LIVE (Retro): Judas Priest & Megadeth @ The Knick, 01/14/1991

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30 years ago tonight, January 14, 1991: JUDAS PRIEST and MEGADETH at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany. (Photos by Mark Kurtzner)

This was the ‘Painkiller’ era for Priest and ‘Rust In Peace’ tour for Megadeth, both now beloved albums by each band.  ‘Painkiller’ was kind of a return to form (on record, they always crushed live) for Judas Priest, after the wretchedly bad ‘Turbo’ record and woefully pedestrian ‘Ram It Down’. And ‘Rust In Peace’ is a lot of people’s favorite MEGADETH record, although I prefer the first three – I know then-new guitarist Marty Friedman is a wondrous technician as a guitar player and all that, but in MEGADETH he always seemed to be a light-touch widdly-widdly guy in make-believe thrash metal costume to me. Your results may differ.

Photos by Mark Kurtzner

Anyway, awesome bill, cool show: Megadeth hit the stage with the old favorite “Wake Up Dead” and played a well-balanced set which combined new tracks with more vintage songs from ‘Peace Sells’ and ‘So Far, So Good, So What’, but nothing from the raw debut ‘Killing is my Business’.  The band featured, of course, bandleader Dave Mustaine and longtime bassist David Ellefson, with new drummer Nick Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman, a wondrous technician, if perhaps lacking in prior thrash metal pedigree.  The band played hard and headbanged, but prior Megadeth area shows at the Palace Theater and Colonie Coliseum had been more fun, due to the fact that, this night, the Knick was a sterile, over-securitied police state of a place for a metal show – assigned seating, no open floor, strict security that kept potential stage-rushers and moshers in their seat, no vibe whatsoever.

The mighty Priest followed, starting (instead of ending) with Rob Halford on the Harley and old headbanging standard “Hell Bent For Leather”.  And, of course, they delivered a bulletproof setlist with the usual favorites, plenty of new ‘Painkiller’ headbangers, and some key deep tracks (“Beyond The Realms of Death”!), with a huge, light-and-ramp covered stage set, and leather aplenty.  Priest live is never a disappointment, nor was it this night.  But as with the opening band, Priest’s prior area shows at SPAC, RPI, Glens Falls Civic, and the Palace were much rowdier and more fun, from a crowd perspective – the security kept it civil and orderly, too much so in fact. That said, the music was mighty, bloodthirsty, and heavy, both bands delivered in spades, even if the audience couldn’t participate as enthusiastically as at prior area gigs.  All hail the Priest, and Megadeth.

MEGADETH’s setlist:

Wake Up Dead
Hook in Mouth
Hangar 18
The Conjuring
In My Darkest Hour
Take No Prisoners
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Peace Sells
Anarchy in the U.K.

JUDAS PRIEST’s setlist:

Hell Bent for Leather
Grinder
The Hellion/Electric Eye
All Guns Blazing
The Sentinel
Metal Gods
Night Crawler
The Ripper
Beyond the Realms of Death
Riding on the Wind/Drum solo
A Touch of Evil
Victim of Changes
Painkiller
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
Breaking the Law
Living After Midnight
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Megadeth Photo Gallery by Mark Kurtzner

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