[79 pics of the nights in this Flickr set]
Tonight, though, Judas Priest with Queensryche and Rival Sons in support. We missed Rival Sons entirely and only made it in time to see maybe three songs by Queensryche. In honesty, I was never a fan and what little I saw of them was never going to sway me. They’re not bad… they just never grabbed me musically.
If memory serves, this is the third time I’ve seen Judas Priest live. The first was way back in the early 90’s on the Painkiller tour at Newcastle City Hall. I only got tickets as Annihilator were opening for them. I ended up front row for a very impressive gig by a band I knew about 3 songs by.
No such problems this evening. Once the annoying DJ stopped messing about (good music, but good grief… what a nutjob), the curtain dropped and Priest burst into life. A shame KK Downing had left the band but nobody could have any complaints about new member Richie Faulkner. Aside from being a bit younger than the rest, he fit right in and was note perfect. Well done, son.
I’ll admit to not being the biggest Priest fan. I know a couple of the really old numbers, but mainly I got into them around the time of Ram It Down. As such, I didn’t recognise some of the tracks, but it didn’t really matter. Sure, I enjoyed “Painkiller”, “Nostradamus” and “Blood Red Skies” that bit more but the show was powerful enough that even the handful of tracks I didn’t recognise were enjoyable enough.
A half dozen flash pots, some smoke stacks and a bunch of lasers were all that was needed alongside a nice big amplified rig. Halford doesn’t talk a lot to the crowd, but what he does say is nice enough – pointing out album covers, crediting the original writers of songs Priest have covered and so on. Even a drum solo towards the end didn’t dampen the crowd who really started to go mad past the halfway mark of the 2-hour show with a pit opening up. OK, so there were only about 10 people in it at the peak, but still…
Two encores rounded off the evening, and of course the highlight was “Breaking The Law”. I don’t think Halford sang a word of the first verse and chorus, leaving it to the audience to make the noise.
It’s a shame this is their last ever world tour, but at least we know there’s another album on the way and live dates will be forthcoming, though not on the scale of the past. In fairness to the guys, they’re all around the sixty mark and have been doing this for an incredible forty years. I hope I have that much energy when I get there. And that my beard mysteriously gains colour like Halford’s. Seriously, why isn’t his grey? No fair.