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Whitesnake/Judas Priest - Sao Paulo- 10/09/2011

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    Posted: 15 Sep 2011 at 4:56pm

Repeating a double bill that came to Brazil in 2005, Snake and Priest were back this last weekend for another celebration of Classic Rock and Metal of the highest caliber. Well, not quite…

The show was held on an open air place, that is terrible to see the band playing and often have problems with the sound, not only due to the equipment, but also the wind.

The sky was overcast so everybody was a little apprehensive about the possibility of rain. But the weatherman cooperated and the rain fail to appear.

What also fail to appear was David Coverdale’s voice. The guy simply can’t sing anymore. And this time, not even the trick that he used in 2008, leaving the highest parts for his excellent pair of guitarists doing backing vocals worked.

It was clear that his voice wasn’t that good since the very first song, Best Years, which was followed by Give Me All Your Love Tonight and Love Ain’t No Stranger and the saccharine ballad Is this Love ?. To make matters worst, the sound quality was poor.

The ensuing two songs were from the very good new album, Forevermore. Steal Your Heart Away and the title-track.

After the solos of both guitar players ( Doug Aldritch and Reb Beach ), another from the new album, Love Will Set you Free, followed by a drum solo.

 Now, with the sole exception of Neil Peart, I often think drum solos are boring, and this was no exception. But drummer Brian Tichy ( former of Black Label Society, Lita Ford and many others ) kind of deserved some time to do it, being the only highlight on this lame concert.

As he ended, the band launched into Here I Go Again and Still Of The Night and what was just bad, became embarrassing. Trying to compensate the absence of his voice, Coverdale abused on the drives making the renditions of this songs sound like they were being covered by a Black Metal band. No, I’m not overreacting. It seemed like Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy or Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir were singing. Absolutely awful.

Not even an attempt at an “a capella” version of Deep Purple’s Soldier Of Fortune first verses could save the day, given that Burn finishing the concert was as bad as everything else.

Please, Mr. Coverdale, retire. You are throwing in the mud a brilliant carreer. That of one of the most fantastic Rock singers EVER. But your time’s up. Stop while you still have credit.

After this major disappointment, the hope was that Priest would make everybody’s time worth.

And the Metal Gods corresponded in full.

The one-two punch of Rapid Fire and Metal Gods to start was all they needed to have the crowd on their hands. The sound was still not that good, but it was better and the band was firing on all cylinders.

Following it with Heading Out To Highway and Judas Rising, all expectancy was that if they would indeed play songs from all their albums. And the ensuing trio of songs showed they were not kidding: a surprising and brilliant Starbreaker from Sin After Sin, the majestic Victim Of Changes from Sad Wings and even Never Satisfied from the very first record Rocka Rolla.

Rob Halford went on proving, song after song, while he is one of the best in the business. Ever. The guy just turned 60 and still delivers. Granted, he adapts some of the higher pitched songs, but does it with such class that you can’t do nothing but applaud.

The wonderful half unplugged half electric version of Diamonds and Rust came next, followed by the best song from an overall below average album Nostradamus, Prophecy. Night Crawler, Turbo Lover ( from the much maligned but excellent Turbo ), Beyond The Realms Of Death and another surprise in the form of The Sentinel, made everybody thank the skies for the opportunity of witnessing such an event.  

From Ram It Down, came Blood Red Skies followed by the definitive version of Fleetwood Mac’s The Green Manalishi ( With The Two Pronged Crown ), the eternal anthem Braking The Law ( sang only by the crowd ) and Painkiller, with an outstanding performance from Rob.

The encore brought The Hellion/Electric Eye, Hell Bent For Leather and You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and everybody thought it was over.

Fortunately, we were wrong. The band came back one more time to close things out with a apocalyptic Living After Midnight.

It was fantastic. Not even the absence of K.K. Downing made it less brilliant. By the way, Richie Faulkner – K.K.’s replacement – is a monster. And it does look like K.K. from afar, actually.   

Priest on the Epitaph tour. Epic.    

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