JUDAS PRIEST + DEF LEPPARD – Oslo – Oslo Spektrum
Oldies but not all goldies
One interesting lineup combo for this year was having Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Five Fingers Death Punch sharing the stage during their European tour (at least). While for some people it might not be an easy choice which one should the headliner be, for a lot of the young people at Spektrum scene in Oslo, it looked like FFDp was the absolute favourite. But then again, there’s quite an age difference between the 5 Americans and the members the of other British legends. But the mix of old and new fans made it that the stage had a decent amount of crowd at the early sart of the concert. Despite that, I believe that FFDP was really taken by surprise by the lack of response of the apathetic Norwegian crowd. Some hands raised in the air every now and then, a shy moshpit attempt towards the end of the concert and well, that’s all you got to build your good mood on stage. Besides the mandatory applauses between songs.
The band members kept up a decent face and jumped around, interacting and showing off their skills, but to very little success. A very nice moment was when the singer invited a kid on stage and his mum along with him. But the kid was too shy to react much, so having such a crowd on stage when you sing a song titled ‘Burn MF’, was not the most inspired choice. But it was nice to watch the details of the show, such as everyone’s outfit or hair colour – one had dreads hanging from his chin, another from the head, one had no hair, another had dyed parts of it red and the drummer was wearing a skeleton like costume so you couldn’t tell how he looked like. One guitarist had some very funky moving green lights on his guitar and if I remember correctly, he even showed up with a double neck guitar at some point. That part was enjoyable and I hope to get to see them with a more suitable audience, so that their music reaches out in a better manner.
(Photo: Charlotte Åsland Larsen)
Half an hour later I get to see Def Leppard for the first time in my life. I know the band, but I don’t recall too many of their songs being included in my grow up playlists – unlike other such ‘old’ bands. Hence, there wasn’t much anticipation from my side. Nor did they manage to impress much altogether. It was one more show for them, with rehearsed tricks and cool moments and very little feeling – but then again, bloody static crowd… They projected images from old concerts during one of their songs and I consider that a bad move since they looked way more interesting back then than they did that evening in Oslo. One think that bugged me the whole concert was why does the drummer have a sunflower next to the drumkit and does it really contain burning incense? Actually, there was another thing – why did they place a drumcam that is showing the back of the drummer and is shaking most of the time? I know, I have only negative comments and it was sad to watch and hope for the concert to end very soon.
After 30 more minutes of break and stage works and we hear the ‘War Pigs’ intro while a huge Judas Priest logo hangs in front of the stage. As soon as it falls down we witness one of the least pimped up stages I’ve ever seen (when it comes to the ‘size’ of the band). A big backdrop monitor, a high drumkit and to its left and right screens also used for projections. And that’s it (besides the usual pedals and stage monitors). The band members start playing and we soon notice that Halford’s voice can be heard, yet he’s nowhere to be seen. This is because he chose to make his entrance form the side of the stage, walking with a cane and moving at very slow pace. A bold move which might have raised some suspicions regarding the quality of the concert. But after two songs in which he moved like a robot but sang like good old style Judas Priest heavy metal voice, all worries were gone. He started to move normally, without cane and with surprising energy – he actually vanished behind the side stage curtains more or less during every song, mainly to change outfits, but it felt like he plugged himself to a charger as well.
(Photo: Charlotte Åsland Larsen)
I couldn’t get rid of the ‘just another show’ feeling, but at a way lower level than during the previous show. There seemed to have been a bit more passion altogether and the memory lane trip was more pleasant. I guess the constant drumstick throwing/catching, active guitarists who’d do solos in all sort of crazy positions and the classic ass shaking during Breaking the Law, gave a better vibe to the show. I was very amused to notice that the projections chosen for the ‘Love Bites’ song were bits of Nosferatu movie. The highlight of the show must have been when Halford drove a harley on stage and used it as a prop for ‘Hell bent for Leather’, and later on it turned out there was a camera attached to the bike, camera that filmed the crowd when Rob Halford was fooling around with ‘Yeh yeh yeh’s and various other sounds.
While the voice is still impressive most times, it seems to have bigger and bigger flaws, swiftly hidden by the sound technician, yet slipping a bit every now and then. I never checked how ‘Painkiller’ sounded live back in the day, but I know that it is almost scary to listen to – voice wise, especially chorus. But altogether I am glad that Judas Priest was the headliner since the night ended with a good mood and a lot of ‘Living after Midnight’ singing on the way home.