Big, Loud and Iconic! That was the show that hit the Casino Rama Entertainment Centre this past Friday night when Judas Priest made their return for another sold-out performance! The band is touring their stellar new album Firepower which released on March 9th to rave reviews, and their highest ever charting position at no. 5 in the US. The album is very good, and a throwback to their solid metal releases from decades ago. Opening the show, the band wasted no time diving into the new material with the title track, as lead guitarist extraordinaire Richie Faulkner roared out to the front of the stage shredding the song’s monster riffs as the crowd leap to their feet. The 21-song, 90-minute set contained a broad stroke of the band’s material that spans nearly 50 years rocking the world.
The next four, “Running Wild”, “Grinder”, “Sinner” and “The Ripper”, looking all the way back to 1976, sounded fresh and raw with the help of the group’s new touring talent. Guitarist Andy Sneap joined the band in March after veteran lead guitarist Glenn Tipton announced that he would be leaving the touring duties of the band due to Parkinson’s Disease. Sneap has helped to produce over 100 other heavy band albums, is a Grammy award winner, and co-produced the Firepower album. He seemed right at home onstage with the other “youngster” in the group, Richie Faulkner who has performed with the band for the past seven years.
Judas Priest offers up a no-nonsense, straight-up metal show with little extra filler. They let the music do the talking. Frontman Rob Halford, dressed in his trademark leather gear, worked the vocals very well, with the high wailing notes still being hit most of the time. At this point, having the band touring after this long is amazing and if it’s close in the vocals department, that’s great!
Other heavy new tracks “Lightning Strike” and “Evil Never Dies” were also well received by the fans. The longest tenured band member is bassist Ian Hill and, along with the nearly 30-year veteran drummer Scott Travis, held down the rhythm section duties with the rock solid precision they always have. Standouts from the show were fan favourites “Turbo Lover”, “Breaking the Law” and “Hell Bent for Leather”, when Halford rode out on his trademark chromed out Harley.
After a short break the band returned for a couple of encores and a few of their biggest hits, “Electric Eye”, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” and “Living After Midnight”. As Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played, the band came to the front of the stage and tossed guitar pics and drum sticks to the eager fans. It was largely an older crowd, as expected, but there was a significant young fan contingent as well, which bodes well for the metal music world. As the group left the stage, the video screen flashed “The Priest WILL Return”. We might be seeing a 50th anniversary tour next year if all goes well. Hit this tour and grab yourself the new album. You won’t be disappointed!
Judas Priest's Setlist:
01. War Pigs (Intro: Black Sabbath song)
04. Running Wild
07. The Ripper
08. Lightning Strike
10. Saints in Hell
11. Turbo Lover
12. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover)
13. Evil Never Dies
14. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
15. Breaking the Law
16. Hell Bent for Leather
17. Painkiller Encore:
18. The Hellion
19. Electric Eye
20. Metal Gods Encore 2:
21. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
22. Living After Midnight
23. We Are the Champions (While band greeted crowd from the stage, Queen cover)
Watch Priest raise the “Spectre” in their latest music video.