Judas Priest

Copenhell - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The main event of the first day of Copenhell was the big farewell show by mayor league metal classics band Judas Priest, who was out on their Epitaph tour.
One man was missing though, as founding member K.K. Downing had decided to leave the band just prior to the tour; to me, this felt both silly and downright disrespectful to the fans of the band, but let us let it lie at that. The rest of the band was here, so the show and music was not lost at least.

At the beginning of the show, the stage was covered by a large curtain bearing an Epitaph logo, and when it fell we could see that the stage behind it was completely covered by smoke, I mean really a lot of smoke! I guess they had been pumping a lot in, and it had had nowhere to go as long as the curtain was there…
After a while it began clearing away though, and the stage and the band was made visible. My eyes were immediately drawn to the enormous chains used as decorations; upon closer inspection though I noticed the largest ones were only painted cloth, but they had a nice effect nonetheless.
As Rob Halford came on he greeted us with a hearty; ”Hello everybody, the Priest is back!” but my eyes were instead drawn to their new guitarist, Downing’s stand-in, Richie Faulkner, a young guy who can also be seen utilizing his string-bending technique in Lauren Harris band (Lauren Harris being the daughter of Ion Maiden’s Steve Harris). I can’t say how Downing would have fared on the stage, but judging from the way the rest of the band acted, Faulkner was a much needed vitamin injection in this old metal monster.
He was letting it all loose as he strode back and forth, headbanged, and in general seemed to have a great time, and I’m sad to say, made the other look very old and stiff indeed. Halford tried his luck at moving beyond the monitors and walking from side to side of the stage a couple of times, but this movement only reminded me of one of those mechanical birds who fly out of a Swiss clock…
The only other ‘real’ movement came from Scott Travis who was playing around with his drum-sticks from time to time.

Judas Priest is one of those bands which I have never followed, but still know pretty much of the old classics by heart, which is fine by me, I see no reason to get more into it than that, especially now as they are quitting the band.
Still, this meant they played a whole lot of songs which I am not familiar with, and it wasn’t until the latter half of the set, and particularly at the ending, that the really well known anthems began popping out. A bit late if you ask me, but at least we got to hear them. I was very much disappointed that we only got to hear a snippet of Breaking The Law, but was equally glad to hear the complete combo of The Hellion and Electric Eye, a long-time personal favourite of mine.
The band tried their hands at making some songs more personalized and special as well, thus they had incorporated a bit of pyro’s here and there, and for Hell Bent For Leather Halford made his usual motorcycle entrance (he was a bit too tired to get off it however, ending with him sitting on the bike for most of the song). In the very last song, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, Halford got a loud sing-along going while waving a Danish flag around, garnering him respect from the native audience at the festival.

A lot of people were present at the show, and several of them showed signs of taking great pleasure in the concert, but I must admit that I was sorely disappointed. It’s a good thing this was a farewell tour for these metal gods have clearly lost their steam, but as a great going away party, I think it should have been done so much better than what we were handed here. Honestly, it was quite dull, and except for a few songs towards the end, there was nothing worth saving for future memories…

Setlist (incomplete):

Rapid Fire
Heading Out To The Highway
Judas Rising
Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
Turbo Lover
Breaking The Law
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Hell Bent For Leather
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

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