Tag Archives: damon johnson

Judas Priest @ Prudential Center (3/20/2018)

Artist: Judas Priest
Venue: Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
Opener: Saxon and Black Star Riders
Date: 3/20/2018
Label: Epic Records

As a card-carrying Heavy Metal fan for pretty much four decades now, I was super excited that 2018 would not only find us receiving a brand-new Judas Priest album, but also a healthy tour that would visit a lot of states on our side of the pond. The tour was sure to be an exciting one since The Priest had lined out that both Black Star Riders and the legendary Saxon would be joining them as they celebrated “Firepower”. Sadly, the band wouldn’t be hitting any of the Big Apple arenas outside of Long Islands Nassau Coliseum but that was fine since the nearby Prudential Center in Newark, NJ would be on the docket. Here’s my summary of the rock-solid event.

Black Star Riders: The BSR were up first and if you don’t know too much about the band, you should know that this began as an offshoot to a rebuilt Thin Lizzy. After a brief reunion tour by that famous moniker, the new material was released under a new branding out of respect of their storied past and would find Damon Johnson, Robbie Crane and Chad Szeliga joining up with Scott Gorham and Ricky Warwick. The band is a solid one and has been signed to Nuclear Blast Records for a few years now. Their set is a blending of new sure to be classics along with numbers that are long in our musical hearts from the Thin Lizzy catalog. Tonight, they would not deliver too many of the legendary bands numbers outside of “Jailbreak” and instead would focus on their new albums material. Speaking frankly, I would have preferred that they mixed it up a little better since there was a lot of people coming in tonight that would be getting into place by the time Saxon would hit and I think more would have tried to be earlier if they knew more of the songs. That being said, the early and short set that they delivered was a solid one. I still need to get the new album myself and once I do you can count on a comprehensive overview here on the website. Now it was time for Saxon so all the excite right? You betcha.

BSR Set: All Hell Breaks Loose, Jailbreak, Heavy Fire, Soldiertown, The Killer Instinct, When The Night Comes In, Kingdom Of The Lost, Bound For Glory.
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Heaven and Hell @ Jones Beach Theater (9/8/2007)

Heaven and Hell have been kicking ass since the decision to reform the mark 2 version of Black Sabbath and now they would continue to smite the unbelievers with the Metal by taking both Queensryche and Alice Cooper on the road with them. We headed down to Jones Beach Ampitheatre to enjoy this one and those Metal heads who wish to learn more can click the logo to see our item on the main PiercingMetal.com site.

Logo - Heaven and Hell

Artist: Heaven and Hell
Venue: Jones Beach Ampitheater (New York, NY)
Opener: Queensryche, Alice Cooper
Date: 9/8/2007
Label: Rhino Entertainment

I honestly felt that I was present when Heavy Metal history was being made as Heaven and Hell first toured earlier this year and stopped at New York City’s own famed Radio City Music Hall. The show sold out in minutes and the entire event would be captured and released on individual DVD and CD’s and since then each of these items has become quite the blockbuster seller. The band then made sure to hit as many regions as possible and after NYC they would visit New Jersey with both Megadeth and Machinehead as tour support but soon each of those bands would need to adventure out on their own tours so if you caught one of those shows you were a lucky Metal head. This change in opener allowed HAH to set up an end of Summer appearance with the legendary Alice Cooper and the mighty Queensryche, and for this particular show we would travel out to the Jones Beach Amphitheatre in Wantagh, NY (or Long Island to many readers) to see what was happening. Here is how the night went down for those who were not present.
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“Slave To The System” by Slave To The System

Artist: Slave To The System
Title: “Slave To The System”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 2/21/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

What do you get if you combine the forces of talent that have worked with both Queensryche and Brother Cane? Well, the answer is very simply “Slave To The System” a Hard Rock combo that brings drummer Scott Rockenfield together with Damon Johnson, Roman Glick and Kelly Gray. Gray worked in Queensryche for one album and tour while Johnson and Glick were members of the powerhouse Brother Cane. Two entirely different aspects of the musical spectrum with one being a Progressive Rock side while the other mainstream Hard Rock. The result is a very pleasing Hard Rock journey that has some serious radio potential on its debut and self-titled release. Damon Johnson has a great voice and it shows throughout the record that he has not lost his touch in the years since Brother Cane ended. Rockenfield is an established drumming presence, yet on this album he lays back a little and delivers solid Rock and Roll time, a nice change to see that he can adapt and make his level of play work with a totally different type of band. Gray seems to do well here more so than he did during his brief tenure with Queensryche. I admit to not enjoying his working with the band, but this is since he immediately followed the absence of DeGarmo so like most fans I was jaded going in. Glick holds it all together on bass while his Cane partner belts them out. In Slave To The System the whole unit works together very well, and it serves to prove that Hard Rock is not as boring as commercial terrestrial radio would have you believe. While there might be “hit makers” on it nothing really gives that push or the drive lately to remind you that Rock is very simply supposed to Rock. STTS makes sure to remind us of this fact and with tracks like their namesake, “Rudy Wednesday” and “Stigmata” there is plenty of proof that the band means business in this area. It’s a welcome change to the existing supply.
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