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Judas Priest

Live in Sugar Land, Texas April 2018

Review by Greg Olma

This has been a very good year so far with some older bands putting out some great music.  Judas Priest unleashed Firepower earlier this year and to these ears, it is one of their best records.  With that release fresh on my mind, I just had to see this tour and I was even more pleased to see that they brought Saxon and Black Star Riders along for the ride.  While both of those opening acts were awesome, the Priest owned the stage that night.  They wasted no time in showing that they were the metal gods by starting the set with the title track from their new opus and not letting up until the final chords of “Living After Midnight."

It must be difficult for a band to choose a set list when you have so many concert staples, but Rob Halford and the band chose to mix things up a bit this time around.  Songs like “Running Wild”, “Bloodstone”, and ”Freewill Burning” haven’t been in the set list for a while.  They even played “Saints in Hell” off of Stained Class which I have never seen they play live (and I’ve seen them many times starting in the early 80s).  The focus on the show was on more of the heavier tracks (“The Ripper," “Sinner” and “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”) from their career but they did manage to slip in “Turbo Lover” from the much maligned Turbo record.  I personally love the track and feel that the record has aged fairly well.  Since this was the tour for Firepower, I was happy they performed a couple of more tunes form the disc, namely “Lightning Strikes” and “Evil Never Dies,” with the main set being closed out with the title track to the Painkiller album.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

Many of you may know this already, but for those of you who don’t follow bands very closely, Glenn Tipton has had to bow out from touring due to Parkinson’s disease.  Filling in for him is producer and guitarist Andy Sneap, who honestly did an admirable job considering the circumstances.  He is more a friend helping the band out and not a replacement.  Both Sneap and Richie Faulkner were quite the guitar duo during the show, and while we may want to see the original members up on stage, both of them played their parts perfectly.  Having seen Judas Priest many times, I have to say that this particular night Rob Halford was in fine form, proving once and for all that he is the “Metal God."  This show was also special due to the fact that Tipton came out and performed for the three song encore.  He has been playing at sporadic shows, so I was glad to catch one where he felt good enough to play guitar.  All six members blasted through “Metal Gods," “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight,” with Tipton almost taking center stage.  It was truly a glorious metal night and based on that performance, the Priest shows no signs of slowing down; nor should they.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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