JUDAS PRIEST / MEGADETH / TESTAMENT – @ The O2 Dublin, LIVE REVIEW
Since we were eight years old, The Point Depot has been our all time favourite venue for a gig. We saw our first four shows there and many, many more over the years. The brick walls, red carpets, yellow trimming and little bars dotted around were so unique in a venue of its size. The little men’s toilet was a war zone at the best of times and the red velvet curtains around the balconies and yellow railings made the place feel more like a massive theatre rather than an arena. To pit it simply, when you went to the point it wasn’t a gig, it was a concert.
We know many of you folks out there hated it. We’re not sure why but many, many people just couldn’t stand the Point. The main complaints were ‘It was too big’ (well duh, it’s a f**king arena for Christ’s sake!, Not everything can be the Lower Deck). The second, and most common hatred, was the sound. Tickets There can honestly say, that after 20+ gigs over a fifteen year period, we never once had any issues with the sound in the Point. It was always perfect. To say the least, we were upset the day it was announced they were remodelling it and last night’s first experience of the new O2 didn’t help in the slightest.
Before TT gets to the gig, we’re gonna bitch, bitch, bitch about the changes. First of all, the Point’s character is gone. Yes they kept a few walls but that’s about it. There are three entrances instead of one which is pretty cool, no more massive queuing all the way around the site but, there’s no grand entrance anymore. You walk through the gates, then through another door and your inside. The arena isn’t secluded at all, which just encourages people to walk around all the time instead of watching the bands. The bars, merch stands and food stalls are all inside the arena and because of this, the place is extremely bright with very little darkness. Something that destroys the buzz of a band like Megadeth. When we walked in the door, we were expecting the old foyer. Instead, we got Testament…maybe we won’t complain this on time.
Testament are a mental band. Savage thrash metal, that explodes inside your ears. Unfortunately, our curiosity got the better of us and we were forced into talking several wanders around the new venue to take in the bright lights, over priced ‘1 part pour’ Guinness and the venues one saving grace, a massive, massive smoking area. Testament’s sound was perfect. The guitars and vocals added a bellowing background to the massive steel structure ‘progress’ forced on us. The band seem to be in their element on this tour, playing their first show in Ireland in over 22 years (according to lead singer, Chuck Billy, who spent most of the night playing air guitar on his mike stand and lovin it! Hits from Ritual and New Order get blasted out but sadly, Ticket’s There’s personal favourite True Believer wasn’t played. Ah well, next time.
Honestly, we were only here for one band. In 2001, we got to see a show in the SFX that has remained one of the best gigs Tickets There’s ever been to and tonight, Megadeth are back. Dave Mustaine may not be as angry any more after finding Jesus n all, but that doesn’t stop Megadeth tearing through a set of blistering classics. Take No Prisoners, Wake Up Dead and Sleepwalker explode like machine gun bursts through the PA as the band stand their ground, drop kicking the audience with every world ending riff and solo. With the tri-colour firmly placed on the drum kit, the assault continues. Skin O’ My TeethIn My Darkest Hour and the iconic Hanger 18 roar out delivering rapid solo bursts and apocalypse bringing riffs that guarantee sore necks for 12,000 people in the morning. Fortunately Dave doesn’t fill up 40% of their stage time with long stories and assurances that Megadeth ‘loves you’, like certain other Metal giants out there. He also doesn’t attempt to use their hour to sell their latest album or appease hard core fans who would prefer to hear less known tracks. A Tout le Monde and Sweating Bullets are notably missing but you can’t have everything in onehour.
The set winds up with jackboot stompingTornado of Souls, the definitive Megadeth classic Symphony of Destruction and the mind exploding Peace Sell’s. Never a band to disappoint, Dave and co return for an amazing encore of crowd favourite, Holy Wars!. Considering Megadeth are now down to one founding member, tonight’s performance shows it’s business as usual in their camp. With a new album nearly finished, be sure you catch them on their next trip to ..Eire.. and see them in all their headlining glory.
After another trip to the bar, smoking area and bar again, it’s time for some Priest, Judas style metal that is! Theatrics’, leather, spandex and flying V’s galore as Glen Tipton and KK Dowling fly into view, before the shinny caped figure of Rob Halford shoots up to the top of the stage as the band launches into Prophecy from their latest album, Nostradamus. Opening with a new song is always dodgy but Priest jump back with the amazing classic that is Metal Gods from their 1980 album. British Steel. Halford appears decked out on leather and studs as the band make their best effort to remind the audience why their headlining and not Megadeth. Their stage show doesn’t boost anything extra special but then again, compared to Radiohead and Coldplay, it might as well be KISS up there. Devil’s Child, Dissident Aggressor and Death all get an airing before Priest un-leash the fury of their mighty classic, Breaking the Law.
Halford punishes the stage with slow motion movements that only exasperates his status as a god of metal. His imposing figure lurks behind the perfectly practiced hard rock gestures and poses of the Priest. Why did this band ever think it was a good idea to lose Rob? He’s always been the maindriving force behind everything they do and nothings changed. Hell Patrol, Angel, Sinner all round of the set as the roaring sound of Painkiller, easily the greatest metal track of all time end, the band set.
Before long, the sounds of a motorbike revving up booms through the PA as Priest return to the stage for Hell Bent for Leather with Rob riding a Harley Davidson onto the stage. The Green Manalishi and a rapturous performance of You’ve Got Another Thing Coming end the encore as the band hug and depart leaving Dublin with a desperately needed dose of hard hitting, in your face Heavy Metal. The Point may have now become a fond memory but it’s good to know the bands who make the venues special are still going strong.