Concert Review

All Hail to the Kings of Rock, Judas Priest, Saxon and Uriah Heep rock Glasgow to it’s core

When it comes to pure Heavy Rock/Metal, three of the finest exponents of their genre were in Glasgow’s OVO Hydro to show they can still mix it with the best. The three bands served up a night to remember.

This is one long awaited show! Originally Judas Priest were booked to be on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, however Ozzy’s health and other factors kept pushing that run of shows back. After going back to the drawing board, Priest scheduled a tour to hit the road, bringing some first-class chums along for the ride in the shape of Saxon and Uriah Heep.

So here we are, Scotland’s answer to The Hollywood Bowl! The ever-changing named venue that is currently called the OVO Hydro. The purpose-built conference centre looms over the SECC, under the watchful eye of the Finneston Crane. The Hydro interior is a concrete-slabbed, cold place where the corridors echo of a time past, as revellers reminisce aloud about places such as The Glasgow Apollo. This venue has long since closed its doors but is still remembered and cherished by all who went there to see their favourite bands as well as those adorning the stage to perform. The corporate vibe of the Hydro wrangles with some. The all-seating arrangement in place takes the decision out of the hands of those who would rather stand and watch a rock show, as opposed to those who might be too conscious to stand up, blocking the view of those sitting behind. We’ve come tonight to see three of the best Heavy Metal acts around, still riding the crest of their decades’ long wave, not Shakespeare! Even though the original wave of ‘metallers’ maybe of advancing years, at least let us stand and mosh! 

Allegedly taking their name from a David Copperfield character, Uriah Heep are a band who have earned the respect of Rock n’ Roll fans across the globe! Having first hit the scene back in the late 60s. With an impressive, 40 million plus albums sold worldwide, the English progressive rock band have constantly stayed true to their roots and made nothing but good music. Fronted by English- Canadian singer, Bernie Shaw, the lads set about opening up tonight’s show. Watching Mick Box is a lesson on Rock n’ Roll, super-coolerie! The ease, comfort and sheer look of enjoyment on his face as he pulls out those classic killer licks is definitely something the new pups in the game should aspire to. The whole band fit together like one hell of a Heavy Metal jigsaw puzzle.

Follow Uriah Heep online: FACEBOOK / WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM

Next up for our listening and viewing pleasure was Saxon. Everyone’s favourite metal frontman, Bill Byford strode onto stage as red lights washed over the stage to the hiss of stage smoke being ejected into the atmosphere. This slightly darker, stage lit performance was nothing short of brilliant. The baton was passed from Uriah Heep to Saxon and without dropping a beat, Saxon took off running! With a career spanning 49 years and over 23 million records sold worldwide, Saxon are one hell of a heavy weight! Reintroducing myself to their 1980 album “Wheels of Steel” before the show, gave me a sense of nostalgia as this album was one on heavy rotation in my youth, albeit a few years after its original release. Saxon took charge, and Byford looking like a sea captain in his long black button clad overcoat, steered the good ship metal forward as the boys played a doozie of a set! My only complaint was that their set was too short! More Saxon please? Thank you!


As the stage was set for the Judas Priest, I noticed several Cry Baby Wah pedals dotted about the edge of the stage, just about shoulder height to me and less than an arm’s length away! The devil on shoulder through this was for photographer participation! How cool would that be, slap that Cry baby when you fancied and see what sound comes out of the guitars! I know all the other photographers must have been thinking the same! This was kind of like a big red button saying, ‘Don’t push me’! 

So, after managing not to touch the Wah, the lights around the auditorium went down, we were moments away from Judas Priest to melt our faces off. As the intro music faded, the hundred plus foot curtain shot upwards, revealing Judas Priest right as their first number ‘Panic Attack’, swiftly followed with ‘Rapid Fire’ and then ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ kicked in! Rob Halford, shiny bald head, big white beard and dark sunglasses, looking God-like, clad in black jacket with shiny sparkly bits strode down the steps and across the stage. His voice bottoming on the lows and in a blink, hitting the high end, just as we know and love!  Where to look? The stage seemed very wide as all the equipment and stage settings from the Uriah and Saxon had been packed away. The clarity of the music, ever right in front of the speakers was good, although after the fact some people said where they were, they could not hear too well and that the sound was muddy. Where I was, it was bloody good! 

The three songs went by in a flash! The whole band went to 110% and played their socks off! Halford took a moment to have a quick costume change and came on stage and wasted no time getting on with the show, flicking the V’s to me in the process! I’d have preferred Devil Horns, but I’ll take a good fingering any day! Let’s be serious for a moment! Judas Priest know how to rock! We all know each and every song is a masterclass in Heavy Metal. We all know the important part the band played in the formulating and invention for heavy Metal as we know it. For three songs duration, I did not have a care in the world…That’s the power of music. Even jostling for position to get the shots, the music pumps into your veins and into your soul. Priest are more than just a band playing. Their music is iconic and their ability to deliver that music on stage at that level is humbling.  In short, all bands made tonight what it was with each band doing their thing and adding to the collective presence of what will be a memorable night for thousands of people. 

What would have been nice would have been access to shoot Rob on stage with his bike and the fireworks but being invited to go forth and multiply after three songs is good enough. Thank you OVO Hydro and your sterile concrete walls and lack of toilets. As a venue maybe you’re growing on me and more importantly, growing on the fans that come in their droves to watch the best live acts on the planet.

PS. I did not touch the Cry Baby Wah-Wah, honest! 😉

Follow Judas Priest online: FACEBOOK / WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM

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