The Metal Gods are back! The almighty Judas Priest is out on tour to promote their 18th studio album “Firepower”, easily their best since 1990’s classic “Painkiller”. I had the pleasure of seeing them this week in San Francisco with the equally venerable and hard rocking Uriah Heep.
The opening song “Necromancer” was one of only a few select cuts from Firepower, as the rest of the set drew from the band’s 50 year history and included deep cuts like Starbreaker, The Sentinel, Tyrant, and the classic Victim of Changes. Yes, the Metal God can still hit those high notes!
The faces may not be the same but the Priest still rocks hard and rides free. Founding member K. K. Downing retired from the band in 2011, replaced by Richie Faulkner who fills the role with new energy. Glenn Tipton announced his retirement from touring in 2018 due to development of Parkinson’s Disease, with guitarist/producer Andy Sneap rocking that studded leather jacket in his place. Drummer Scott Travis (ex-Racer X) has been around since Painkiller and brings the heavy. Only bassist Ian Hill and frontman Rob Halford remain of the original lineup, but this is still a show not to be missed.
Halford still hits the high notes and the low growls, and turned the set into a metal fashion show with his jacket changes for literally every song. Openers Uriah Heep, on the verge of their own 50th anniversary, played a retrospective set of their own Deep-Purple-ish proto metal with great energy and good vibes.
Rumor has it that the Priest is going to be working on another studio album, if it’s anything like Firepower it should be great!
Catch Judas Priest on the Firepower tour! More info at http://www.judaspriest.com