I had a great time seeing music Monday night in Montreal. I took a bus to Shelburne, picked up a car and my brother Ken, then drove north. The changing leaves made the drive gorgeous and the ride was smooth until we got into Montreal. We usually park in the lot in front of the Bell Center. It’s a bit expensive, but excessively convenient. A building is going up on the lot so I got turned around a little and got stuck on a highway going around town. I got off and headed back, and eventually found a small parking lot half way between the arena and St Catherine st.
We looked around the metal section of HMV for a bit then got a bite of dinner, but soon headed to the show.
I bought tickets on the fan pre-sale, so our red section seats were pretty close to the stage. It was almost too close, as the angle did not let us see much of the video screen that was at the back of the stage.
At 7:30 the lights went down and opener Steel Panther hit the stage with the first two songs from their new album. They followed with a five minute schtick where they insulted each other and gave time for the bass player to touch up his lipstick. I was a bit worried, but after that they dived into a bunch of glam metal party songs that had nice melodies and were pretty fun. Towards the end of the set they invited lots of women from the audience to come up to the stage and dance for a couple of songs. They cleared the stage, played one more, and called it a night. It was 8:30 when they wrapped up and the roadies cleared their gear from the stage.
At 9pm the lights went down and the opening music changed from playing the whole Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album, to a much louder version of Black Sabbath playing War Pigs. A third of the way into the song, or so, the music shifted to the opening strains of Dragonaught, the banner in front of the stage dropped, and Judas Priest charged into the song. They whipped us into a frenzy with the opener then went classic with a killer version of Metal Gods! Rob stomped around the stage as Richie and Glen lit up the song with their guitars. If Ritchie was the new guy on the last tour, now he was a perfectly integrated part of the Priest this time around. His lead work was brilliant all night long and he ran around the stage with gusto. Glen spent most of the evening hanging back and ripping out some of the greatest lead breaks in metal. Ian stayed at the back of the stage, constantly rocking back and forth, keeping the sledgehammer riffs perfectly locked in with Scott’s thunderous drumming. After Gods, they went back to Screaming For Vengeance and played Devil’s Child. For the next song they went way back and played a killer Victim Of Changes. Rob’s voice was piercingly beautiful. They returned to the new album for a song that already sounds like a classic. Halls Of Valhalla is as huge and epic as anything they have ever done. A chunky crunchy Love Bites followed, then they returned to the new album for the sludgy March Of The Damned. Turbo Lover rocked hard and Rob made us sing the chorus. We were happy to oblige. Rob chatted with the audience a little and said they would play an older slower song. Beyond The Realms Of Death went from slow and searing into an epic musical explosion. Jawbreaker rocked us hard then Rob had us sing every part of the lyric for Breaking The Law. We held up our end nicely. The stage got quiet and everyone moved back. A loud roar and a stream of smoke filled the room as Rob rode the Harley onstage, Hell Ben For Leather rocked hard and ended the set.
It only took a minute, maybe less, and Rob came back out and got the audience singing. When we had gone through enough vocal histrionics, the band came out and we sang You’ve Got Another Thing Coming with them. They kind of left the stage again, though Scott remained behind the kit, and they came right back for Living After Midnight. An intro snippet of Heavy Duty lead into band and audience singing Defenders Of The Faith. When the final strains faded out they took their bows, tossed drumsticks and guitar picks to the audience and said good night.
The house lights came up and we filed out with hearts filled with metal joy. The ride home was quick and smooth, and after dropping Ken in Shelburne, I walked in at 1:00am. What a great time, I’m so glad I went!