With Diamond Eye & Emerald City
Amplifier Bar, Perth
By Shane Pinnegar | Photography by Maree Richards
It’s a sultry Autumn Monday night in Perth, not a raincloud in sight, and we are privileged to be in the presence of a Heavy Metal Legend – ex-Judas Priest frontman Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, a man who has also worked with Yngwie Malmsteen, Iced Earth and many more.
Both support acts grasp the opportunity with both hands. Emerald City deliver a sleazy, rough and raw blast of hard rock, full of big riffs and solos, highlit by a wild Our Little Secret and new track So Far So Close To Me.
Diamond Eye took the stage as a 3 piece because “our drummer couldn’t make it simply because we don’t have one” – singer & rhythm guitarist Will Kelly stood in on the kit. They’re solid and heavier than normal in this formation, but a return to their traditional 4 man lineup for the recording of their debut album later this year in L.A. will be welcome.
It’s neither a surprise nor a disappointment that Ripper Owens focuses the start of his set on his highest profile gig – as lead singer of Judas Priest. This is the man whose story inspired the Hollywood movie Rockstar, when plucked from a Priest tribute band to front his idols, after all!
Through Painkiller, Burn In Hell, The Ripper, Victims Of Changes and more, his magnificent Halfordian scream is just incredible.
Ripping through Beyond Fear tune Scream Machine leaves no head unbanged, upping the ante into speedy power metal, before acoustic guitars are produced for a frighteningly good run through Iced Earth’s When The Eagle Cries. Owens’ voice is impeccable – he sings with an amazing range, making it look effortless, even whilst explaining that it’s hard work keeping his voice in shape, otherwise he’d drink beer all night and have fun!
Stand Up And Shout is a tribute to the late lamented Ronnie James Dio, reflecting Owens’ position with former Dio band members in The Dio Disciples, and his rendition of one of RJD’s signature tunes is simply magnificent.
There’s more Priest (Diamonds & Rust), solo material, Dio (The Mob Rules) and more still to come, with pickup band Killdozer nailing everything without missing a beat, ripping faces off through The Human Race and bone crunchingly heavy on One On One.
An encore of Priest’s arguably finest song Living After Midnight is playful and heavy, before segueing into the enormous riff and bassline of Sabbath-with-Dio destroyer Heaven & Hell and a majestic vocal performance worthy of the great Dio himself.
An eye-openingly good set by one of the finest metal singers of his generation, this show may have been criminally under-attended, but all those present will hold it close to their hearts for many years to come.
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE