50 years of metal: Judas Priest shows no signs of rust

If you call yourself a metalhead and have no idea who Judas Priest is, you may not be as metal as you think you are. Judas Priest is now 50 years into the music industry, and from what I could tell, still going as strong as it was all those years back. Having gone through deaths, diseases, illnesses and more, the band has steered clear of the rough seas and continues to make hit songs.

On October 22nd, the band made its way to Detroit, Michigan, a city well known for its rock music history. As drummer Scott Travis said the band made sure to be on the tour. The band consisted of lead vocalist Rob Halford, Scott Travis on drums, Ian Hill on bass, Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap on guitar.

The crowd reacts from behind the photo pit as Judas Priest performs on stage at Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.

The band hit the stage at 9:15pm, behind opening band Queensryche. Who in their own respect, killed it on stage as an opener. After photographing the standard first three songs, I took to my seat in the upper balcony of the beautiful Masonic Temple. From front to back, stage level to upper balcony, fans of all ages dressed in everything from leather to jean jackets to Priest t-shirts had an energy level quite like none other. Fist pumps, jumping around, rock on hand motions, head banging, and thunderous applauses came with each songs conclusion. The temple was rocking, in every aspect of that word.

Per usual for a Priest show, a light show was very much part of the show. Every color under the rainbow was used at some point. The huge logo was even used to direct lights. However, the lights did not interfere with the performances or even the screen in the back that gave lyrics to some of the songs as well as music video esque backgrounds.

An outfit quick change happened about halfway through the set, that was followed with the song, ‘Judas is Rising’. Chants of “Priest” occured after and followed with each song thereafter. ‘Halls of Valhalla’ has to be one of my favorite songs from this set. From the high notes to the low growls from Halford, to the percussion and guitar aspects, it made for an electrifying live song.

For the encore, Halford came out on the motorcycle for ‘Hellbent for Leather’ followed by ‘Breaking the Law’. The finale had a blow up bull with red eyes on stage and ‘Living after Midnight’ was performed. The 18 song setlist ended at 10:50pm, a setlist that covered many of the albums the band has released over the past half century.

The members of Judas Priest all looked like they loved what they were doing. For a band being around half a century, it is rare to find that. Halford was definitely still able to reach his iconic high notes. However, father time has shown a bit and some of the high notes came out screechy and he can not hold the notes as long as he used to. Isn’t that what makes us human though? We can’t have the pipes of a 20 year old forever. Our lungs and vocal ability will degrade over time. Still some 50 years later, Halford sounds amazing regardless of his 70 year old body.

In all, it was a great metal concert. I loved how the only time Judas Priest stopped the music was to do the tradition with the crowd. That tradition being having the crowd sing what he sang. Besides that, it was music. Letting the music speak for itself. Song after song, almost no break between. It was a classic heavy metal concert, and I loved it.

The set list was performed as below:

  1. Electric Eye
  2. Riding on the Wind
  3. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  4. Jawbreaker
  5. Firepower
  6. Never the Heroes
  7. Beyond the Realms of Death
  8. Judas Rising
  9. Heading Out to the Highway
  10. Genocide
  11. Steeler
  12. Between the Hammer and the Anvil
  13. Halls of Valhalla
  14. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)(Fleetwood Mac cover)
  15. Screaming for Vengeance

Encore:

16. Hell Bent for Leather

17. Breaking the Law

18.Living After Midnight

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