It’s been a while since Judas Priest last visit the ‘valley of the sun’, but it was an odd night for us to see them live, It could be the impact of the new album or perhaps the heavy metal calendar being dumped over Arizona this week (Amon Amarth, Judas Priest, Arch Enemy, Kreator, Slayer & Exodus) all in the same week. So I was surprised when I saw so many empty seats at the beginning of the night, especially in the pit area. Where all the devoted heavy metal fans?, Yes, it was a Wednesday night, and many of us have to work in the morning, but still why so many seats are empty?.
I guess it was a combination of everything, a heavy metal concert in the middle of the week, and i also want to go to see Slayer, or I saw Amon Amarth last Sunday, or I didn’t like Judas Priest‘s new album and so on. But we can’t deny those factors affected concert attendance when you talk about a band like Judas Priest. I heard it while in line to Amon Amarth last Sunday, people are not used to have major bands coming to the state one after another during the same week. So I guess the low attendance in any of those shows will be due to either the date, relevance, or choice.
However, Wednesday night the Gila River Arena dressed up in leather to received, Judas Priest, one of the greatest heavy metal bands in history. They are currently on the road with Steel Panther promoting their new album Redeemer Of Souls. I got to the venue around 6:30 pm, after picking up my credentials I got in, sort out the photo pit protocol, the head to my seat inside the arena and waited for Steel Panther. Around 7:30 the Los Angeles’s hair metal last hope got on stage.
Now, this was my first time seeing them live, and let me tell you they made me laugh my ass off, I am not sure the father and teenage daughter (that I assume was her first heavy metal show) seated next to me had the same opinion or even enjoyed their show as much as I did. Steel Panther is a funny, grotesque and unfiltered reminiscence of the Sunset Strip’s long gone hair metal era. They had the Motley Crue & Guns N’ Roses attitude mixed up with Van Halen and Poison music style. Now their lyrics are a well-fit satire to the style of metal they are representing, otherwise I can’t explain how songs like Asian Hooker, Party Like Tiger Woods, Community Property or 17 Girls In A Row make a lot of sense in a scene that forgot its very origins. Now regardless of how simple Steel Panther‘s music can be, they are really good at entertaining and warming a crowd before a heavy metal act like Judas Priest.
Now after that experience I was ready for some real metal. The metal gods took the stage around 8:45 pm, and is still unreal how after 40 years of musical career, the voice of Rob Halford can be so powerful as it was back in the 80’s. Their show was elegant, bright, and fucking heavy. Even though it was a low rate of younger people among the audience, it was a moment that the screams coming out from the arena were like those of teenagers seeing one of those new industry made up pop acts.
Like a good whiskey, Judas Priest only gets good with the past of time. Even though they have a new and genius guitar player in Richie Faulker, at times you miss the charisma of K.K Downing. The sound of Judas Priest has not evolved or morph into something new, their sound has connected with the modern world to deliver their music to the new generations. Still they have that punch and that mystic energy so characteristic of them. At the logistical level was not pyro or lots of smoke involved on their set. But, they had gigantic screens sequenced with a lot of light that did the trick to deliver a great heavy metal show.
Overall it was a magical night full of good old school heavy metal, I just hope next time Judas Priest hits town again more people shows up, because you never know what the future holds, and if this could be their last tour or not.
Victim of Changes
Halls of Valhalla
March of the Damned
Redeemer of Souls
Beyond the Realms of Death
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Living After Midnight
Defenders of the Faith