Retired? Definitely not. Fans in Rochester lined up around the block on a beautiful, early autumn evening in Rochester to catch the eponymous demigods of metal Judas Priest kick off their world tour. The band had previously announced their retirement in 2011, but thankfully decided that the metal must live on. Despite multiple lineup changes over the years, most of the band’s core remained intact with head screamer Rob Halford, guitarist Glenn Tipton, founding member Ian Hill, and long-time drummer Scott Travis. Joining them to replace the departed K.K. Downing would be Richie Faulkner formerly of the Lauren Harris band.
Kicking things off, reportedly (repeatedly on stage by Steel Panther themselves) for a $50 paycheck, was Los Angeles, California’s Steel Panther. Well known for reviving the once stagnant metal scene on the historical Sunset Strip, Panther’s show falls somewhere between Motley Crue and your mom’s worst freaking nightmares. Featuring songs like “Asian Hooker” “Gold Diggin’ Ho” and “17 Girls in a Row,” the band had the audience simultaneously head-banging and laughing their asses off for their hour set. Don’t worry guys, we were laughing WITH you, not at you.
As set break ensued, the black-clad masses rushed to grab a smoke or a cold Labatt’s while the time of the legends entrance drew near. A mishmash of an audience with as many gray maned old timers and grizzled bikers as excited youngsters. A giant Priest banner shrouded the stage as fans surged – and in many cases stumbled – towards the front. The house music suddenly blared the Black Sabbath metal anthem “War Pigs” as palpable excitement ignited throughout the throngs of attendees. The curtain dropped and the true kings of metal broke directly into the last and first songs respectively from their brand new 2014 release Redeemer of Souls – “Battle Cry” and “Dragonaut”. With such a rich history of 40+ years of albums, it’s refreshing and a sign of huge cojones to see Priest engaging the crowd with brand new material right off the bat and throughout the night.
After some brief and apropos banter from Mr. Halford, the band continued with two tracks from the bands impressive catalog – 1982’s “Devil’s Child” and 1976’s “Victim of Changes” – before continuing to showcase their new material with “Halls of Valhalla”. One more new song would make an appearance – title track “Redeemer of Souls” – before the band finished out the set with a grand m/etal finale of hits. ’84s “Jawbreaker” had the crowd in a signing, headbanging frenzy and everyone’s favorite “Breaking the Law” only amped the energy up to new levels. Naturally, no Priest show is complete without a Harley revving across the stage and this one would be no exception with Rob revving his bike fittingly to the tune of “Hell Bent for Leather”.
As the clock approached midnight, the band came out for a quick encore and bid the well satiated crowd adieu. Forty (plus) years of metal and this band shows no signs of decay. We can only pray (to the devil) for 40 more. Sad you missed the fun? Our ROCtober article has all the big shows coming to town, so get off your couch and go see some live music!
Steel Panther Setlist
Pussy Whipped, Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World, Asian Hooker, Tiger Woods, Gold Diggin’ Ho, Girl From Oklahoma, Community Property, Eyes of a Panther, 17 Girls in a Row, Gloryhole, Death to all but Metal, Party all Day
Judas Priest Setlist
Battle Cry * > Dragonaut, Metal Gods, Devil’s Child, Victim of Changes, Halls of Valhalla, Love Bites, march of the Damned, Turbo Lover, Redeemer of Souls, Beyond the Realms, Jawbreaker, Breaking the Law, Hell Bent for Leather
Encore: You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, Living after Midnight
* Intro only