November 4, 2014 Judas Priest Hell Bent at Barclays Center Brooklyn, NY 10-9-14 w/ Steel Panther
Returning to North American shores for the first time since the Epitaph Tour 2011, UK Metal Gods Judas Priest is back touring the continent. Perhaps one of the most important bands in the history of Heavy Metal, Judas Priest has been rocking and rolling forty plus years with a jukebox full of hits like no other. Following the departure of vocalist Rob Halford in 1992, many wondered if they would ever see him lead the band again. Then in 2003, the much anticipated reunion commenced with Halford back and Judas Priest as strong as ever. Since Halford’s return, they have released two successful albums and toured regularly. Now after a six year wait, Judas Priest unleashed their seventeenth studio album, Redeemer of Souls, to much praise back in July. To celebrate the new material, the line-up of Halford, Glenn Tipton (guitar), Richie Faulkner (guitar), Ian Hill (bass), and Scott Travis (drums) kicked off a 33-date tour with special guests Steel Panther October 1st and arrived in the borough of Brooklyn, NY Thursday October 9th to play Barclays Center for the first time.
Gearing up the evening of classic Metal was Los Angeles, CA’s Steel Panther. While the band may have been born in the new millennium, their sound and styling is a throwback to the glamorous days of the 1980’s, filled with big hair, neon colors, and uber make-up. Releasing their fourth studio album All You Can Eat back in April, the band recently completed a successful headlining tour around North America and seemed pumped up for the chance to play arenas alongside childhood heroes Judas Priest. Opening with Drummer Stix Zadinia’s popping snare on “Pussywhipped,” the band came out in their typical garments as they rocked fiercely. Inspired by the massive audience, Vocalist Michael Starr and lead Guitarist Satchel gave all they had, entertaining the venue as the sounds of “Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World,” “Asian Hooker ,” and “Community Property” blasted to the rafters having all bopping their heads and enjoying the music. With Bassist Lexxi Foxx visiting his vanity to check his hair, the tongue and cheek theatrics of what is Steel Panther was not wasted on this audience as everyone was engaged all set through. With many fans in the front row raising their drinks in approval, singing along, more great Metal tunes like “Eyes of a Panther” and “17 Girls in a Row” followed. Dazzling with guitar solos, while remaining as lude and crude as ever, some attendees chuckled merely saying, “Damn these guys are raunchy.” As their set wound down with “Gloryhole,” “Death to All but Metal,” and “Party All Day (Fuck All Night),” everyone applauded, making Steel Panther a hit at Barclays Center. The band certainly did a fantastic job of highlighting everything they do best and showed a whole new audience that they are a serious Metal band with fantastic musicianship, flare for fun, while not taking themselves too seriously.
Gearing up for the Heavy Metal extravaganza, chants of “Priest” came from all corners of the arena as the tension heightened with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” playing and the curtain still covering the stage. Mere moments following, the curtains drop and all hell broke loose at Barclay Center as Judas Priest went right to work with new track “Dragonaut.” As Halford stood in full metal regalia, long black leather trench, accessories of chains, and thick black aviators, he sang with ease as he hit each high note. Going into classics like “Metal Gods,” “Devil’s Child,” and Victim of Changes,” Tipton and Faulkner’s guitar work was flawless, as Halford’s vocals were vital. As Tipton and Faulkner came to the edge of the stage to get closer to the massive audience, cheers poured down in excitement merely feeding to the guitarists’ performance. Equally taking in everything, Hill threw his bass straight off of his leg with each note and Travis slammed his drums with tremendous excitement. Complemented by wonderful choreographed lighting and eerie stage smoke, it was easy to see Judas Priest was pulling out all the stops to bring the best show possible to their adoring fans.
Mixing in new songs like “Halls of Valhalla,” “March of the Damned,” and “Redeemer of Souls,” amidst “Love Bites” and “Turbo Lover” was the perfect balance, and fans reacted positively without a dull moment throughout. As Halford took the time between songs to address the audience, he showed sincere thanks and appreciation. He stated the band are celebrating the anniversary of a few albums, including the 40th anniversary of 1974’s Rocka Rolla, and 30th anniversary of 1984’s Defenders of the Faith. Given a moment to reflect on the astounding history of Judas Priest, one could not help but feel awed and grateful to have this band still performing at the level they are all these years later. As they went into the atmospheric powerful tune “Beyond the Realms of Death,” a brief hush came down as everyone watched Halford passionately sing the opening verse before erupting into the chorus. Following with “Jawbreaker” and a sea of chants for “Breaking the Law,” it was hard to fathom how the night could get any better. It did just that when Halford came rolling out on his motorcycle for set closer “Hell Bent For Leather” provoking more screams of joy than ever before. Keeping the decibel level high with whistles and applause, fans waited patiently for an encore from Judas Priest. Much to their satisfaction, the band came out for not one, but two encores beginning with everyone’s favorite sing-along “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” followed by “Living After Midnight” and “Defenders of the Faith.”
Judas Priest return after a three year absence from New York was welcomed with open arms. Proving they have not lost a step in their sound or stage presence, the show was nothing less than spectacular. While the tour continues through November 22nd, Metal fans are urged to get out there and buy tickets to catch these Metal giants in action.