Judas Priest Retro 1986 Concert Review
FIRST CONCERT EXPERIENCE
Show Date: July 25, 1986
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Venue: Ottawa Civic Centre
Band Websites: www.judaspriest.com – www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest
Do you remember your first rock concert? I recall quite vividly my first concert, but don’t remember that well most of the concerts from that point forward. Funny thing is that I had not planned on going to see Judas Priest back in 1986 but one of my friends had another buddy who could not make it — so I hesitantly agreed to go see the Metal Gods.
Back then, if the band was not my ultimate favorite band, I was not even considering going to see them play live and paying the outrageous concert prices — in my view at that time. If I could pay less than $20 now for a good seat to see Judas Priest with a decent opening band, I would do so in a heartbeat.
The concert experience started right from the time that I — as a young scrawny kid — got to the Ottawa Civic Centre. There were tons of scary looking individuals. The walk along the aisles to my seat was especially revealing and eye opening. Little pipes could be seen quite frequently… drugs! How did these get in here? By the time that I got seated, just about everyone around my buddy and I was getting things such as toothbrush holders out of their shoes, socks, etc. What came out from those toothbrush holders and other containers were of course more drugs. The smells abounding the area that I was sitting in were so strange and unfamiliar that I held my newly purchased Judas Priest t-shirt to my nose until the opening band Bon Jovi hit the stage.
When I first started attending concerts, I usually knew all of the opening acts, mostly because the headlining bands would often bring semi-well known bands along for the ride. Bon Jovi was no exception. I was familiar with some of the band’s songs such as “In And Out Of Love” and “Runaway” from their videos that had been playing on Much Music. Bon Jovi hit the stage with a song — “Raise Your Hands” — that I was unfamiliar with. The band got to use some of the multi-levels that the stage set up had to offer and sounded pretty good while warming up the crowd for the mighty Priest. What I do remember quite well is that Jon Bon Jovi introduced one new song that would be on the band’s upcoming new album ‘Slippery When Wet’ — that track was “You Give Love A Bad Name”. I remember thinking that it was quite catchy but never imagined that it would become a number one hit that would help the band achieve a smash album with ‘Slippery When Wet’ — that would topple over 28 million copies worldwide. It seemed that Bon Jovi was off the stage very shortly after they had first appeared. The reason was the limited amount of songs that Bon Jovi played — or was allowed to play. Six songs, with most of them clocking in at less than four minutes, make for a very short set! The band closed out their set with the two ‘hit’ songs that I was already familiar with — ‘In And Out Of Love’ and ‘Runaway’.
I was not sure what to expect from Judas Priest. The concert started with a nice build up via one of the band’s most underrated songs in my book — the fantastic “Out In The Cold”. I could see guitarists K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Dave Holland, but there was no sign of frontman Rob Halford. Finally, at the top of the stage — probably the third level of the multi-level stage — popped out a long-haired swagging Rob Halford singing the opening notes to “Out In The Cold”. I still get goose bumps to this day listening to the intro to that song. From then on, it was full speed ahead with Judas Priest launching into “Locked In” and “Heading Out To The Highway”. Unlike many bands these days, including Judas Priest themselves, the band played a generous portion of their latest album — in this case ‘Turbo’. In fact, six out of the nine songs on ‘Turbo’ were played. Given that I was a relatively new fan of Judas Priest, and certainly not familiar with their back catalog of stellar songs earlier than the ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ album, for the first time I was hearing such timeless classics as “Victim Of Changes” and “Hell Bent For Leather”. And truth be told, it would take another couple of years before I really ‘discovered’ these songs and figured out that those were two of the best Judas Priest songs of all time.
But back to the Judas Priest concert. It was so cool to see Downing, Tipton and Hill moving along in unison while playing their respective instruments. Halford was the ultimate frontman, connecting with the audience and showing why he was the leader of the band. In particular, when Halford started getting the audience to sing along after him during the latter portion of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”, it was amazing to see the entire audience — or just about — responding back.
The stage show was also quite impressive. Aside from the multi-level stage, there were two huge mechanical arms that eventually lifted Downing and Tipton towards the end of the show. By the time that the second encore came, Halford surprisingly rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle onto the stage for show closer “Hell Bent For Leather”.
After the Judas Priest concert, I could not help but think of all the great bands I had inexplicably bypassed in the previous two years — including Iron Maiden on their ‘Powerslave’ tour with Twisted Sister opening, and W.A.S.P. with Metallica and Armored Saint. In any case, that was not going to happen anymore. I was not going to miss anymore concerts unless I had a good reason not to go! So how about you? Was your first rock concert experience as good as mine?
Bon Jovi’s set list:
01. Raise Your Hands
02. Get Ready
03. You Give Love A Bad Name
04. Let It Rock
05. In And Out Of Love
Judas Priest’s set list:
01. Out In The Cold
02. Locked In
03. Heading Out To The Highway
04. Metal Gods
05. Breaking The Law
06. Love Bites
07. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
08. The Sentinel
09. Private Property
10. Desert Plains
11. Rock You All Around The World
12. Hellion/Electric Eye
13. Turbo Lover
14. Parental Guidance
15. Freewheel Burning
16. Victim Of Changes
17. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Clowns) (Fleetwood Mac cover song)
18. Living After Midnight
19. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
20. Hell Bent For Leather