I’ve always loved music. I don’t remember much from childhood at all, but I do remember music being in the background, it’s funny how one song can take me back to a memory I’d long since thought forgotten, like playing as a kid with Neil Diamond playing in the background, which explains why he’s always been a favourite of mine, partly because I inherited that taste from my dad (we’ve seen him live twice and are seeing him again this year) but over the years I’ve developed tastes of my own.
Heavy Metal came into my life during my secondary school days, I don’t remember how exactly it happened, I just found myself relating too and liking music from the past than I did from the present, a feeling that I still have now, I couldn’t tell you the names of most bands or acts in the charts now, but I can tell you every member from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath or Judas Priest.
Out of those three, Judas Priest are probably my favourite, of all time actually, the first song of theirs I heard was The Hellion/Electric Eye, which was the first track on their ‘Greatest Hits’ album I bought on a whim when I was about 13, I was hooked since then. I now own every album they’ve put out, even the live ones and the one’s from the 90’s no-one likes to talk about. They were the first band I saw live, when I was 16, a whole six years ago, six years as of last week actually, it’s odd that I can’t remember much of what happened last week, yet I can recall in vivid detail several moments from that show: jumping up and down like a madman when the curtain first fell, said curtain getting caught in the lighting rigs and having to be rescued by several stage hands, being mesmerised by Rob Halford’s voice, and the room filling with smoke only to clear to a vision of Halford himself on stage astride his Harley-Davidson.
This moment sticks with me as moment where my life was made better by music, whenever I’m having a bad day or down, music is like a safety net, I can escape to listen to Judas Priest, or if I aren’t in the mood people like: Elton John, The Beatles and Billy Joel all of them have played a part in improving my life as well as moulding my somewhat eclectic tastes (I bet Elton John and Judas Priest aren’t mentioned together that often).
Since that day I’ve seen a few more bands and singers on stage, all of which fly by far too fast, almost as if time accelerates with the music itself, here’s a somewhat incomplete list of who I’ve seen live and my memories from it, here presented in no particular order.
On both occasions I went with my dad to see him, Neil Diamond is something we’ve shared since I was a kid, I was only 8 when I first saw him, he came to my hometown and my dad got tickets, we’d always swore we’d see him again, but it took us 11 years and we saw him again, it amazes me how he still sells arenas and performs to his standard at 75 years old, you can’t teach longevity.
As previously mentioned, this was what kick-started my concert viewing days as an ‘adult’ even though I was only 16 at the time, I haven’t stopped seeing live music since, I’d just left school (somewhere I hated) so this also represents another turning point for me, I can’t thank Judas Priest enough for helping me get through life through my teenage years and into my twenties.
Queen and Adam Lambert
What sticks with me about this was the opening silhouette of Brian May playing his guitar before their curtain raised and they launched into One Vision. I went with a friend who is also a big Queen fan, I hadn’t watched much of Adam Lambert beforehand and was blown away by his voice and presence. A true successor to Freddie, and a wonderful night. These are another act that I’m seeing again this year.
Black Sabbath (4th February 2017)
I put the date in the subheading because it’s a significant one, that was Black Sabbath’s last ever concert. In their home town, and I was there. A great night that was almost ruined by the city of Birmingham’s terrible transport system, that aside it was truly a night to remember as Sabbath were sent off in style as the pioneers that they are.
I’d always loved Maiden live DVD’s and have a lot of them at home now, but the opportunity to see them on their last few tours escaped me, however my friend who I saw Queen with also wanted to see Maiden, so we grabbed tickets for their latest tour as soon as we could. Maiden are peerless in terms of putting on a show, pageantry wise, with their elaborate sets and anthem-filled set lists, it was an experience that seemed to fly by far too quickly.
So, that is an incomplete list, hopefully an expanding one in the future, in the meantime, get out and support your local music scene, you never know who you’re watching might one day become.