Iron Maiden – Guns N Roses – Judas Priest – AC/DC – Tool – Metallica

Indio, CA – October 6-8, 2023

Review/Cell Phone Pics: Will

Where to start… Well, when Power Trip was announced it would be fair to say I was very skeptical.  The lineup sounded way too good to be true. Especially for a Festival of this magnitude in the U.S.!  (The European Festivals have us WAY beat). I thought it might have been a joke, or some type of dream metal lineup that someone was trying to manifest, but turns out it was all true!

If you wanted to put together a lineup to showcase some of the most iconic metal bands (Not you Tool…sit back down) then this would be where you would probably start. Sure, we all had our doubts that Ozzy would be able to make it, but Judas Priest were more than a worthy addition in his stead.

I have to tell you that this was one well organized Festival. Yes, I have a couple of grumbles that would be a bit nit picky (and I heard a few other people as well), but you can’t please all the people all of the time.  Not much that Indio could do about the 105 degree heat.  (Although how about scheduling any future events in the “Cold November Rain”?!) 

There were a ton of food and beverage options, there were places for shade, misters and sprinklers, air conditioning areas, a mass of toilets with short or non-existent lines.  The biggest lines that I saw were the Merch lines at the entrance to the venue or for some of the picture ops.  Outside of the main area was also the “Holy Dive Bar”.  A large tented area with huge fans creating a nice breeze, more food options out the back, another toilet area and a huge bar plunked right in the middle of it.  Not to mention 6 HUGE screen TV’s that were showing all the weekend’s sports action.

I can’t speak to the camping situation as I rented a hotel room in Palm Springs.  But passing by the tents on the LONG walk from the General Parking area, tent camping did NOT seem like the most comfortable of options.  For those who did, please chime in with your experiences.  The massive RV area directly outside the entrance did look like more of a party place.

But all that was only a small part of the experience.  We were there for the bands! So enjoy (or don’t!) my musings. I wasn’t approved for press so the picture are all cell phone captures and I don’t have an extensive review for each band, more just some observations.

AND..  at the bottom, enjoy my speculations of what a Power Trip II Festival might look like.

I was lucky enough to get a seat in the front couple of sections behind the pit.  The venue is flat so if you’re vertically challenged, like myself, you did have a view of the stage but you’d have to maneuver around taller heads in front of you.  Two large screens book ending the stage did a lot to help fill in the “I can’t see” blanks.  I did venture back to the general admission area and the stage was pretty much a dot in the distance so you did have to rely on another 2 massive screens that were set up for that area specifically.

What a way to kick off Power Trip.  Your opening act of the weekend is Iron Maiden! The band looked and sounded great.  The problem with any Maiden show is their setlist. People speculated that because this was such a special, one-off event that we’d be getting a greatest hits package.  Nope.  No “Number of the Beast“; No “Two Minutes To Midnight” or “Powerslave“; No “Run To The Hills“; No “Hallowed Be Thy Name“… They kept on with their “Future Past” tour setlist that focused on songs from “Somewhere In Time” and their latest (pretty damn dull IMO) album, “Senjutsu“. So if you’re not a fan of either of those albums, you were pretty much SOL.

Regardless, if you loved or didn’t love their song choices, we still got to witness Iron Maiden which is never a bad thing. We also got a couple of large Eddie’s roaming the stage and battling with the band and best of all, after a few health scares (Bruce’s cancer and Nicko’s stroke), the band haven’t missed a beat.

Up The Irons!

Iron Maiden at Power Trip 2023 Setlist


What should have been a 9:25pm start time turned into a 10pm set time and for good (or for bad), Guns N Roses still stomped through their 3 hour set ending at 1am. 

In my opinion, more is usually great!  BUT, I have to say, any songs that had Axl reaching into his high register just sounded like Mickey Mouse singing GnR.  The excitement from the intro to each tune most often dissipated when Axl started singing.  I know, it’s probably unfair of me, I mean they’re Guns N Fucking Roses!  But too bad, I was overjoyed at their setlist and underwhelmed by the vocals. I will say that I appreciated that ALL the bands on this bill played live (This wasn’t a Motely Crue Tour after all) and for that they get mad respect from me.

As mentioned, the band sounded amazing and played almost everything you’d want to hear (Missing for me was “This I Love” from “Chinese Democracy” which I believe to be their best song after “Welcome To The Jungle” FIGHT ME!)  Probably best that it wasn’t played because I don’t want that memory stuck in my head. 

Slash and Duff looked lean and mean as always and a huge shout out to Richard Fortus who is really an underappreciated part of the whole GnR experience. Dude’s been in the band for over 20 years now!  Same props to Frank Ferrer on drums, Dizzy Reed on keys (Who I didn’t even notice until Axl intro’d him over halfway through the set) and Melissa Reese (background vox and keys) who REALLY helped Axl by throwing in some much needed vocal power.

Even though I’m critical, there’s nowhere else I’d rather have been.  Power Trip was a total vibe through the good and the bad.

Guns N’ Roses at Power Trip 2023 Setlist


Day 2 of Power Trip was THE Day in my opinion. Judas Priest, still rockin’ after 50 years, blasted on to the stage with “Electric Eye” and didn’t let up for a moment. Rob Halford is definitely committed to this rock thing as he walked on stage in a large leather coat and large black gloves in 100 degree heat.  This kid may have a future in the biz! Rob sounded great and is still delivering (the goods?!) those ear splitting screams that we all love.

I’ve said it before, but Richie Faulkner was the shot in the arm that this band needed.  Less than two years removed from emergency heart surgery, this dude makes shredding on stage (again, in over 100 degree heat) look effortless. 

Priest’s set was chock full of classics which kept the energy levels very high. And, as they  have done on several dates of their previous tour, they brought out the great Glenn Tipton to play along during the encore of “Metal Gods“, “Breaking The Law” and set closer, “Living After Midnight“.

Glenn looks very frail these days due to the Parkinson’s taking a tighter grip on his body.  I’ll repeat it until I’m blue in the face… go see the legends before they leave us.  I’m honored to have seen Glenn come out in the past few years with the band and hope that the reaction that the audience gives him each time helps him during his fight.

Long Live The Metal Gods!

Judas Priest at Power Trip 2023 Setlist


It was apparent from Day 1 that the major draw of this festival were AC/DC.  Tons of Aussies, a great Scottish, Irish and mainland European contingent were very apparent as well as a large swath from all over S. America .  People flew from all over the globe to catch the first performance from the band since 2016 (When Brian Johnson had to step down due to hearing issues and let Axl take over to finish out their run on the remaining dates of their “Rock Or Bust” Tour).

For many of us the speculation over the answer about AC/DC returning to live shows might actually have been “Bust”. So the questions remained: How would AC/DC, and more importantly Brian, sound after all this time.  Im SO happy to say that they knocked it WAY out of the park.  They lived up to expectations and MORE. They delivered a kick ass, 24 song set that included some rarities, new songs and a few surprises. 

Angus hit the stage, as always, skipping in his school boy outfit and cap until it was bounced off by some righteous head banging. Angus is full on grey haired now, but that was the only sign of age he showed as he Powered Up and around the stage all night long. Brian Johnson (at 76 years old!) threw down the heat!  Sure, there were a couple of notes that might have been just missed, but more often than not, he was hitting the high ones that mattered. 

And what a set they delivered!  For the first time ever they opened with “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” and this crowd was ravenous! We got 2 new songs, “Demon Fire” and “Shot In The Dark” from their newest album, “Power Up“. They played “Stiff Upper Lip” for the first time since 2003 and “Dog Eat Dog” for the first time since 2009.  And also for the first time on stage (it’s been done in Studio), Brian sang “Riff Raff“!

The rest of the show included everything you’d expect to hear.  There was no fluff in the set (Although for me I’d have swapped out “Rock n Roll Train” for another deep cut..  remember what I said about being nit picky?).  There was a moment of silence between each song where Angus changed guitar or they had to let everyone know what to play next, but as the guitar crunch started cranking out for each track, the crowd would go crazy.

Speaking of classics, the band brought out THE Bell for “Hells Bells” and for the final song “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” the Canons were placed on top of the large row of Marshalls and they did indeed “FIRE”!

As expected the focal points of the evening were Brian and Angus, but it was still special to see Cliff Williams (bass) stage left while cousin, Stevie Young (rhythm) and drummer, Matt Haug both did an admiral job.

The set was concluded by a huge firework display that lit up the night as the happy crowd started their trek out of the venue.

If there was any skepticism about the return of AC/DC, the chatter can stop.  If they handle the rigors of the road in a manner that can accommodate Brian’s voice, I think we’ll be seeing them again very soon.



AC/DC at Power Trip 2023 Setlist

So… I will say this about Tool’s Power Trip set: It was EXACTLY as expected.

If you love this band, and their music makes you close your eyes, clench your firsts and just get enveloped by the feeling of those rhythmic beats – Then you got exactly what you expected.

If you are just NOT a fan, don’t get it, can’t stand long songs where you’re not sure if one ended and the next one has started.  And you can’t appreciate a band that doesn’t move around the stage at all…  nope, just stands in their spots without moving more than a few inches from where they started – Then you got exactly what you expected.

Personally I fell into the latter category.  I tried, I honestly tried.  The months leading up to the show, at times during the day I’d pop on Apple Music and hit Tool’s Top Hits and I would try… but boy howdy, it was painful.

People, they played 13 songs in 2 hours which equals an average of almost 10 minutes per song. If you’re not into a band, that is TORTUROUS! 

I will say that I do believe I was in the minority.  The Tool fans were there in droves and they were loud and raucous supporting their band, and for that I approve!


Tool at Power Trip 2023 Setlist

THIS is how you close out a festival!  I just caught Metallica a few weeks back on their No Repeat Weekend, “72 Seasons” tour and even though they played a ton of everything, it was almost a bit too much at times.  For me, putting them back on a hit or quit it, one time only show for 2 hours is the way to see Metallica

Zero filler! Just a set full of chugging guitars, pounding bass and drums, Kirk’s Wah wah, and Papa Het’s growling vocals.

Barely a moment to breath in between songs before you were hit in the face with the next blistering riff.  EXCEPT for when Kirk (again!) fucked up the intro to “Nothing Else Matters“.  I’m all for the live experience, but maybe I’m ok with a tape if Kirk can’t seem to get this one right..  or maybe just let James take over for the intro. (There’s that nit picking again). Also, please never take “Orion” out of the setlist. 

Both Metallica and Power Trip ended strong.  “Seek and Destroy“, “One” and finally “Master Of Puppets“.  The sky was again lit up with a barrage of fireworks as an estimate of approx. 80k people made their way home.

It’s still TBD if Power Trip was a one off or if this was the start of something more frequent (*thoughts below).  I will say that if there is more to come, it’s not going to beat this inaugural outing.


Metallica at Power Trip 2023 Setlist


It’s over and GnR have announced a couple of Hollywood Bowl dates, Tool already announced a tour, Priest has a new album “Invincible Shield” coming out next year and Maiden promised that they’d be back Very Soon… 

Power Trip II?

So..  it’s now the aftermath of Power Trip and what should we expect moving forward?! Expect nothing and hopefully be pleasantly surprised, I say.  But if something does evolve, what might that look like?

I was talking to some people about what another PT festival might look like and what bands could appear.  I doubt that the “Heavy Metal” Theme could produce another 6 bands at that level.  So maybe it migrates to more of a metal/rock mix. Here are a few that we came up with (And yes, very aware that some of these probably aren’t even possible due to health and general band ass-holiness in some cases..  but we can dream).

How about:

Scorpions and Aerosmith

Queen (w/ Luke Spiller of The Struts) and The Rolling Stones

Black Sabbath (yes, with Ozzy who owes us one) and drumroll please….

The Eddie Van Halen Tribute Concert 

Bring in Sammy, Mike, Alex, Wolf (And yes, even Dave) as well as X# of additional Guitar Gods and close out Sunday Night with one hell of a Rock n Roll Party.

Like I said… A boy can dream.

OR Maybe…

Bon Jovi (Only WITH Richie Back) and Def Leppard

Journey (with Steve) and The Foo Fighters

Pink Floyd and again… drumroll please…

Led Zeppelin (with Jason of course on drums)

Yes…  Still dreamin’…