Usually, when it comes to my coverage of concerts I have very little emotional connection to the shows, I mean I’m a fan and I love the music but very few hit me right in my core, this show was one of the only ones that resonated with me on a deeper level. Growing up, my father was one of the main influences into my musical tastes, my Sunday mornings consisted on musical history lessons; everything from stoner and acid rock to classic outlaw country was the music that my dad mainly played. One of the main bands I remember the most that he consistently played on his record player was Deep Purple, one of the main bands that we can thank for setting the stage for what we know now as Heavy Metal. After my dad passed away back in 2007, the music he introduced me to took a much deeper meaning to me, it was a way to still connect with him, so when this show was announced, I knew I had to be there at any price. This show meant more to me than just an opportunity to photograph two iconic bands, it was my chance to spend the night with my father.
The opening act for the night, British rock act, The Temperance Movement helped set the bar for what the varied ages in attendance could expect from the night. The band played a classic rock-influenced set, drawing the attention of the crowd who arrived early. Frontman Phil Campbell had a very entertaining stage presence, with his powerful voice and Mick Jagger-influenced dance moves.
The second band of the night to hit the stage was the one that most of the people in attendance were there to see, Judas Priest. Now if you are a fan of heavy metal you know this band name all too well, but listening to the band through headphones does not do them justice, the live experience is where these legends make you realize why they have had the long and successful career that they have had. The band as a whole act as a complete unit on stage, Rob Halford demands the fans’ attention with his larger than life stage presence but also a crucial part of this band’s performance is guitarist Richie Faulkner. As you can tell by the images, he steals the spotlight on stage, which is something that is hard to do when your frontman is considered a god in the book of Heavy Metal. Overall, for a band that has been in the industry for over 50 years, they still know how to deliver a spectacular live experience.
The headliner of this one was the band to which we can pretty much owe everything that has happened over the past 60 years of heavy music, Deep Purple. It is not often that I get goosebumps in the photo pit or that I am in the photo pit long enough to lose track of which song of our 3 the band is on, but this was one of those times. With many memories of my childhood creeping back to me as I snapped away in the pit, I could help but think what my father would think about this special moment, he honestly probably would have shit his pants that I was there taking photos just feet from these musicians. Deep Purple, even though they are getting up there in age know how to deliver an amazing performance, from the insane keyboard and guitar solos that seem to last forever, to the iconic songs that the band performs, its not just a live show, it is also a lesson in music history. Songs like “Highway Star” and “Smoke On The Water“, that have become beloved classics across multiple generations were represented in the band’s set and played like the day they were written. I think the thing that amazed me the most about this band is that they still have fun performing! You can see it in the smiles on their faces as they play these tunes, yeah I had to use my dad language there.
The tour still has a few dates left before it ends in California at the end of September, so I suggest that you grab your tickets and buckle your seat belts for a night of amazing performances from two of the most influential hard rock bands in the history of music.