There really is no such thing as “metal overload”. If there was this many epic metal shows per week every week of the year, that would be more like “metal heaven” (except all metalheads are Satanic, right? So, “metal hell”?)…
On Tuesday, November 11 and Wednesday, November 12, the Bay Area was graced by the Metal Gods (Devils?) of Slayer and Exodus (with a little help from Suicidal Tendencies), and on Sunday, November 16, Judas Priest (with a little help from Steel Panther)! To make this week even more monumental, all 3 shows were in General Admission theaters, which meant not having to see these bands at huge venues like Shoreline Amphitheater, Concord Amphitheater or the Cow Palace (as they have played at in recent years), and being able to get as close to the band as possible without having to shell out for, or sneak into, the expensive front row seats.
On Sunday, November 9, Slayer Nation descended upon Oakland Nation (and Raider Nation, as evident by a photo seen of guitarist Kerry King on the field at Oakland Coliseum that day), and two short days and one Fox Theater rehearsal later, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus would begin their nearly month-long tour here! Even though the L.A. Forum would be their next stop and official hometown show, the sheer fact that Slayer personnel is 50% Bay Area now, and Exodus is local, made these two shows at the 2,800 capacity Fox Theater basically like hometown shows. Chuck Billy of Testament, Death Angel, and other notable Bay Area musicians were in the house, as well as dozens of guests and friends wearing Slayer “Working” passes.
One of the highlights of both evenings was that Gary Holt performed with Exodus and Slayer (he is in both bands), and both sets were amazing. Exodus should have had more than a 6-song 30-minute set, but Suicidal Tendencies would have the middle 45-minute support slot to offer Gary Holt a break before performing another 90-minutes with Slayer. I was even questioned “Is Exodus playing next?” by more than a couple of people who showed up fashionably late, and I could only offer my condolences for having missed their opening set. The ticket says “7:30 pm” for a reason; for an awesome tour like this, it means “Arrive On Time!” Since Exodus’ new record was just released, they will undoubtedly be back soon on their own 90-minute set headlining tour…
For nearly 7 weeks for the Fall 2014 U.S. leg of their Redeemer of Souls tour, Judas Priest performed at mostly arenas, a couple of festivals, and a few theaters. Since the return of Rob Halford to the band in 2003, Judas Priest has performed locally at nothing smaller than Concord or Shoreline Amphitheaters. To finish out this week of metal, on November 16, the Bay Area would be one of the lucky few places to see the mighty Judas Priest at a theater — the recently renovated 3,000 capacity City National Civic of San Jose!
Touring with enough gear to fill an arena stage, they more than likely left a lot of it in the 3 semi-trailers that I saw backstage. Judas Priest doesn’t need the extra stage risers and lights and pyrotechnics to bring a great show! They didn’t even really need to give Steel Panther an hour to warm up the crowd, although they did a great job with their humor and over-the-top 1980’s hair metal shtick.
Judas Priest’s set list included many of the classic songs that they are expected to play, like Breaking the Law, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, and Living After Midnight, combined with 4 new songs from Redeemer of Souls, and a few others that haven’t been performed in some time.
None of the 44 weeks prior, as well as the 6 weeks after, have lived up to or will live up to this one week of METAL in mid-November 2014. Why can’t they all be like this?!
See more photos of all of your favorite Heavy Metal musicians at Alan Ralph‘s photo portfolio.