Judas Priest and Deep Purple electrified Camden, NJ and left nothing in their wake while tearing through hard-rock classics and new gems.
Sunday night and the Priest is Back. Judas Priest made their presence known right from the opening lick of the title track to their latest album, Firepower. Released earlier this year, their new album is relentless throughout and offers fans the classic Priest sound that has enabled them to continue their trek through touring in support of new material. And this is some great new material. Priest also included “Lightening Strike,” “Rising from Ruins,” and “No Surrender” from this album.
Co-headlining this tour with Deep Purple, Rob Halford and the boys got the show rolling first and didn’t let up until their set was done. With such a deep catalog, Judas Priest did an excellent job mixing in new songs with some great, classic metal songs such as “Freewheel Burning,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” and “Breakin’ the Law,” pleasing all that came out in support of these metal icons.
There was a buzz in the crowd whether or not we would be blessed with an appearance from Glenn Tipton, who has been playing some encores with the fellas when he is able. Going public earlier this year with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, he still tours with the band and has launched a new foundation to help raise money to further the research of the disease.
Original Priest member bassist Ian Hill and longtime drummer Scott Travis, have Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap sharing the stage. The band added several different songs to the recent setlist, “Delivering the Goods” and “Desert Plains.” They sounded very tight as they offered themselves up to the metal gods in Jersey as they barely took a breath while shredding the Camden night into a heavy metal abyss.
Halford settled right into his classic stage prowl keeping the fans head-banging and singing with every song the band played. Guitarist Richie Faulkner was very energetic and playful, and he does not fall short in the category of guitar-player poses. He has a great style that fits perfectly with the Priest sound and interacts with the fans throughout the performance. Judas Priest certainly has not sold-out to the musical fads over the years; they have stayed true to their sound which equals the loyal support they receive from their fans.
After a brief intermission and set change, Deep Purple hit the stage with a roar. If there was ever a concert first song anthem to open a show, “Highway Star” would have to be considered one of the best. If that song doesn’t grab you and shake you, then you might as well just go home. Having to follow a Judas Priest performance is no easy task, but singer Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover, guitarist Steve Morse, drummer Ian Paice and keyboardist Don Airey gave it their all. Having seen many changes over the bands history, the current line-up has been holding steady since the early 2000’s as newest member Airey, who replaced long time keyboardist Jon Lord, has been with the boys since 2001.
Deep Purple has always had a reputation as being a loud band. When Glover is laying down some deep and heavy bass riffs in combination with Paice’s drumming- which, by the way, is spectacular – the runway has been poured in concrete for the fill of Morse’s guitar work and Aireys keyboards to just take off. These guys can make the inside of the pavilion tremble with sound causing a musical earthquake the size of the solar system.
Video screens have become such an integral part of the live concert experience, and both bands used it to enhance their visual performances. Mixing live video feeds with graphics and moving media, it’s definitely interesting to watch the stories of the songs unfold on the big screens behind the members. When the band played “Smoke on the Water,” there were pictures and news clippings that helped tell the story about how the “gambling house” was burned down during a Frank Zappa concert in Montreux, Switzerland in 1971. The band was supposed to record their hit album Machine Head at that location, but had to re-locate due to the massive fire that destroyed the entire Montreux Casino.
Deep Purple ripped through a great hard-rock set consisting of many popular songs off their 1972 release Machine Head including “Highway Star,” “Space Truckin’,” “Pictures of Home,” and “Smoke on the Water.” The highlight of the set came when Airey deftly noodled through some wonderful keyboard and synth progressions setting the course for the rest of the band to join in on what has to be one of the best song intro’s ever for “Lazy.”
Bottom line, spectacular sets were performed by both of the bands. Some might wonder why these two bands would be paired together, but interestingly enough Deep Purple’s bass player Roger Glover has ties to early Judas Priest having produced their 1977 release Sin After Sin. Many folks consider Deep Purple as being one of the early pioneers of hard rock and metal music definitely having influenced many upon many musicians. It would probably be simple to say that without a Deep Purple sound, there might not have been a Judas Priest sound. Rock on fans, be sure to enjoy these bands while they are still out there performing.