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Motorhead Slams One Home at Metal Masters Concert

September 1, 2008

By Jim Harrington

The Metal Masters concert was fun to watch. Among the curiosities seen during the nearly six-hour show Sunday at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View were:

1. A horse ridden onstage during Testament’s set

2. Inflatable sheep, a life-size sex doll and go-go dancers that shared the spotlight with Motorhead

3. Heaven and Hell’s gargoyle-dotted set, which seemed straight out of a B-grade horror movie

4. The line that separates Judas Priest from Spinal Tap-like parody vanishing before our eyes

5. Most unbelievably, at least one male fan who wasn’t dressed in a black rock concert T-shirt

Despite the interesting visuals, this show will be remembered mostly for how it sounded. To put it mildly, it sounded loud.

“Would you like us to play louder?” Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell asked the crowd.

Yes, please, because the blood has yet to jet out of listeners’ ears.

But that’s metal for you, and one should expect nothing less than ear-splitting volume from the summer’s biggest metal tour, featuring four of the genre’s most fabled acts. The lineup was intense, and only the headliner, Judas Priest, failed to deliver the goods.

The metal mayhem began with Alameda County’s own Testament, which thoroughly demonstrated why it’s considered one of the all-time great speed-metal bands. The fun continued with Motorhead as bassist- vocalist Lemmy and his two partners, Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee, made a case that no other act deserves to be called a “power trio.” Indeed, Motorhead put on the best set of the night.

“I’d like to thank Judas Priest and Black Sabbath for having us on this tour,” Lemmy said from the stage. “Most people don’t want to follow us. So good for them.”

Technically, Lemmy, Black Sabbath wasn’t on the bill. He was really sending the shout out to Heaven and Hell, not Sabbath, but we understood what he meant. More important, we’d later hear what he meant.

Fans were in for a treat once it came time for Heaven and Hell, a band featuring vocalist Ronnie James Dio, bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Vinny Appice. That’s the same lineup that recorded under the name Black Sabbath in the early ’80s, but it can’t call itself Sabbath because Ozzy Osbourne holds the claim. Thus, it uses the title of Sabbath’s 1980 album, “Heaven and Hell.”

Confusing, yes, but the end result was pretty straightforward at Shoreline: Listeners got to hear metal’s best vocalist, guitarist and bassist, as well as a pretty sensational drummer, pound out such heavy masterworks as “Mob Rules,”"Children of the Sea” and “Die Young.”

Still, amazingly, the critics in the men’s room between sets weren’t impressed.

“Judas,” remarked one guy, “will change everything.”

And that it did. Once Priest took the stage, the good times came to a crashing halt. The other bands on the bill were legitimately hard and heavy, but Priest was just plain silly. The set began with vocalist Rob Halford appearing in a sparkling cloak, with the hood pulled up over his head, and singing a first-person narrative about 16th century prophet Nostradamus.

It went downhill from there, as the show spiraled about in Dungeons and Dragons tomfoolery and ’80-era MTV gimmickry. Too bad it wasn’t a video, because then we could have changed the channel.

Reach Jim Harrington at jhar rington@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read his Concert Blog at www.ibabuzz.com/concerts.

Originally published by Jim Harrington, STAFF WRITER.

(c) 2008 Oakland Tribune. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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