British metal legends Judas Priest fire up fans young and old on the 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour with support from Queensryche.
Queensryche gets the evening off to a rousing start with a set of mostly older songs from their debut EP and first four albums, including a few deeper cuts. The opening song, “Queen of the Reich,” finds singer Todd La Torre hitting the high-pitched notes while Michael Wilton tears it up on lead guitar along with Mike Stone with fast-paced notes and riffs. Founding member Eddie Jackson on bass and Casey Grillo on drums deliver a solid bottom end. Three songs from The Warning including “En Force” and “NM 156” have the fans cheering loudly with both guitarists shredding at center stage on the latter song. One of two songs from their 2022 release Digital Noise Alliance, “Behind the Walls,” slows things down a bit but still rocks hard, with Todd showing off his vocal chops on soaring high notes.
Returning to their vault of classic albums, Todd tells the crowd, “Everyone should know this one. Sing it loud and proud.” They then play the title track from Empire and the fans sing along. “The Needle Lies” from Operation: Mindcrime takes it to another level with Casey pummeling the drums and both Michael and Mike ripping off the notes on guitar. “In Extremis” is another new song that has Casey laying down a wicked beat, while Michael and Mike once again rip it up on guitar and Todd crushes it on vocals. They close out their great opening set with three more classic hits, “Take Hold of the Flame,” “Screaming in Digital,” and “Eyes of a Stranger.”The lights dim and the classic instrumental “The Hellion” from the highly successful 1982 album Screaming for Vengeance plays while an illuminated devil’s tuning fork logo is raised to the ceiling above the stage. Judas Priest hit the stage to screams and deafening cheers as they transition into “Electric Eye” with guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap leading the way with the familiar riffs before lead singer Rob Halford’s legendary vocals kick in. Drummer Scott Travis and bassist Ian Hill deliver the driving groove. A large screen at the back of the stage displays cool videos throughout the set including lyrics to some songs. The second song, “Riding on the Wind,” is also from the same album and keeps the energy high as fans headbang, pump their fists, and put up their horns.
It is hard to believe that Rob and Ian are both 71 and have been rocking out and entertaining fans for decades. Rob’s voice is in great form, and he can still let out the high-pitched wails and screams. While not as agile as he once was, he still paces the stage from side to side, playing up to the fans. They play the big hit “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” before kicking into high gear with “Jawbreaker” and the heavy “Firepower” from the 2018 album of the same name. Some great lighting adds to the vibe. “Firepower” also features the blazing dual-guitar attack of Ritchie and Andy. They slow it down a bit with “Never the Heroes,” and “Beyond the Realms of Death” complete with spinning mirror ball and a video of what looks like the earth being hit with explosions and on fire. They crank it back up with “Judas Rising” from their 2005 album Angel of Retribution which features some heavy bass from Ian.
They keep it going with the classic hit “Heading Out to the Highway” and then pull out the seldom-played song “Genocide” from their second album Sad Wings of Destiny. Huge cheers erupt as they launch into “Steeler” which finds Ritchie and Andy riffing and shredding to the fans’ delight. They pull out a deeper track, “Between the Hammer and the Anvil” from Painkiller which has fans pumping their fists in the air with Andy delivering some rapid finger-tapping. “Halls of Vahalla” from Redeemer of Souls is another fast-paced song led by Ritchie and Andy that has the fans whipped up in a frenzy and throwing their fists and horns in the air. After the song, Rob lets the crowd know, “Hey Detroit, we love you so much,” and then engages them in some repeat after me singing of “whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah,” “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” and various other chants. The fans are fully into it. They close out the main portion of their set with “The Green Manalishi (with the Two Prong Crown)” and the popular “Screaming for Vengeance.”
Returning to the stage, Rob rides out on a motorcycle and they proceed to play “Hell Bent for Leather” with Rob singing the whole song seated on the motorcycle. The fans love it. They transition right into “Breaking the Law” which has the fans singing along and finds Ritchie, Rob, and Andy rocking side to side in unison at center stage. Prior to “Living After Midnight,” a huge bull with illuminated red eyes is inflated on the stage. The fans respond with loud applause and cheers.
It is a killer evening of classic rock and metal. The fans surely got their money’s worth. Let’s hope that Judas Priest keeps cranking out great metal music and touring.JUDAS PRIEST
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