Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Defenders Of The Faith

Judas Priest / Steel Panther
City National Civic, San Jose, California
November 16, 2014 

Although the Silicon Valley is the land of my birth, I'm always surprised what a ghost town downtown San Jose becomes after 6:00pm on a school night.  However, this was a nice mini-road trip down with 3 good buddies but it was weird to see a show in this building again.  I hadn't set foot inside the Civic since the 80's when the likes of April Wine, Dio, and Iron Maiden played there.  Anyway, if only all shows were this easy:


Steel Panther are awful... I get it.. They're supposed to be funny but I'm not laughing.  All I will say further is that I couldn't understand why they were on this tour...until my friend on the Priest crew informed me that 1 or 2 of the members were in Fight with Rob Halford.  Nepotism uber alles I guess.  Perhaps the worst thing about them being on the bill was the 3 or 4 jock types who came to the show dressed in "Hair Metal" costumes complete with wigs and spandex.  One of them didn't take kindly when I said "Halloween is over.." as they walked past us.  So lame... During Steel Panther's set I wandered into catering... where it was empty.. but it was interesting that probiotics are on the 2014 Priest backstage rider.

Delivering the goods?

I suppose Priest played as solid of a set and song mix as you should expect here in the 21st Century.  The current tour not only features the new album but also celebrates the Defenders Of The Faith album... but as they started my least favorite song of their entire catalog ('Turbo Lover') I went to get a beer and discovered that San Jose beer sales were already cut off... and it was barely halfway through their set!  WTF San Jose...  No beer.. No KK Downing at stage right.. but at least 'Beyond The Realms of Death' came a couple of songs later... and it was a really great version.  That song and 'Devil's Child' reminded me how much Priest meant to me in my Salad Days a million years ago in a suburban bedroom just down the freeway from this venue.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

I'm not going to nitpick about Priest and this was the 2nd time I've seen the current lineup.  Tonight was a good show and I enjoyed it.  Halford was more animated and sounded better onstage than he has on the past couple of tours.  I will also admit that Richie Faulkner is a really good guitarist and holds his part of Priest 2014 down admirably... but he's not KK.. and the fact that Priest still plays KK's signature song 'Victim Of Changes' with his replacement bothers me... but I said I'm not going to nitpick about Priest.  I had beers.  I had fun.  Priest played songs I like.

 Living After Midnight from stage right..

If you bought one of every Priest merch item you would have paid around $400 I think.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-face kids called us fags.  As mixed as my feelings are about seeing Priest 2014 I caught myself from being too jaded.  I reminded myself that I must pay respects and see my old heroes.  They will not be around forever, man... and they're still better than 95% of the newer crap Metal bands out there today.  O.K.. Old Man rant over.

"Feast your eyes on a whole lot of sin..."