beside the stage waiting for the show to start and finally the clock struck 8 and it was time for Mustaine & Co. to kick off the night.
The arena turned black as the members walked on stage and fans shouted from the top of their lungs when “Hangar 18” started off the night. As we were told, we had a few seconds to take photos and then we had to put down out cameras; it felt ridiculous. Ellefson and Loureiro moved around the most while Mustaine stood pretty much solid at his spot although he used all three mics on stage to sing. As the first song ended, “Take No Prisoners” followed instantly. The Megadeth line-up of today consists of:
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, guitar
David Ellefson – bass
Kiko Loureiro – guitar
Dirk Verbeuren – drums
Next up was “The Threat is Real” and after another minute of taking photos, we were told to leave the pit. We all walked up to the media room to leave our gear and as I got back to the venue downstairs I heard the band go through “Sweating Bullets”. The crowd really supported the band heavily during the tune. Mustaine invited the fans to sing along with him in the chorus and as I walked in I could see the venue had some really great lights going on. “She Wolf” followed, and as always Mustaine let the music do the talking; he hardly opened his mouth in between the songs. He thanked the fans and fired off “Dystopia” and when I took a look at the venue I saw that there were a lot of empty seats on the lower balcony as well as at the end of the hall. “Symphony of Destruction” followed and needless to say the crowd went crazy. Mustaine didn’t seem to be in great mood this night and he mostly stood quiet (when he didn’t sing) with his hair covering his eyes. “Tornado of Souls” followed instantly. To be honest this wasn’t an uplifting show at all. Sure, I knew that Mustaine isn’t known for his great temper and fun mood, and I have seen the band live many times before, and knew that he was probably going to act a bit sour on stage. But I had hoped for him to at least smile once giving the fans a little bit of his soul in his work, but no. Then again, the man has delivered some solid classic tunes to the world and you can’t take that away from him.
Mustaine, together with Loureiro had some great guitar work going on together and the rhythm section felt solid as ever ,mainly with Ellefson on bass. Ellefson took the mic thanking the crowd asking how they were doing this night. “Peace Sells” followed which is one of the band’s big hits and the crowd loved what they heard. Mustaine let the fans take over the chorus and at the end Vic, the mascot, came out on stage.
After the song Mustaine played some chords on his guitar, but wasn’t satisfied and grabbed another one. He asked the crowd to forgive him but his guitar didn’t sound right and therefore he had to change. “Now it sounds better, thanks for letting us come and play for you tonight”, he said. “And thanks to Judas Priest for being so kind, letting us perform for one hour. Copenhagen is a beautiful town, we have a few minutes left so let us play “Mechanix” for you.” A little different song to be played but a fun one for sure and the reason why the band plays it today was probably because they recently re-released album. Mustaine again took the mic saying it had been fun to be in Copenhagen, here is our final song in “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”. At the end of the song Mustaine introduced the band members and everyone got applause from the crowd. Mustaine thanked once again and the band left the stage after about 55 minutes of music.
The show pretty much delivered what I thought it would. I have seen the band many times before and the band managed to deliver a solid show despite Mustaine’s lack of humor. Personally I think Megadeth is a bit boring live and I prefer to listen to their albums; this show was no exception. A solid but boring performance, however both Loureiro who did a great job on guitar, and the always fun Ellefson were deserving of being mentioned.
Take No Prisoners
The Threat Is Real
Symphony Of Destruction
Tornado Of Souls
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
I had to go back to the media room to fetch my camera and get back into the venue. We were now told that we could photograph as usual, which means taking pics during the first three full songs. A lot more photographers had now shown up as the security led us down to the pit. A curtain blocked the stage but at 9.30 we could hear the notes of the Black Sabbath song “War Pigs” which meant it was only a few minutes left for the show to start.
The curtain dropped showing the band standing on stage firing off the title track of the new album, “Firepower”. Halford looked really cool with is dark sunglasses on, he kept himself standing close to the drums while Faulkner and Sneap stood closer to the edge of the stage. “Grinder” followed straight away and the stage was looking awesome with a huge video screen at the back, a huge drum kit in front of it with stairs leading up. On each side of the drums two giant tridents were placed. The stage was spacious and the backline looked fierce. Halford walked out on to the edge of the stage asking the fans if they were ready, the Priest is back he said and asked if the fans was ready for “Sinner”. Flames and fire and crosses were shown on the screen and it added atmosphere to the song. The line-up in the band today consists of:
Rob Halford – lead vocals
Ian Hill – bass
Scott Travis – drums
Richie Faulkner – guitar
Andy Sneap – guitar (session member)
Halford had now taken off his glasses and put on a black leather jacket and he was in brilliant shape this night. While we left the photo pit I heard “The Ripper” was played and when I got back “Lightning Strikes” was in motion. It was Halford, Sneap and Faulkner that moved around the most on stage while Hill stood solid in the background playing his bass. The video screen showed the album cover to SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE and it was time for “Bloodstone”. It felt a bit unusual not to see Tipton standing on stage and even though Sneap did his best I really missed Tipton. Halford said that the band “had a hard time choosing which songs to play, after all there have been a few tunes through the years, but recently we came up with the idea of playing something from STAINED CLASS that turns 40 this year, and we picked “Saints In Hell”. The screens showed an animated film handling the theme of the song and Faulkner had the audience clapping their hands. At the end both Sneap and Faulkner placed themselves at one of the smaller podiums on stage ending the song together. The screen instantly showed the cover of TURBO and the next song up was of course “Turbo Lover”. Halford invited the fans to sing the chorus with him and worth to mention during this song was the amazing lighting going on. Even though the song is quite boring the fans sang on the top of their lungs looking happy. In my opinion the band could have erased the song from the set.
The entire band walked off the stage while the PA system played an intro which turned into “Tyrant”. The band was extremely tight together and really worked as a unit. It was nice to see Sneap and Faulkner working so hard together creating the perfect guitar sound. Halford sounded like the metal god he is and his voice never sounded better than this evening. He marked every single note and impressed me big time. Even though Sneap did a great job he felt a little anonymous but that’s probably because he’s new to the band. Halford said this song was a bit old school and as he walked around on stage he fired off “Night Comes Down”. The tempo dropped and the stage filled up with smoke during the song and once again Halford showed his amazing vocal skills. “Freewheel Burning” followed instantly in which the fans sang along. Vocal-wise Halford had to put in some work in order to hit the high notes but he did nail them, impressive!
Sneap, Halford and Faulkner stood united at the edge of the stage having the fans scream at their command; it all turned into “You Got Another Thing Coming” which set the fans on fire. The screen showed pictures of the band as well as the crowd and the combination was cool. The fans all screamed and the band walked off the stage. The screen showed the cover of KILLING MACHINE and a roaring from a motorcycle was heard and out came Halford on his motorcycle which could only mean one thing, it was time for “Hell Bent For Leather”. The fans took the second part of the chorus and needless to say the venue was set on fire. PAINKILLER was shown on the screen as drummer Travis thanked for the support from the fans and to Megadeth, thanks for making us feel so welcome in your beautiful city of Copenhagen! As he kicked off “Painkiller” with a furious drum solo the roof was lifted and even though the song really put Halford’s voice to the test he did it and once again proved his doubters wrong. The screen showed pictures of Glenn Tipton showed and it felt pretty sad that he wasn’t there on stage with the rest of the band, on the other hand Halford is now 66, Hill is 67 and Travis 56 and I can understand why Tipton wanted to take some absence from the band when he is ill and not as young anymore.
The song is a personal favorite and I really loved the fact that Halford could take on the higher notes this time because he couldn’t a few tours back. With that the band thanked the crowd for 75 minutes of music and left the stage but were the fans satisfied with that? No! They wanted to hear more so they screamed and cheered for the gentlemen to return.
The band returned and “Rising from the Ruins” was the first encore out for the night. Halford had changed clothes into a some kind of golden coat and the motorcycle was still standing on stage. The song is new and taken from the new album and it worked really well live. Halford said that “Priest loves you all and there is someone else that loves you as much as we do”. Halford walked to the edge of the stage and accompanied Tipton on stage. The fans almost cried with happiness when they saw Tipton as he and the band did “Metal Gods” together. Tipton took care of the first lead guitar part and he looked really happy to be on stage. It was so fun to see Tipton in action, even though he’s marked by his disease he did a great job on stage and for a brief moment it was like seeing the band back in the 80’s. the BRITISH STEEL cover showed on the screen and Halford said “Breaking the what…? Breaking the fucking what?” The fans all shouted “LAW” back. “That’s right!”, Halford said. “Breaking the Law” also included Tipton on guitar. The epic “Living After Midnight” continued the show and the song didn’t disappoint the fans a bit. The screen showed a clock and Halford looked at Travis saying, “We have to go now, thank you all so much for making us feel welcome here in Copenhagen. We are Judas fucking Priest thank you and good night!” Tipton threw out guitar picks to the crowd and on the screen is said Judas Priest and The Priest Will Be Back. The outro to “We Are The Champions” by Queen escorted the legends out and the band then had played for another 25 minutes.
Judas Priest treated us with 100 minutes of perfection. The show was amazing and it was so nice to hear that Halford once again can take on the higher notes. The band felt solid as a unit where the only slightly weaker link would be Sneap, but his anonymity depended on the fact he’s new in the band. Give him a few rounds and he’s going to be a real rock to lean on for the other members. It was an extra bonus to see Tipton perform a few songs and I cherish that moment because who knows when I will see him live again. Overall everything with the show was perfect, the sound and light really held a high standard and the same goes for the set list, however it would have been fun to hear a little more new material from FIREPOWER since it’s a hell of an album but fun to hear a few unexpected songs and Judas Priest really showed why they have become such an iconic band, all hail the Priest!
The tour ends at the Bloodstock Festival in England and the 10th of August and then the band heads over to the US and Canada for round two over there.
War Pigs (Black Sabbath intro)
Firepower (intro 2)
Saints In Hell
Night Comes Down
You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
Hell Bent For Leather
Rising From Ruins
Breaking The Law feat Glenn Tipton
Metal Gods feat Glenn Tipton
Living After Midnight w Tipton
We Are the Champions (Queen outro)
Thanks to Heidi Degn at PR & Promotion Manager at Live Nation Denmark for help with press/photo-pass to the show.