Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boys Night Out

Rob Halford
The Regency, San Francisco
July 17, 2010

The exciting continuation of Don't Ask, Don't Tell a million years later!

According to the Umlaut Archives, this was the 8th time I've been in the same room as Rob Halford dating back to when I was a naive teenager... and last year's Judas Priest / Whitesnake show was one of the best shows I saw in 2009. As far as I know, this was Halford's only North American headlining show of 2010 and was a warm up for this upcoming stint on this year's OzzFest. It was cool that he chose San Francisco for such an honor, right? It makes sense I guess... just saying... not that there's anything wrong with that! This was also a "gathering of the tribe" event, with a lot of Old School people coming out of the woodwork. It was cool to see people who I've known since high school again (a shout out to Rich Hellhound, Hans, and Sven..).

Although The Regency (1,400 capacity) was a little over half full it seemed more crowded than that especially with the balcony open... and it was definitely a crowd of die hard Halford fans and not simply Judas Priest fans; most of the punters around me seemed to know all of the songs. While Judas Priest were one of the bands who introduced me to METAL, I've never listened to any of Halford's solo stuff. I entered The Regency expecting not to recognize most of the setlist... and I was right! I walked out of The Regency and could only claim to have recognized ONE song in the set... which also happened to be the ONLY Priest song included in the setlist ('Never Satisfied' from the Rocka Rolla album!? So random... )... which made this show's ad border on false advertisement ("Featuring Rob Halford Performing The Music Of Halford, Fight, & Judas Priest"). The last time I saw Halford solo 10 years ago (!) he had busted out such iconic vintage Priest songs as 'Tyrant' and 'Stained Class'... but not this time. Oh well...

Note: I was later informed that another Priest song had been played... but it was an obscure outtake from the Turbo album or something that only appeared on a Japanese import CD and in a Priest box set. Okay, then! The Geeks shall inherit The Earth.

However, despite my own lack of Halford knowledge it was still a fun show. His band is decent enough (although I have trouble seeing him without K.K. and Glenn flanking him on guitars)... and he sang and worked the stage better than he has at some of the Priest shows I've seen in recent years. "Halford" is still Halford: He's still one those Metal vocalists who's godlike when he's at the top of his game like he is right now.

(Pic courtesy of Photo Ray)

I also liked how Halford stayed away from his "Metal Leatha" personae and presented a more "refined" stage presence... I mean, not many Metal vocalists can take the stage wearing a blazer and be taken seriously... but that's why he's Halford! If the recent passing of Ronnie James Dio taught us anything it's that Metalheads need to see their heroes at every possible opportunity. Also, Halford is one of those original Metal Heroes who still delivers the goods onstage.

I think most Metalheads can say where they were when they found out Halford was gay, right? I found out in 1982 via a Metal penpal I had in Miami, Florida. Priest were in the area mixing the Screaming For Vengeance album and my penpal told me how Halford had been seen around or entering the local gay bars there. I was, like, NO WAY! We were SO NAIVE back then... Too funny.

If you bought one of every Halford merch item you would have paid around $300... and if you presented your ticket at the merch table you got a free copy of the new remastered / remixed version of his Crucible CD. Pretty cool, right? On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. As I type this I'm listening to Judas Priest and reliving when Halford was someone who introduced me to Metal when I was a directionless, geeky teenager; Metal gave me focus. Again, it was a fun show... but I wish he'd busted out 'Heroes End' or something.

Point Of Entry Tour
(From the Umlaut Archives)

Screaming For Vengeance Tour
(From the Umlaut Archives)