The BIC, Bournemouth

Judas Priest

For the last 40 odd years Judas Priest have been playing their music, releasing classic albums and helping to shape the Heavy Metal genre into the beast it is today. This philosophy of play it loud, fast and make it as entertaining as possible for the fans, has seen them bestowed with the ‘living legends’ tag that is thoroughly deserved! The anticipation of this final tour concert at The BIC is almost tangible!

Rival Sons

First support band of the night were Rival Sons, they drew a fair crowd in the cavernous hall (not a bad feat for the first band on, when usually most punters are still at the bar) they perform a mix of old school hard rock with a bluesy feel. Opening with pounding drums and a great bass line, they performed with energy and passion, sounding akin to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and more recently Black Country Communion. With only 3 instruments they produced a strong, well-structured sound that was amazingly well balanced, with plenty of punch! Couple this with Jay Buchannan’s voice, you can understand why they are being touted as “America’s Best New Band” (Classic Rock). Their short set won over some new fans and each track was well received.


Next up was Seattle power metallers Queensryche. Who unfortunately, started in a very lacklustre fashion. Having been about 20 years since they last played the BIC and they still have their own distinctive sound. There is no mistaking Geoff Tate’s voice, it is key to Queensryche live, but the first half of their short set it seemed a bit damp compared to the music. However, when they turned to some of the older material from Empire and Operation Mindcrime the band came alive, not to mention the audience. This really kicked in with “Jet City Women” with the crowd clapping along with no prompting. There was an upsurge in energy, the vocals improved and the whole band shifted up a few gears! Shame they only had 30 minutes. We would have loved another 3 or 4 tracks from Mindcrime or Empire!

A huge curtain hung suspended in front of the stage with the title of Judas Priest’s new album Epitaph emblazoned across it, DJ Lady Starlight set the mood by belting out some classic rock tracks prior to the headliners coming on. Then the curtain fell, revealing a stage draped in chains, chimneys and a British factory backdrop. A thunderous riff blasted out of the speaker stacks, the show was on! They piled straight into “Rapid Fire”. It appears there is more than one band that can turn the amps up past 10!

Judas Priest

This was Heavy Metal at its’ finest. There were fireball pyrotechnics, superb stage layout (you can’t beat steps up to the drum riser allowing the drummer to be more visible) and a dominating video backdrop. At the beginning of their second track, ‘Metal Gods’, singer Rob Halford cried out “Hello Bournemouth, the Priest is back!” The constant onslaught by the drummer coupled with the strobes led to an intense sound and the crowd lapped it all up.

The backdrop video showed the album cover relating to the song being played, this worked to great effect, especially when Rob started his Priest education lesson! He announced that we were in for a two hour tour of Priest through the years. He pointed up, saying they were starting with ‘Star Breaker’ this was not going to be a boring presentation!

As the ultimate Metal frontman he prowls the stage and surveys the audience sans sunglasses as if he is memorizing every person’s face. With the use of lasers, and smoke, not to mention jacket changes, this was one hell of a show and the assembly loved every minute of it.

As the show went on, Rob came on in a silver hooded robe brandishing a Judas Priest staff, with the backdrop of the Nostradamus album, it was no surprise which track they performed, the horde singing “I am Nostradamus” to great effect. This ended with sparks flying out from the end of the staff.

For the next track, metal Priest logos rose up from the drums on stage. There were mosh-pits and even some crowd surfing, couple this with the pyrotechnics, it was good to see a venue using some common sense for a change, as Health & Safety appeared to leave the building.

With this being the last date of the UK tour, they claimed that Bournemouth louder than the High Voltage festival that they had played the previous evening! The slide show took us to 1980 and the track that made their name ‘Breaking the Law.’ The audience sang all the words and the band were visibly moved! Riding onto the stage on his custom Harley and gunning the throttle we were treated to a rip-roaring rendition of ‘Hell Bent for Leather.’

After the band had said their farewells (picks and drum sticks thrown into the throng) the drummer egged the crowd into screaming for one more and they dutifully delivered the fantastic ‘Living After Midnight, with a video of clock face and moving hands on the backdrop. Everyone was ecstatic!

They played 21 tracks, for just over 2 hours. With all the stage trappings, lights, lasers and pyrotechnics and just all-round entertainment, this is what a rock and metal gig should be.

All hail the Priest!

Set List
Battle Hymn
Rapid Fire
Metal Gods
Heading Out to the Highway
Judas Rising
Victim of Changes
Never Satisfied
Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
Dawn of Creation
Night Crawler
Turbo Lover
Beyond the Realms of Death
The Sentinel
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)
(Fleetwood Mac cover)
Breaking the Law (Halford leaves the singing to the Crowd)
Painkiller (Extended Drum solo at start)

The Hellion
Electric Eye

Encore 2
Hell Bent for Leather
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ (Richie Faulkner guitar solo in middle)

Encore 3
Living After Midnight

Words By Jon and Dan O’Gara.
Pictures By Dan Dan O’Gara.