Live Reviews : Tim Ripper Owens live in Melbourne
Tim “Ripper” Owens @The Hi-Fi – Melbourne/Australia
May 17th, 2012
The cold Thursday night in Melbourne did not scare away the metalheads that gathered around the Hi-Fi to see the man that once had to fill the shoes that nobody less than Rob Halford as lead singer for legendary Judas Priest! How many people on Earth can actually say that? Only him, as Al Atkins came before Rob… and then he moved on to Iced Earth, and finally Yngwie Malmsteen, besides his own solo project and his band Beyond Fear…
Before all that, he started as a singer in an American cover band of Judas Priest, that ended up composing their own material and releasing under the name of Winters Bane… if you don’t have Winters Bane’s “Heart of a Killer”, from 1993, stop what you’re doing now and go get it. Satisfaction guaranteed, Priest meets Pantera, riff machine with high-pitched Metal screaming… ok, back to Earth now!
BerserkerfoX opened the night but unfortunately I missed it due to other commitments (yes, ok, day job), apologies for not covering them properly here, but what I heard about their gig was really positive, so keep it up!
Next opening act were local legends Pegazus – now they are the kind of band that reminds us what Metal is all about: raw, heavy, biker-style, muscular, pounding, powerful… man this band is a powerhouse! I had their albums back in Brazil, before I moved to Australia, as one day a friend of mine who runs a local CD shop said “forget all this nu metal c**p that has been going on in the nineties, this is old school Metal from Down Under!”… Some fifteen years later here I am seeing them live…Road Warrior, from their latest release In Metal We Trust, is a classic of epic proportions!
Local veterans Black Majesty followed them. I had seen them before opening for Blind Guardian, and they are great. They play competent and catchy power metal, and have awesome musicians. If that’s not enough, lead singer leads very well and looks like Ronnie James Dio as a bonus! What else do you want?
After such an exciting warm up, we’re greeted by the man that once sent shivers down axe Gods Glenn Tipon and K. K. Downing while singing “The Ripper”… no frills, straight into the classic “Painkiller”, and if the pain is gone we then go “Burn in Hell!” Priest assault! And then he goes “what is my name?… what is my name?”… The Ripper, that’s for sure! OK, he is not Rob Halford and the competent band around him is not Judas Priest, but these were honest renditions of these classic songs… Still dwelling on the Priest domain (I could live there forever): Victim of Changes!
Change of gears as the band delivers Scream Machine, from the Beyond Fear debut album… The man then interacts with the crowd, and says that he remember coming to Australia last time with Judas Priest… that was five bands ago for him! Happy to be back, he says they will cover the harder material first so he can start drinking beer… and in acoustic style they deliver a beautiful version of “When the Eagle Cries” by Iced Earth, and acoustic evolving into electric version of “Diamonds and Rust”, originally by Joan Baez, made famous by Judas Priest… actually Ritchie Blackmore’s renaissance style band Blackmore’s Night covered this song too, be sure to check it out…
Finally going all the way back to his beginnings as a singer, he mentions how he joined Winters Bane at a very young age and recorded Heart of a Killer, and then delivers the song of the same name, with its catchy riffs and absolute beautiful closing guitar solos!
This concert took place just two days after the anniversary of the passing of legendary Ronnie James Dio, who was for sure one of Tim’s influences, and according to him “best singer ever in any style of music”! So as homage, we’re presented with a magnificent version of “Stand Up and Shout”, from Dio’s band first album Holy Diver…
The night was far from being over. From his solo album Play My Game comes “Starting Over”, and then back to Priest with “Bloodstained” (the second from his era with the band) followed by an attempt at “Rising Force” by Yngwie Malmsteen that was cut off after about one minute… half joking half disguising his frustration he turns at the band and asks “what the f**k happened” they all blame the drummer for going out of tempo… he then goes “well we’ll then need to get another drummer”… so surprisingly they go into a Priest song you don’t hear live quite often these days, “Desert Plains”, followed by Beyond Fear’s “The Human Race”, and making the crowd cheer loudly with “One on One”, third and last from his era with the Metal Gods..
After a quick pause, encore starts off with the absolute anthem “Living After Midnight”, and if that was not enough, another tribute to Dio with his Black Sabbath era seminal, groundbreaking, magnum opus “Heaven and Hell”…one thing is for sure: after all that, the singer lost his voice, and we all lost our breath and speech, so to speak… What a night!
Burn In Hell
Victim of Changes
When the Eagle Cries
Diamonds and Rust
Heart of a Killer
Stand Up and Shout
The Human Race
One on One
Living After Midnight
Heaven and Hell