Legendary pioneers of British heavy metal, Judas Priest were finally able to bring their “50 Heavy Metal Years” anniversary tour to the Premier Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Saturday April 2nd. Originally scheduled for 2020, the long-awaited performance was first delayed by the pandemic, and was delayed for a second time in 2021 when guitarist Richie Falkner suffered a near-fatal aortic aneurysm.
The Priest was finally back, and the sold-out theater was primed and ready for an evening of heavy metal. As the house lights went down, the illuminated three pronged cross / trident band emblem was lowered from the lighting rig above the stage. The emblem first appeared on the Judas Priest “Sad Wings of Destiny” album cover around the neck of the fallen angel… The band opened their set with “One Shot at Glory” from their 1990 release “Painkiller” and followed it with “Lightning Strike”.
What became apparent early on was the condition of Rob Halford’s singing and speaking voice. Rob was clearly suffering from a cold or ailment, but he soldiered on like the professional that he has always been. Remarkably, Halford still managed to hit many of his signature screams, but he relied heavily on the more-than-willing audience to assist during the mid-range vocals and choruses. One such example was during “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, a fan favorite and a surprise move up to the third slot in the set.
The guitar tandem of Richie Falkner and Andy Sneap really started to hit stride during the standout tracks “Freewheel Burning” and “The Sentinel”. Following the departure of KK Downing, Falkner joined the band in 2011 and has been universally embraced by the fans. Andy Sneap was enlisted following Glenn Tipton’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease and has done a remarkable job as replacement guitarist and co-producer of their 2018 release “Firepower”.
Along with Scott Travis on drums and Ian Hill on bass, Falkner and Sneap continued their sonic assault and blistering lead guitar work as Halford stalked the industrial factory themed stage set. The career-spanning set list also included a rare playing of “Rocka Rolla” from their debut release in 1974, “Victim of Changes”, “Desert Plains”, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown), and of course the punishing “Painkiller”, which closed out the main set.
There are some things that never seem to get old, and one such thing is watching Rob Halford roll out on the Harley to sing “Hell Bent for Leather”, clad in his signature leather outfit and hat, mirrored aviator sunglasses, and leather riding crop.
Even though the fans weren’t treated to an appearance by Glenn Tipton during the encores, it didn’t diminish the love and admiration that they showered on the band in celebration of their 50-year legacy.
Unfortunately, the tour stop at Tsongas Arena in Lowell MA had to be postponed, presumably due to Rob Halford’s ailment. Hopefully, Rob will have a complete and quick recovery, so that the 50th Anniversary Tour and celebration can resume.
Battle Hymn Intro
1. One Shot At Glory
2. Lightning Strike
3. You've Got Another Thing Coming
4. Freewheel Burning
5. Turbo Lover
6. Hell Patrol
7. The Sentinel
8. A Touch Of Evil
9. Rocka Rolla
10. Victim Of Changes
11. Desert Plains
12. Blood Red Skies
13. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pron Crown) (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
14. Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez Cover)
16. The Hellion
17. Electric Eye
18. Hell Bent For Leather
19. Breaking The Law
20. Living After Midnight
Queensryche opened the show in grand fashion. Despite several personnel changes over the years, the band proved yet again why they continue to be an absolute force on stage. Focused mainly on their earliest material, the twelve-song set was loaded with many of their heaviest tracks. “Queen of the Ryche” and “The Warning” were the perfect openers and set the tone for the balance of their one-hour full-throttle performance.
Other highlights included personal favorites “Empire”, “Walk In The Shadows”, “The Whisper”, “Screaming in Digital” and the set list closer “Eyes of a Stranger”.
Bolstered by original members Michael Wilton (guitar) and Eddie Jackson (bass), the band is rounded out by Mike Stone on guitar, Casey Grillo on drums, and 10-year alum Todd La Torre on vocals. Wilton and Stone delivered all the power and precision that the songs demand, whether it be crushing power chords or intricate twin guitar leads.
Todd La Torre is in a class all by himself. There is truly nothing in the Queensryche catalog that he can’t sing. The power, clarity, and range in his voice is astonishing. I can’t imagine the legacy of this band in more able hands than Todd’s. Without question,
1. Queen Of The Reich
3. En Force
4. NM 156
6. Walk In The Shadows
7. The Whisper
8. Operation: Mindcrime
9. The Needle Lies
10. Take Hold Of The Flame
11. Screaming In Digital
12. Eyes Of A Stranger
ON TOUR MAGAZINE
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