Concert Review: JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE, POP EVIL – 7/15/09

Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Pop Evil

7/15/09

DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI

Ah, so my summer of music finally kicks off and it was a good show by all three bands. Unlike with Cruefest last year, we had pavilion seats this time, so it was nice not to have to stand up or sit in the lawn the whole show if I didn’t want to. Plus the show started at 7PM, so the sun wasn’t as strong and clouds were coming and going to keep things from getting too warm. We had perfect seats. The middle of the center section, right behind the soundboards. It was pretty cool to look at all the gear and watch the tech guys do their thing (plus I got to see the setlists, though I already had a good idea what to expect).

Between lawn and pavilion seating, DTE can hold about 15,000 people. The turnout was solid (I estimate around 7,000) but nothing spectacular. It wasn’t a sellout like Cruefest was but the crowd was, expectedly, way different. Cruefest appeals to a younger crowd that is much more likely to use their money on a “rock ‘n’ roll show”, while Priest and ‘snake brought in a crowd of 30, 40 and 50 year olds (I even saw a few people who looked to be into their 60s!). But let me tell you, it was a very vocal enthusiastic older age bracket.

I was planning on buying Whitesnake and Judas Priest tour shirts (Didn’t just want a logo shirt, I needed commemoration!) online, but the entrance we went in had no line at all for the merchandise shop, so my girl convinced me to get a Priest shirt now so I wouldn’t have to pay shipping later. I decided on the “Welcome to the Home of British Steel” tour shirt. I’d show a picture, but maybe it’s really new because their own online mechandise shop doesn’t list it. I’ll still have to pick up a ‘snake shirt though.

Pop Evil setlist

These are the songs played, though I may have misplaced one or two songs in the order:

“Breathe”
“3 Seconds to Freedom”
Dave Grahs guitar solo (short, but really good)
“Rolling Stone”
“100 in a 55”
“Shinedown”
“Another Romeo & Juliet”
“Hero”

When I found out over a month ago that this Grand Rapids, MI band was going to open, I quickly went to their MySpace page. I really like the band name and they have a really cool logo, and some of the guys have a cool look to them, but I didn’t like the music at all. It’s standard “post-grunge” hard rock. If you’re a fan of Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback, Saving Abel, etc., you’d like Pop Evil.

At the time of listening to their page, “Hero” was a mild radio hit, but I guess “100 in a 55” is a top ten rock radio song now, so the small crowd that was there so far enjoyed it. Tickets said the show was to start at 7PM, but Pop Evil hit the stage about 6:40. The crowd was extremely small at this point. Lead singer Leigh Kakaty (who kinda reminds me of Stephen Pearcy, not for singing, but just the way he looks/acts) did a good job of getting the still tiny crowd into the act and bassist Matt DiRito put on a great show as well. Kakaty walked all the way up into the lawn and sang “Hero”.

Whitesnake setlist

“Best Years”
“Bad Boys”
“Love Ain’t No Stranger”
“Slow An’ Easy”
“Lay Down Your Love”
Reb Beach/Doug Aldrich guitar solos
“Cryin’ In The Rain” (includes Chris Frazier drum solo)
“Is This Love”
“Give Me All Your Love”
“Is This Love”
“Here I Go Again”
“Still Of The Night”

The Good To Be Bad World Tour has slithered into Clarkston! I was happy to see we got TWO songs from Good to Be Bad (they could’ve played that whole album and I would’ve been fine with it). I guess they’ve been switching off on between “Best Years” and “Fool For Your Loving” at shows. I think we got the better deal with “Best Years”!

I’ve always thought “Bad Boys” and “Cryin’ In The Rain” were just okay songs, but they sounded great live. This is perhaps the best Whitesnake lineup David has ever assembled. Doug Aldrich was just amazing and I really enjoyed the dual solo he did with Beach (though Doug definitely outshined Reb). I know some people get bored with solos, but to me, it’s always fantastic to watch great musicians get spotlighted, especially with DTE’s video screens. We got tons of closeups.

Coverdale’s voice was great. I think the whole Good to Be Bad album is some of his finest recorded performances, but I wondered how much of that was studio work. The answer is not very much, if any at all. That guy can WAIL!!!

I can’t complain too much about the set list, though I would have traded “Bad Boys”, “Is This Love”, “Cryin’ In The Rain” and “Here I Go Again” for “Don’t Break My Heart Again”, “Walking the the Shadow of the Blues”, “Ready to Rock” and “Slide It In”. Coverdale mentioned that this year was the 25th anniversary of the Slide It In album… but they didn’t play “SLIDE IT IN”!!!! >=( That’s one of my favorite Whitesnake tunes.

By the third song, pretty much everyone who was going to show up was there. I wasn’t sure how people would react to Whitesnake (thinking maybe most were there for Priest) but the crowd definitely knew and appreciated Whitesnake!

Judas Priest setlist

“Rapid Fire”
“Metal Gods”
“Breaking The Law”
“Grinder”
“United”
“You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise”
“Living After Midnight”
“The Rage”
“Steeler”
“The Ripper”
“Prophecy”
“Hell Patrol”
“Victim Of Changes”
“Freewheel Burning”
“Diamonds & Rust”
“You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”

And now for the British Steel 30th Anniversary Tour! I have to be honest, British Steel isn’t really a Priest favorite of mine. There are some classics on that album, but overall, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. I would have much rather heard the “hits”, since this was my first Priest show, but you take what you can get.

For what it was, it was a very good show. Rob moved around and didn’t hang his head the whole show, so that was good and the crowd really popped when he’d start wailing. “Breaking the Law and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” went over the most, but “Prophecy” got a pretty good reaction too. I really loved hearing “The Rage” live. They had a really cool set up with the smoke, lasers and changing backdrops.

Overall, this entire concert gets a big thumps up from me. Pop Evil was decent, Whitesnake was great and Priest was too, they were only hindered by the setlist, in my opinion. Well worth the $32.50 or whatever I paid for. If they’re coming to your area, check ’em out.

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Posted on July 16, 2009, in Concert Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I thought the show was great we arrived during Whitesnake’s first song. Coversdale’s voice was much better than expected (he had a poor showing a feww years back at the Fox opening up for Scorpions). Halford was very good except on Freewheel Burning, had trouble understanding the words. FYI Priest played Hell Patrol after Prophecy.

  2. Oh, you’re right! I forgot all about “Hell Patrol”. Thanks!

    So you were at this show too?

  3. Glad to hear The Cov’s voice is back on form, saw him over here in the UK with Def Leppard not so long ago and it sounded shot. Relieved it was just temporary!

  4. Yeah, that definitely wasn’t the case here, Eddie!

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