[Photos: Flickr set for the gig]
Just a quickie little review of a great little show. The last time I saw Annihilator (in fact I think the last time they were in the UK) was around 20 years ago. I saw them opening for Judas Priest on their Painkiller tour at Newcastle City Hall. If memory serves, they were touring on their second album Never, Neverland. I was with Jon Toward and we were late so missed them hitting the stage.
This time I arrived about ten minutes before they came on. Just enough time to wait at the bar, fail to be served and save myself four quid. Bargain.
In honesty, I was a little taken aback by Jeff Waters‘ lack of hair. As I said, I’ve not seem them in 20 years, even if I have kept up with the music! The sound was excellent, though, and the crowd very receptive although it was nowhere near a packed house. Plenty of room to move around and get some good photos.
I’m old (school), so was waiting for the material that matched my wrinkles. I wasn’t disappointed with a great variety of it amongst some of the newer stuff. “King of the Kill” and “Hell is a War” were superb, the intro to the latter sending chills up my spine.
A surprise sit-down session occurred towards the end of the set as the band played two oft-requested tracks that haven’t been given a live airing before (we were told). “Phoenix Rising” had Jeff playing away with an expression on his face which spoke volumes. It said “I have the best job in the world and I fucking love it”.
Chants of “Jeff is God!” rang out as the band closed with a final flurry of thrashy goodness including “The Fun Palace”, “Phantasmagoria” and “Alison Hell”.
A great set, no show-boating, an obviously happy band, mad crowd and top sound quality (thanks to the Garage once again). I only find it a shame that despite Waters being consistently rated one of the top guitarists in metal and a huge influence on many bands, Annihilator never reached the size of the likes of Metallica.
Having said that, I’d still rather pick up a new Annihilator album than one from the greedy Dane and his mates.