I’m still here. Well, not here exactly, everywhere but here. There’s been stuff, and things. Separately they’re easy to handle, put them together and it’s like trying to fill a balloon full of marbles.
I’ve had moments of escape though, one big long one has been not opening more than about three emails in the last month, I’m never good at that stuff in general but now I have The Fear of my inbox, I’ll tackle that next week. Maybe.
This week had so much potential for joy. On Tuesday night I went to see Judas Priest and on Wednesday it was Iron Maiden. They both played the same hall in the SECC but what a difference 24hrs can make.
I walked in from the city centre for Priest and it was so deserted that until I was standing in the hall looking at the stage I was sure the gig had been cancelled. The centre of Hall 4 had been curtained off to disguise the lack of audience, just a few hundred in a room that holds thousands. The stage show was amazing, old-school lights and pyro with a clear, loud sound to suit. KK Downing, the original guitarist, had left earlier in the year to be replaced by a bog-standard modern guitarist who spends too much time in front of the mirror trying to be Randy Rhoads. Soulless perfect shredding replaced KK’s frantic wailing and winging it, the harmony parts with Glen Tipton sounded all wrong and much more that I’d expected, the heart was missing from the music. Scott Travis had started that process when joined all those years ago anyway, technical and dry drumming that never really fitted the older tunes. Talking of which, Never Satisfied from their first album Rocka Rolla which nobody’s heard live for nearly 40 years sounded oddly contemporary and was the best song of the night for me.
Rob Halford was in good voice, the screechy outbursts only crept in towards the two-hour mark of the two and a half hour set. He seemed a little crestfallen at the view from the stage but soldiered on, even getting the audience ( I really can’t say crowd) to sing all of Breaking tha Law without him singing a word, that was cool.
The stage dynamic between Rob and the new guitarist was interesting, Rob and KK always had their little moments together during the shows which occasionally were uncomfortably replicated here, otherwise Rob ignored him. I wonder what the real story is with KK leaving.
Economics, KK leaving, the lack of a decent recent album, Rob Halford walking around in a silver hooded dressing gown singing “I am Nostradamus…”, I don’t know why the hall was empty, but exactly 30 years after the first time I saw Priest in the Apollo the band I loved, still love, was missing. I left feeling sad, after seeing them 20 times or so over those 30 years that’s a new one for me.
Fast forwards and I had to park further away the next night, always a good sign. The roads were busy, the carparks getting full, the concourse and merchandise stalls crowded but the hall still wasn’t full, Maiden didn’t fill Hall 4, that was unexpected, no seating just the floor space.
The stage show itself was good, the physical set up wasn’t as good as Priest’s, nor was the sound, for the first hour all we could hear was drums and bass, three guitarists on stage and not one of them properly audible. It did get better, and louder, and when the they got away from the 9 minute long baroque efforts of recent times and played some songs it was a good gig.
Bruce Dickinson’s voice was brilliant I thought, strong and in the right key all night, he’s annoying energetic for a 50 year old as well. Eddie made his appearances, once as a wander-on to play some guitar and at the end in huge monster form from behind the drum kit. I love that stuff, I’m glad I’ve never grown up.
Not perfect, but I left in a better frame of mind than the night before. Bought Holly a programme too, she loves Maiden. Next Gary Numan and Alice Cooper. Hmm, it really is all about the 70s for me isn’t it.
Outdoors? Aye, I can see it oot the windae (see below from last night) and while I’m driving. I have however squeezed in a visit to Haglöfs and I have a bunch of stuff to show and tell for 2012 including new lightweight footwear and pack range. I am excited.
I’m also packing a rucksack later today
Thank Jimmy for that.