Judas Priest & White Snake July 22, 2009, Nashville, TN Municipal Aud.
Written By James Downing
Heavy metal landed with a one, two punch when the Judas Priest / Whitesnake tour hit the Municipal Aud. on July 22. It was a hot summer night but it was about to get a lot hotter. Both bands were celebrating anniversaries of two of their best selling lps, Whitesnake’s “Slide It In” and Priest’s “British Steel”. Metal heads of all ages welcomed them with open arms.
Before I get to the review, I must say it was really great to be in the Municipal again. I guess it had been 15 years since I attended a show there and I was happy to see that it looked like the place was getting a face lift. New paint job on the walls and what I thought was a really nice touch. They have huge reproductions of tickets from many of the artists that have played there. I spent a lot of time before the show started just walking around the hall looking at these memories. Elvis, The Jacksons, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, and many other artists and bands have played there. You can say what you want about this venue but there have been some real legends play the stage of this building. I know, I was there for most of them.
There was a huge Whitesnake banner hanging from the rear of the stage. When the lights dimmed and the band hit the stage, the crowd rose to their feet screaming and yelling. There was never a time in the set when they sit down. The first song they broke into was “Bad Boys” from the 1987 self titled Whitesnake lp. During this song and the next one, “Fool For Your Love”, from the album, “Slip Of The Tongue”, the sound was really messed up. I was hoping that this would clear up soon and it did. David Coverdale said that he was sorry for the technical difficulties and that is was great to be in Nashville. The problems were gone as the they started the next song, “Love Ain’t No Stranger”. Next the boys broke into the opening riffs of “Lay Down Your Love” from the band’s latest album, “Good To Be Bad”. “Slow And Easy” came next and the audience gave the band their seal of approval by singing along with the chorus. This song featured a “dueling guitar solo” between Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich. One guitar player under blue lights and the other under red lights played off each others riffs for what was a very different and very enjoyable solo. Drummer Scott Travis got to show off his talents during “Crying In The Rain” with a very nice drum solo. The boys stayed with the Whitesnake lp for the power ballad “Is This Love”. “Give Me All You Love” was another crowd pleaser. The last two songs were MTV Staples back in the 80′s, “Here I Go Again” and “Still Of The Night”. Coverdale really got to showcase his voice on this one. Before the end of the song it was back to another audience sing-a-long. 25 years after the release of the lp “Slide It In”, White Snake proved to thousands of Nashville head bangers that they could still play with the best of them.
30 years ago Judas Priest released an instant heavy metal classic, British Steel. The promos for this tour said that the band would be playing this album from start to finish in its entirety. They didn’t waste a second the minute they hit the stage. With fists in the air the audience welcomed their metal heros as they opened the set with “Rapid Fire”. I had seen Priest one time before and the main thing I remember about them is that they were very loud. Being on the third row right in front of the speakers I was hoping they might tone the decibels down a little. They didn’t. You could feel each and every bass guitar note coming from the sound system. No one seemed to mind and the leather clad band started rocking their there way through the lp that turned many a teenager into head bangers for life. The songs, “Metal Gods”, “Breaking The Law”, “Grinder”, “United” and every song from British Steel sounded just as fresh and rocking as it did back in 1980. They covered every song and every note just as it was recorded. After the last notes of “Steeler” Rob Halford announced “There you have it, British Steel”. After changing from a blue jean jacket to a black leather jacket the heavy metal machine launched into “The Ripper” from an early album (1976), “Sad Wings Of Destiny”. Halford and company then fast forwarded to the present with a song from the newest Priest offering Nostradamus called “Prophecy”. I haven’t heard this album yet but if the rest of the album is as good as this one, it is going to be a favorite of Priest fans world wide. “Freewheel Burning” came right before the final two songs, “Diamonds And Rust” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. The band left the stage for the final time but I am sure that the dedicated head bangers would have stayed for as long as they wanted to play.
Both of these bands delivered the goods and pleased their fans. I like to see parents bringing their kids to concerts and passing down the torch so to speak. I saw a lot of that at this show. I wish Whitesnake’s set had been expanded by a few more songs but they weren’t the headliners on this tour. Also I think Judas Priest could turn the volume down just a little and still get the message across. For those two reasons on the Concert Blast Scale I will subtract 2 points giving the show a solid 8.0. This is a fun, rocking show, so if you get a chance to see it, do so. But don’t forget your ear plugs!!!
Written By James Downing
(no relation to K.K. Downing)