2008 Metal Masters Tour – Part 1 – [Live]

Monday, 08 September 2008

This is Part 1 of 2 of our coverage of the Metal Masters Tour featuring Judas Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motörhead and Testament. Check out Part 2 here.

I really tried to write a clever opening paragraph to this review, honestly I did. But damn dude, this is Judas Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motörhead, and Testament. What could I possibly say that would even begin to describe the magnitude of a show like this? You’re right, absolutely nothing. So rather than waste anymore of your time, I'm just going to get right into it, and do my best to convey to you what an incredible evening of metal this was.

Hitting the stage at precisely 5:30 PM and immediately launching into "Over The Wall,” Bay Area metal gods Testament proceeded to put on nothing short of an old-school thrash-metal clinic. I am happy to report that this band is back, and with a fucking vengeance. I really can't put my finger on why, but Testament sounded "heavier" than I think I have ever heard them, and I've seen them at least a dozen times over the years. As they ripped through a few more classics from both The New Order and Practice What You Preach, It became apparent that time has treated these guys well. Chuck Billy sounded just as good, if not better, than he ever has, and to "borrow" a quote from a friend of mine, "Dude, Chuck survived cancer, and there is NOTHING more metal than that!"  And you know what? I couldn't agree more. As for the rest of the band, Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson provided a precision-like twin-guitar attack, while bassist Greg Christian and drummer Paul Bostaph kept the stage vibrating with their heavy-as-fuck rhythm section. And although it was nice to hear the old songs, it was "More Than Meets The Eye,” "Henchmen Rides" and "The Formation of Damnation,” all off of their latest offering, The Formation of Damnation, that I was stoked to hear, as the band proved they haven't lost a step. Testament could not have been any tighter, and totally steamrolled their way-too-short set. And as if all this wasn't enough, the band were joined on stage by Motörhead, who did not come out with their instruments, but rather in costume, and with a horse. I'm not going to try and explain it, but it was a typical end of the tour prank, and something you missed if you saw this tour anywhere else. Testament were the PERFECT band to open the show on this tour, and I hope they are going to stick around for awhile.

Fucking Lemmy. The guy casually strolls out onto the stage with his custom-hand-carved Rickenbacker, his trademark cowboy hat, sunglasses, and a cigarette dangling from his lips, walks up to his mic and very casually says, "Good afternoon, we're Motörhead, and we play Rock and Roll.” And with that the band launches into "Dr. Rock.” Even at 63 years old, Lemmy Kilmister is nothing short a total bad ass, and he is more metal than you and I will ever be. He is Motörhead, and as I watched him on stage it was hard to believe that he still has all of the energy and passion for his music that he did the first time I saw the band some twenty-three years ago. As for Phil Campbell and Mikky Dee, they haven't lost a single step either. Dee is still one of the best metal drummers of all time, while Campbell was creating a wall of sound with his guitar while making it all look totally effortless. And although I was a bit disappointed not to hear anything off their just released Motörizer album, I sure as hell can't complain about the set list, which included classics "Stay Clean,” "Metropolis,” "Killed By Death,” "Over The Top,” and one of the most underrated Motörhead songs ever, "Going To Brazil.” It was the perfect song to hear on this still-early sun-drenched, beer-soaked evening of metal. A nice touch to all this was the huge stage backdrop, which featured the cover of the new album—and is some of the best artwork the band has ever used. It suits them quite nicely. Damn this band were on top of their game tonight, and I cannot wait to see them when they return to the Bay Area on their own headlining tour, hopefully later this year. As they wrapped up their set (complete with inflatable sheep and blow-up dolls, courtesy of Testament) with a heavier-than-fuck rendition of "Overkill,” all I could do was stand there and let the opening lyrics of the song sum up my day so far. "Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud….”


Motorizer — Motörhead. Buy it NOW on
The Formation of Damnation — Testament. Buy it NOW on

“Demonic Refusal” by Testament – [mp3]
“D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)” by Testament – [mp3]

Related Articles:
Re-issues of Demonic and The Gathering – [Album Reviews]
The Head Cat – [Live Review]

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