Pure Rock Patroller
Thursday, February 21, 2002 @ 11:12 AM
Judas Priest/Anthrax Live At N
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Like a forgotten artisan demonstrating the mastery of his craft, Judas Priest showed the all-ages audience at a packed-to-the-gills Nation nightclub that although its popularity in America has waned from its arena-headlining days, the skill with which they play steamroller-style heavy metal is still awe-inspiring. The band showed the crowd a level of singing and musicianship during its 100-minute set that new metal bands either won’t or can’t approach.
New lead vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens showed off his impressive multi-octave range throughout the night; if Nation served wine in glasses, the shattered shards would have covered the floor like ceramic tiles. Lead guitarists Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing traded solos as furiously as French and Russian Olympic skating judges do favors. And drummer Scott Travis plays interesting, offbeat drum patterns with his sticks, while his double-bass drum helps keep the songs’ heavy, nasty beats.
Priest tore through a well-balanced set of concert staples like “Victim Of Changes” and “Beyond The Realms Of Death”; hits like “Green Manilishi,” “Livin’ After Midnight,” “Breakin’ The Law,” and “Turbo Lover”; and newer material like “Painkiller,” “Hell Is Home,” “One On One,” and “Blood Stained.” The band also threw in a few surprises to the set, adding obscure songs like “Fever” and “United” (the latter added after the 9/11 attacks because of its uplifting lyrics) and scratching “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” one of their biggest hits.
After the show, a young man behind me said to his friend, “I like a lot of the new metal bands, but none of them play like that.” What a pity for his generation.
Anthrax opened their 50-minute show with a well-played set of thrash-metal classics, including “Bring The Noise,” “Antisocial,” and “Got The Time.” The band also played a new song, “Superhero”, which will appear on their new CD set for a summer release. Based on the crowd’s thunderous post-song applause, Anthrax may have guaranteed themselves more than 1,000 CDs sold in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Unfortunately, the most memorable thing about Anthrax’s set may have been the crowd’s fired-up reaction to the verbal and physical confrontation between singer John Bush and bassist Frank Bello and an audience member who allegedly continually gave Bush the finger throughout the first half of the set and who then allegedly threw his empty beer cup at the singer. No doubt that just as some NASCAR fans like the crashes as much as the racing, some metal fans enjoyed this annoying distraction as much as the fine metal performances these two veteran bands gave their D.C.-area fans.