Judas Priest with Saxon and Black Star Riders at the Prudential Center
The Prudential Center
March 20, 2018
Judas Priest is an English heavy metal band that formed almost 50 years ago (1969). Frequently ranked among the greatest heavy metal bands of all time, Priest has sold well over 50 million albums and CDs.
During its career, the band has had a number of line-up changes—most notably a revolving group of drummers. The current line-up consists of vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. It should be noted that Tipton and Hill are the only two members of the band to appear on every album. In addition, it was recently announced that Tipton would not be able to participate during this current tour, due to Parkinson’s disease. Tipton has not left the band, but guitarist Andy Sneap has been hired to stand-in for Tipton during the tour.
The band’s tour, in support of its Firepower (Columbia Records, 2018) CD, made its way to Newark’s Prudential Center on Tuesday, March 20th, and with the help of Black Star Riders and Saxon, proceeded to blow the roof off of the arena.
The evening began with Black Star Riders, a band that rose from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, after the then members of that band decided that they would reform and release new music under the Black Star Riders banner. The group which features Ricky Warwick (vocals, guitars), Scott Gorham (guitars, backing vocals), Damon Johnson (guitars, backing vocals), Robbie Crane (bass, backing vocals) and Chad Szeliga (drums) appeared on stage at 7pm and delivered a set of tunes that immediately got the audience into the mood. Highlights included:”All Hell Breaks Loose” and the cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.”
Next up, at 8pm, was Saxon. The English heavy metal band was formed in 1977 and is widely considered to have influencedmany bands including Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeath, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, Testament and Metallica. Saxon, currently comprised ofBiff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn (guitar), Doug Scarratt (guitar), Tim “Nibbs” Carter (bass) and Nigel Glockler (drums) began its aggressive set with the title track from its 2018 CD, <em>Thunderbolt</em> (Militia Guard Music). Highlights included: “Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz),” “They Played Rock and Roll” and “Heavy Metal Thunder.”
As the evening inched toward 9pm, the arena had filled, the energy and anticipation were at their highest points, the main stage was hidden behind a curtain and the crowd was ready. When the opening notes of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” rang out over the sound system, the audience members lost their minds. Soon the curtain was gone and the band got the party started with the title track from Firepower. This was a band out to deliver a show that was both strong, combustible and electrifying--much like the title of the band’s latest CD.
Highlights of the incendiary performance included the renditions of the group’s best-loved songs—“Running Wild,” “The Ripper,” “Lightning Strike,” ”You Got Another Thing Coming,” “Hell Bent For Leather,” and the main set closer “Painkiller” all of which kept the crowd on its feet throughout the set.
The encores set the already out of their minds crowd over the edge. Tipton was introduced, and the guitarist remained on stage and played with the band on “Metal Gods,” “Breaking The Law” and “After Midnight.”
Though by no means a short show (the band played 19 songs including the encores), in the blink of an eye it was over and Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was blaring from the speakers. The multi-generational crowd, many of whom were dressed for the occasion in leather, denim, studs, Judas Priest t-shirts and the like were treated to a night they wouldn’t soon forget.
Photos by Christine Connallon
War Pigs (pre-recorded opening Black Sabbath song)
Guardians (pre-recorded opening)
Saints in Hell
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover) (tour debut; first since 2012)
Evil Never Dies
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Hell Bent for Leather
Metal Gods (with Glenn Tipton)
Breaking the Law (with Glenn Tipton)
Living After Midnight (with Glenn Tipton)
We Are the Champions (pre-recorded Queen song)