Judas Priest haven't been to Sweden since the Painkiller tour 1991 and a decade later they come for a tour covering six cities including the capitol, Stockholm. They start off with "Metal Gods" and "Heading Out to the Highway" before giving us something a little bit more brutal, "Bloodstained". Two early reflections. First, Tim "Ripper" Owens so far says the same things as on the Meltdown CD. Second, the sound is excellent, you can hear all instruments and you are not getting deaf. After the crowd pleaser (isn't all their songs?) "Touch of Evil," both the audience and Tim Owens were warm-uped and relaxed and the two following songs, "Victim of Changes" and "One on One", work so well together and this maybe is the peak of the night. Tim Owens sings so well, the old backbone (Downing-Tipton-Hill) are very tight and are aging with grace, and Scott Travis is all over his drum kit delivering varied and stampeding beats. Priest nowadays have so many good songs that you'll always miss a couple of favourite songs but still you don't want to replace any of the songs played. Well, maybe their weakest songs in the set list, "Burn in Hell" could be replaced with just any of their other songs. The play three songs of the Demolition CD and "Machine Man" should have been left out and replaced with "Bloodsuckers" or "Subterfuge", but "Hell Is Home" is welcomed surprisingly warm by the audience (including myself). After NOT singing along in "You've Got Another thing Coming", in that special live version style that is the Priest finished with one of their most popular songs in Sweden - "Painkiller"!
Back for more with "Electric Eye" and we all go nuts of course and instead of coming back three times to play one song at a time, they play three songs including "United". People were actually getting a little bit sentimental when singing along with this song and putting one arm around someones shoulders and waving the other arm in the air. And after shouting for the band to appear once more they gave us "Hell Bent for Leather." After this song they stood on the stage for several minutes shaking hands and waving to us and the most of us waited a few more minutes before going home. It was a very dear "welcome back"!
During the concert Tim Owens was relaxed and did a very good job, he was not as dull and stiff as earlier reported. And his voice is fantastic. One funny thing was that they didn't use any smoke, coloured spotlights, explosions or motorcylces, BUT it didn't hit me until the day after. During the concert on that small, clean, functional stage everyone was focus on the people in Judas Priest and their songs and on screaming along with the songs. It was the opposite of the latest Iron Maiden tour but the same kind of music. Maybe Priest will reunite with you know who. And maybe they need that for commercial success. But from an artistic point of view they shouldn't change a thing.
by Marcus Rosander, Stockholm, Sweden.