Birmingham heavy metal band Judas Priest have been present for the best of 40 years, producing a loyal fan base and the name for putting a lot of effort into the live performance and producing rock mega hits. Although the size of venue’s seem to differ between tour’s, tonight’s it’s the turn of Wolverhampton Civic Hall to present the latest Epitaph tour, which is being cited as the last the band may ever undertake. For that though, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Before that takes place though it’s the turn of heavy metal band QueensrÃ¿che, who have in their time sold over 20 million albums worldwide, and it might be with that you ask why tonight they take up the support slot? Then it’s probably that their latest album entered the US charts at Number 70, which in comparison to past albums would not be considered a success.
To question both their relevance and appeal I have no right to say, but to judge on the basis of tonight’s performance there’s no reason why they shouldn’t headline a venue like this. Having a very showbiz air to them, vocalist Geoff Tate’s vocals are the highlight of this band from the beginning, with the band playing and presenting themselves behind him. It’s only on last song Eyes of a Stranger from 1988 that really seems to engage and excite the crowd, who seem aware of this number, and so they leave the stage.
From the moment the initial curtain is dropped, revealing Rob Halford, the band and an impressive stage set you know tonight’s going to be worth the time and effort. Opening with Rapid Fire, from 1980’s British Steel album, it’s made aware that this band have a message and fire still, to not sit and become complacent with success. Halford’s voice doesn’t give in throughout, with 1990’s Painkiller really highlighting the talent and range that this man’s lungs are capable of. Covering a wide span of albums, each song was usually accompanied by the album’s artwork being in view on the back, with the rest of the stage set made up of chains and crosses to which the band has created an image. Fireworks and lasers are the pick of the night tonight, with the crowd constantly being wowed during every song, the flames nearly only missing drummer Scott Travis’s head.
Recollecting local memories and conveying true happiness in playing, only does more to draw the budding crowd in. Each song is met with a warm and gracious welcome, and with the wide span of albums, there has got to be something for everyone. If there had to be a criticism then it would be the fact that Halford kept leaving the stage behind a curtain, after basically every song to have an outfit change which at some points seemed irrelevant or drew attention from the rest of the players onstage, who did all get their time to shine. Leaving the main set on Painkiller, it doesn’t take long before we’re treated to not one but 3 encore’s with the first consisting of Electric Eye and the infamous motorbike entrance of Hell Bent For Leather, providing a theatrical and exciting twist to proceedings.
Ending the night on Living after Midnight, the band leave with their heads held oh so high. So we can conclude that if this does happen to be the last Priest tour to grace our shores, then at least they gave it their best shot and provided a truly memorable, powerful and retrospective show.
Vocalist: Rob Halford.
Guitarist: Glenn Tipton.
Bassist: Ian Hill.
Drummer: Scott Travis (amazing)
Guitarist: Richie Faulkner.
Heading Out to the Highway
Victim of Changes
Diamonds & Rust
Beyond the Realms of Death
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Living After Midnight
Review – Dan Earl
Photos – Andy Whitehouse