Iron Maiden, Queensryche & Halford

Rob Halford
As with Iron Maiden, Rob Halford’s set was not a rehashing of the hits but more a celebration of classic Priest and an introduction to Halford’s powerful “Resurrection” release. “Resurrection” sounds like a natural progression from Halford’s last effort with Judas Priest, “Painkiller”.

Halford took the stage at 7:00PM to a small but loyal Star Lake audience kicking off the proceedings with the autobiographical, self-titled single from his new CD “Resurrection”. Halford struck a glaring pose and unleashed a vocal assault that most of his contemporaries are incapable of in the new millennium. Anyone doubting Halford’s vocal range certainly received an eye opening as the band attacked Fight’s “Into The Pit”.

Threatening to steal some of Halford’s thunder was guitarist Patrick Lachman. Simply put, he is a monster on stage. A muscular showman with intimidating facial expressions and a most aggressive stage presence. Besides the fact, Lachman plays with buzzsaw precision tackling such new Halford tunes as “Made In Hell” and the eerie “Nightfall”. Rounding out the lineup is guitarist Mike Chlasciak, drummer Bobby Jarzombek (ex Juggernaut and ex Riot) and bassist Ray Riendeau.

Halford also pulled out 4 songs from Judas Priest: “Stained Class”, “Breakin’ The Law”, “Hellion”/”Electric Eye” (which received the biggest reaction of their set) and the closer “Tyrant”.

Although Halford’s set started much too early, the band played a tight set and furthered proved that Rob Halford himself has made a triumphant return to his metal roots.

When The Pure Rock Shop first caught up with Queensryche on the second leg of their tour, in support of their latest studio release on Atlantic Records, Q2K, the band played a sold-out performance in front of a club crowd.

Now, with the addition of their Greatest Hits album (Virgin) which offers 14 tracks from their earlier releases and 2 bonus tracks, the band is warming up Iron Maiden fans at arenas and amphitheaters after Rob Halford’s opening set.

The band hit the stage with “Revolution Calling” and offered some other great older material throughout the set, including “Queen Of The Reich”, the majestic “Take Hold Of The Flame” and “Walk In The Shadows,” as well as “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Eyes Of A Stranger.” And though their performance in Pittsburgh, PA did not draw the legions that applauded the bands with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden recently, Queensryche’s performance was definitely worthy of applause.

They also delivered other mainstays like “Jet City Woman” and “Empire,” and newer cuts like “Falling Down” and “Sacred Ground,” which seemed to fit more smoothly into the shorter set. Though, they didn’t refrain for “Silent Lucidity,” which had been the encore in their club set, the fact that the show offered up a wider representation of the band from past to present was a big plus.

Iron Maiden
As stated both in the print media and by lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson himself, Iron Maiden’s “Brave New World” tour is not a rehash of their past glories, but an introduction to a new century of Maiden music madness.

Iron Maiden opened with 3 songs from their latest release “Brave New World”: “The Wickerman”, “Ghost Of Navigators” and the title cut. Dickinson still runs around the stage like a wildman using stage monitors as a catapult for his running leaps all the while sounding as powerful as his last visit to Pittsburgh as a solo artist several years ago.

The guitar trio of Adrian Smith, Jannick Gers and Dave Murray never played over each and all three guitarists were able to work as a cohesive unit.

Steve Harris looks virtually the same after 20 years of touring and is still the most distinctive bass player of the heavy metal era. Harris urges the crowd on to singalong with him and still appears to thoroughly enjoy himself on stage.

Maiden’s first nod to their past went back to the Paul Dianno era track “Wrathchild” a timeless track that even after almost 20 years does not sound dated.

”Blood Brothers” was a concert highlight with the band pulling off this most difficult track from the “Brave New World” CD. Also, the absolutely stunning “Out Of The Silent Planet” penned by Jannick Gers with the trademark galloping bass line is on its way to becoming another Maiden classic.

The band would only play one track from the Blaze Bayley era in “The Clansman” which went over quite well with the crowd. The overall set itself had a European feel to it in that many of the longer, intricate songs were played, ignoring the typically shorter attention span of American concert goers.

Other classic Maiden songs that made the show were “The Trooper”, “The Evil Men Do” and encore tracks, “Number Of The Beast”, “Iron Maiden” and set closer “Sanctuary”. This was much to the disappointment of many lukewarm Iron Maiden as their set did not feature such tracks as “Run To The Hills” or “Flight Of Icarus”.

After about one year into the current lineup, Iron Maiden still come off live very energetic and if anything the short time split with Dickinson and subsequent reunion has revitalized the band allowing them once again take their place among the leaders of the millennium metal movement.