Judas Priest, Queensryche and Rival Sons, BIC Bournemouth 24th July 2011

After some pre-show entertainment on the seafront that consisted of a) trying to get the broken ticket machine in the car park to accept our cash b) finding a near exact replica of my old Capri (Electric Blue, 3 litre Ghia fact fans), c) ignoring the Salvation Army trying to "save us" and best of all d) some very entertaining women's beach volleyball, ME and I shuffled our worn out  and broken bodies into the BIC to watch the show.  My first time at the BIC (apart from the bar) and I was very impressed. It seems to have more width than depth, so no matter where you are, you're pretty close to the action.

First up: Rival Sons.  I've heard a few tracks before thanks to the freebie EP from Classic Rock and although it sounded good, it didn't really grab my attention. However, their early doors, brief set was a blinder with Jay Buchanan strutting around looking like the bastard son of prime time Jim Morrison and Robert Plant. They have a big sound for band comprising simply of 3 instruments, with Scott Holiday's guitar sounding very fat and filling the room nicely.  Apparently Rival Sons don't like to be called "retro" and I can understand why, but like it or not their sound is the sound of classic 70's rock bands brought into 21st century. I really enjoyed their short set and will definitely give that freebie cd another shot.

Next up: Queensryche. Apparently their new album is a bit on the eclectic side (or "bloody awful" according to some bloke behind us) but the opening track from it sounded like classic Queensryche tonight. The band were tight and whilst it was another fairly short set we had quite a diverse mixture of songs, ranging from the new album, back to the really early stuff and of course some classics from the Operation:Mindcrime/Empire era. including a brilliant version of Eyes of a Stranger. Excellent stuff.

Just prior to Priest coming on stage the DJ (yes we had Lady Starlight all the way from Noo Yoik on the Wheels of Steel) played War Pigs.. this has to be one of the best impromptu singalongs I've been involved in - everyone and I mean everyone- sang along.. then after one verse - on came Judas Priest.

I have a bit of a problem with Priest. I saw them a few years ago in London after having had a particularly bad day at the office, the sound was shite, Rob Halford looked like he was eating a badger and he clumped about the stage like his legs were in plaster casts and the rest of the band looked like they were simply going through the motions... I was ready to go home after about 30 mins.  HOWEVER, this time round I was well up for it. The crowd were in good voice, we had Richie Faulkner in place of KK and Rob (whilst still looking like he's eating a badger) had ditched the concrete boots. This time the gig only seemed to last 30 mins, but they were onstage for well over 2 hours, going through their back catalogue with Rob talking to the crowd between tracks. We had smoke bellowing chimneys,  flame throwers and lasers galore. We had Rob changing jacket every song, we had the Harley, frankly we had some Spinal Tap moments too, but it's all part of the charm of Judas Priest's Unashamed Heavy Metal.

The crowd lapped it up. Rob never sang a word during "Breaking The Law" it was all sung by the "Heavy Metal Maniacs of Bournemouth" (who knew ?). Set list is below, but special mention to excellent versions of "Diamonds and Rust" and "Beyond the Realms of Death".

 If that's to be their last show in the UK then they went out in style.





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