Concert Review: Judas Priest prove their metal supremacy

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11285423805917.jpg’, ‘Photo by James Thompson’, ‘Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford (front) demonstrates his metal-rock angst on stage in concert at the Rockford MetroCentre Sept. 28.’);

Intensity rose, and the air got thick with anticipation just minutes before Judas Priest came on stage at the MetroCentre Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Hundreds of fans adorned the arena as intermission finished up and the set change became complete with a giant eye background and silver platforms held up by legs shaped as the Judas Priest symbol.

Hands immediately flew up into the air, and screams were heard from all directions as the lights dimmed and the show began.

Scott Travis, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill slowly walked on stage fully prepared for an amazing night of performing.

With the clicking of drum sticks, the crowd went crazy as Judas Priest began their first song of the set, “Hellion/Electric Eye.”

Hands flashed the universal heavy metal hand signal while their heads thrashed through the air to the beat of the music. The bass beat was so heavy, it felt as if it were beating the heart on its own.

What seemed like out of nowhere, Rob Halford, dressed in all leather, appeared in the center of the giant eye and enticed the audience into heavy metal heaven with his trademark vocal talent.

“Priest, Priest, Priest” was chanted after each song by the fans, who were begging for more. And more is exactly what Judas Priest gave.

Travis (drums), who was placed on a platform to see him better, played phenomenally. Travis never flinched, faltered or missed a beat through the entire performance.

Throughout the show, he twirled the drumsticks with his fingers and would occasionally toss one in the air in the middle of the song, catch it, and continue playing like the stick never left his touch. It seemed as if he were born with sticks in his hands and pedals under his feet.

Hill (bass) tended to play like a real heavy metal bass player would. He rocked his body, along with banging his head, along with the music, which made the sound seem a little more hardcore. Hill is one of the longest-standing members of Judas Priest.

Tipton and Downing play their guitars so heavy it causes this immense intensity between the two of them and helps create the powerful sound of their music.

Both men are extremely talented, not only with their guitar ability, but with their stage performance and audience interaction.

At one point, Hill, Tipton, Downing and Halford stood shoulder to shoulder with four guitars in front of them. Each member had one hand strumming his own guitar and the other hand playing chords on the next musician’s guitar. It was extraordinary guitar playing for all four of them.

Of course, the biggest excitement of the show was the return of Halford (vocals), who had left the band in 1993. He joined Judas Priest last year for Ozzfest, and luckily stuck around for their Retribution Tour.

Halford hasn’t changed a bit in the last decade. He still wears all leather (note the eight jacket changes during the show) and still carries one of the most unique vocal talents around.

The show began to end with Halford giving the crowd voice lessons. He would yell out a melodic pattern of sounds and have the crowd repeat it. The interaction with the crowd was very personal and entertaining.

Fans, expecting an encore, chanted “Priest” again and again, hoping for one more song from the metal gods.

With a blow of fake wind, one of the side curtains opened just enough to see a headlight shining out of a smoggy back stage. Fans cheered and stared in excitement as Halford rode his shiny silver motorcycle onto the stage.

Halford sat smiling for a few moments as the rest of the musicians joined him on the stage for the last song of the evening. They played “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” as the audience sang along.

Judas Priest played 19 songs, including four from their new album, and proved why many consider them to be one of the most talented heavy metal bands of the past 30 years.

From the Oct. 5-11, 2005, issue

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