We get to the venue early and meet the tour manager at the door of the O2ABC. There’s no rush to go inside as on this very rare occasion the sun has made an appearance, one of the few times this year. As we stand there squinting, unaccustomed to the brightness of the day, he tells us that they were running late today due to traffic, and a bit of a heavy night partaking in various beverages. Apparently he had to get up at the crack of 10 am. It’s a hard life. Once inside the venue I manage to get an interview with Tim before the gig (which you can also read or listen here).
I’ve been in the O2ABC many times but never in the smaller venue below the large main venue. It’s very cool which makes me wonder why there isn’t more gigs held in here.
Past the Fall are the support band tonight. A three piece who describe themselves on their Facebook page as “Groove Metal Chaos from London”. There’s maybe only a dozen or so fans at the barrier, while the rest hang back away from the stage, but the guys put on an impressive show and go down well with the crowd here. They weren’t a band I was familiar with before tonight but I enjoyed their set.
They announced that their drummer couldn’t make it but they had a stand in drummer tonight. The drums sounded great, if he hadn’t told us I’m I wouldn’t have noticed. It’s difficult to pin down their sound but they have a bit of Sabbath in there and also some thrashier sections. There’s also a good mix of growly and clean vocals and some really nice guitar solos. By the end of their set they had a quite a few heads nodding along. They’re definitely a band to check out if you get a chance.
Tim Ripper Owen’s entrance was heralded by the sounds of “Jugulator” from the 1997 Judas Priest album of the same name. The crowd is filled with loyal fans and he’s greeted with cheers and a sea of hands in the air. His band, made up of members of Sandstone, are very animated this evening and the opening song has their masses of hair swirling and moshing along. The sound is crystal clear and “Jugulator” sounds huge. It’s great to hear these tracks like these live especially, as Tim mentions later in the set, that you’ll probably not hear Judas Priest playing them. From the very first track it’s obvious it’s going to be a good night.
“Are you ready for some metal?” Tim cries before launching into another Judas Priest track “The Ripper”.
“Are you ready to sing young man?” He asks a young lad at the front of the stage, “This one’s called Diamonds and Rust.”
It’s not a massive crowd in tonight but they are very much appreciative and clap along at the beginning of the track and sing along to this classic.
I’ve seen Mr Owens only twice before and both times it was with Dio Disciples. No Dio songs tonight unfortunately but we are served up a selection of tracks from his period in Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Beyond Fear, Winter’s Bane, and solo material. A very heavy and very metal set. There are so many highlights for me but “Painkiller”, with it’s instantly recognisable drum intro, impossibly intricate guitar solos, and crowd sing along has to be up there. “Metal Gods” had the crowd punching the air and “Green Manalishi” was superb. Tim is a great front man and chats between songs, jokes with the crowd, and holds the mic over them to sing chorus’s of some of the best metal songs ever written. It was a faultless set of metal classics played with energy and enthusiasm from a band clearly enjoying themselves.
It’s slightly odd when the band leave the stage as the lights start coming up and we’re left wondering if that’s the end but thankfully the guys came back on to play their encore songs, the last of which is “Living After Midnight”. It’s a real party atmosphere on this one and Past the Fall join them on stage to play along and Tim even picks up a guitar and treats us all to a solo.
While there are many extreme metal gigs in Glasgow (Death Metal, Black Metal etc…) it’s seems like it’s been a while since I’ve been to a pure unadulterated, unashamedly, fists in the air, classic heavy metal gig.
Great stuff and I hope Tim’s back soon for my metal fix. Awesome.