Judas Priest –
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, USA, Saturday March 20th, 2018
Set List: Guardians/FirePower/Running Wild/Grinder/Sinner/The Ripper/Lightning Strike/Bloodstone/Saints in Hell/Turbo Lover/The Green Manalishi/Evil Never Dies/Some Heads Are Gonna Roll/You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’/Hell Bent for Leather/The Hellion/Electric Eye/Painkiller/Metal Gods/Breaking the Law/Living After Midnight.
It was British Metal night at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. With Saxon filling the spot as the opening act and doing it well; Judas Priest brought their Firepower tour to the Tri-State area.
Having witnessed several incantations of the band, the strong stage presence and ever popular anthems remain a constant. I make no bones about being a long standing fan of the band. I was there when they doubled with Iron Maiden (another huge favorite) as well as the famous Madison Square Garden Defenders Of The Faith Show. While famous for over zealous fans, it was also an incredible performance.
While many miss guitarist KK Downing and Glen Tipton’s health taking a priority over touring; Guitarist, Richie Faulkner, whom some may recall accompanying Lauren Harris, daughter of Iron Maiden alumni Steve Harris, is an impressive addition. The rest of the line up was rounded off by Guitarist, Andy Sneap and the backbone of Judas Priest: Vocalist, Rob Halford, Bassist, Ian Hill and Drummer, Scott Travis.
The stage show was impressive with colorful rotating LED screen displays ranging from album covers to a Union Jack. Opening with several numbers from their recently released 'Firepower', the band proved once again the effectiveness of the staying power classic rock bands possess. Firepower as a whole demonstrates that both in studio and translated live.
Not long after, time honored songs that put the legendary Judas Priest on the map, began to appear. 'Grinder' followed by 'Sinner' and 'The Ripper' from albums 'British Steel', 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' and 'Sin After Sin', respectively. These songs separate the long time, hardcore Priest followers from those who discovered the band later on. Not that there is a thing wrong with that, but, everyone has their favorite songs depending on what era of the band you fancy.
Halford is still a paramount front man. His strong vocals range from multi octave falsetto to heavy metal growls. Priest’s rhythm section provided a pounding thump accented by Faulkner and guitarist, Andy Sneap’s dueling guitar fire.
The impressive set list continued with a trip down Judas Priest memory lane, both past and present. Among the highlights the band delivered the pounding 'Turbo Lover' and the Fleetwood Mac remake, 'Green Manalishi'. Shortly followed by a song title that is a favorite saying 'Some Heads Are Gonna Roll'; a lively, fun anthem featured on the 'Defenders Of The Faith'.
The cluster of favorites continued with 'Another Thing Coming' from the brilliant 'Screaming For Vengeance' album. Halford then left the stage only to return on his famed motorcycle which only meant one thing and that was 'Hell Bent For Leather' performed from the seat of a bike as only an accomplished showman can pull off.
As the opening notes of 'Metal Gods' echoed through the Prudential Center, the massive screen went dark only to appear with the image of the esteemed Glen Tipton. The response of the multitude ranged from cheers of elation to tears of joy. Tipton proceeded to join the band for the duration. He looked well and was still a formidable presence.
The concert culminated with two Priest classics 'Breaking the Law' and the song that epitomizes the band, 'Living After Midnight'. The camaraderie between the band members both past and present is heartfelt. Hartford kissing Tipton on the cheek, Faulkner’s command of the pieces that were written long before he walked this stage and of course the ever present Rob Halford who still remains one of the most notable voices in music.
I often use the term ‘staying power.’ I use it to define musicians who have transcended time unchanging but still able to reinvent themselves enough to reach the children and grandchildren of the folks who spent their youth spinning these albums. These are the bands whose first chord or vocal proficiency tells you exactly who they are. Judas Priest are one of those.
Review & Full Stage Photographs By Dawn Belotti
Close-Up Photographs By Martha Gorman