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Manchester Apollo, 17 February 2009
the "Feast" just in time to catch Testament's closer, they definitely had
the worst sound mix of the night. Megadeth had the cleanest stage I've
seen - cleared of clutter, only the paper set-lists remained. Their sound,
though, was excellent and their hour-long set an exercise in precision
They sensibly chose to deliver a cut-down greatest hits package with a
couple of tracks from the current album, including the very fine 'Tout Le
Monde'. Highlights also included 'Hangar 18' and 'Holy Wars'.
This was Priest's night, though, and - once rid of a delayed start due to
a technical hitch - an object lesson in relentless heavy metal. Incredible
to think that this year marks the band's 40th anniversary although 35
years in terms of the classic Halford-fronted line-up.
Halford is a commanding figure, even when dressed in bacofoil, and simply
one of the best-ever metal voices, demonstrating that the ensuing decades
have not quelled his power or presence.
Making full use of a dramatic album-themed stage set, the band opened with
the impressive riff-driven 'Prophecy' and one and a half hours later these
60 year old men looked like they'd only just started.
We could have forgiven the band if they'd played their current album in
its entirety but, no, they played the classics and in the process
reasserted their prominent place in the history of the metal genre.
The only respite from the heavy riffs and Halford Holler was the excellent
mid-tempo 'Angel'. And the sweep through back catalogue included 'Metal
Gods', 'Eat Me Alive' and a terrific 'Between the Hammer And Anvil'.
Arguably, they saved the best for last, with Halford's motorcycle entrance
for 'Hell Bent For Leather", "Green Manalishi" and the very fresh-sounding
"You've Got Another Thing Coming".
My first acquaintance with the band was in 1973 when they supported Budgie
(they shared a producer at that time) and I still have KK Downing's
autograph to show for it: I must have been impressed as the band hadn't
yet released their debut album.
This 'Priest Feast' intriguingly dished up half a century of metal with
support from two of the lynchpins of thrash, but the headliners have
retained their relevancy. The first big UK rock show of 2009, and
certainly a triumph for one of metal's finest.
Review by David Randall
set list: Dawn of Creation/The Prophecy - Metal Gods - Eat Me Alive -
Between the Hammer and the Anvil - Devil's Child - Breaking The Law - Hell
Patrol - Messenger - Angel - Electric Eye - Rock Hard, Ride Free - The
Sinner - (Encore 1) Painkiller (Encore 2) Hell Bent For Leather - The
Green Manalishi - You've Got Another Thing Coming
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