So Saturday was the long awaited Metal Masters show in Holmdel NJ at the PNC Bank Arts Center. It was part two of my buddy Cal's bachelor party. Seven of us packed into a van and traveled on down.
Got there about 5pm, brought out the lawn chairs and the coolers. PERFECT summer concert weather for this one. 70's and we had a nice shady tree to chill under. We sprang the extra bucks for premier parking so we wouldn't have to hike a mile or two uphill to the venue. Around our second beer each at 5:30 on the dot we heard Testament hit the stage.
I definitely think they're the odd man out on this tour. Granted they've been around over 20 years at this point, but I don't give them the legendary status of the other three bands on the bill...and by the looks of the parking lot, most others didn't either. I like them...but with beers costing $7-$9 a pop inside, we weren't about to let the cold ones we had go to waste.
Testament did about 35 minutes and it was about 6:30 when we decided to head in and just as we got to the gates we heard the Mighty Motorhead hit the stage. The classic Motorhead T-Shirt being sold at the show has a motto on the back which sums up the band "Everything Lounder Than Everything Else". Hell yeah kids. Without a doubt Motorhead are raking in the most money on T-Shirt sales on this tour (at least at this stop)...The shirts were all $35 bucks a piece and for some reason they don't sell a Metal Masters shirt with all the bands. Although the fellows in the parking lot after the show do and sold plenty of them for $10 bucks and even a little cheaper if you waited until driving out.
Lemmy and the boys never disappoint, about a 12 or 13 song set which ended strong with classics like Killed By Death, Ace of Spade and a nice long Overkill to wrap things up!
There was a nice size crowd at the show...we did the lawn thing and while it in the center it was packed back to the last blade of grass, on the sides you could get a nice little patch of grass all to yourself (and nice and close to the bathrooms and beer gardens).
Pretty quick set changes between bands - probably 25 minutes and the sky just getting dark when Heaven and Hell (aka Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio) hit the stage. They did a bit over with a set pretty close to what they played when I saw them at Radio City Music Hall last year, one or two new tracks added...a bummer was they didn't come out and encore with Neon Knights which seems to be happening at some of these shows...it's kind of one of their "hits" outside of say Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell so a suprise they don't make sure to play it (especially when they do an extra long version of Heaven and Hell AND Vinnie Appice gets a drum solo?!?!). When you only have a 70 minute set and you have tons of classic tunes you could play, they should be wasting time on a drum solo (although, this being a very beer friendly crowd, the drum solo did go over amazingly well).
Oh...almost forgot...as a little between band fun after Motorhead and before H&H, there was a group sitting about 10 feet in front of us. Well one of them was out of his head drunk and after Motorhead, gets up to go to the john and faceplants HARD. Everyone of course thinks this is funny, but there was a group about 30 feet behind us where one guy was just laughing and pointing. Well we're looking at this dude struggling to get up and he is PISSED so I tell my buddies to watch this because he has fight in his eyes.
He gets up and stomps up the lawn directly towards the guy, but at the last second just turns and goes towards the john.
We thought, oh well, the old psychout move...well five minutes later we hear a little commotion and turn around there's drunk guy...now light on his feet due to the empty bladder taking a swing at laughing boy. He connects and they roll down the hill. A friend jumps in and pulls one of them off and hits the other and THEY going rolling down the hill....and so on and so on. And there's NO SECURITY (there was maybe 4 security guards working the whole lawn) So there was a good 5 or 6 minutes of this tag team type fighting. It's probably on youtube as I saw some people phone filming it. After the first two minutes I'm not even sure if the initial drunk asshole was involved. But oh boy was it fun to watch... Who doesn't love a good fight involving out of shape drunk shirtless sunburned 80's metal dudes...I know I do!
But other than that, it was a cool lovefest. Everyone complimenting everyone else on the obscure cool vintage shirt that abounded (I actually saw a dude sporting a T.T. Quick shirt! Although a favorite was a guy with "Disco STILL Sucks" - Me...I was rockin my new "Motel Hell" shirt from the early 80's horror classic)
Back to the music. Priest hit the stage probably about 9:30 one a track of their new album, but for those there to hear the classics, they need not worry as it was almost all classics after that! Eat Me Live, Rock Hard Ride Free, Dissident Agressor plus of course the hits like You Got Another Thing Comin' and Breakin The Law (although suprisingly no Living After Midnight). Metal Gods, an Amazing Painkiller (it boggles the mind that Halford can sing that intense song as good as ever and the guy must be 60 right?!)
I've seen the priest a good number of times and they were fantastic once again. I'm sure they'll headline their own tour in the Fall after this (and hopefully come back to the local civic center again) and I will be there. I still hope for the day when they throw Freewheel Burning back in the set, but I have to say, they dug out a bunch of nice golden oldies they hadn't played in a while for this tour, so my hopes are up.
Next show - Probably two weeks from now...same venue...Crue Fest