JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

November 6, 2014
Allen Event Center
Allen, TX USA
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Fabien Castro

Judas Priest

PRIEST! PRIEST! PRIEST!

A few years ago, fans of Judas Priest started seeing signs of the band's demise. From the strange, ill-received Nostradamus album to the legendary KK Downing leaving the band in 2011, the future looked bleak. When a farewell tour was announced, most of us believed that we would be seeing them for the last time, and many of us were not happy that the final tour would have a replacement guitarist...until we saw him.

While Richie Faulkner may not be 100% responsible for the resurgence that Judas Priest have enjoyed in 2014, I believe that his presence is a big reason that fans are so excited about their latest record and tour. His youthful energy is all over Priest's brilliant new record Redeemer of Souls, and his songwriting and guitar skills have given us the best collection of songs since 1990's Painkiller. After hearing Redeemer of Souls, Judas Priest's current tour became the most anticipated show of the year for me.

As the curtain dropped at the Allen Event Center, opening song "Dragonaut" had the crowd of middle-aged metalheads feeling like teenagers again, as they pumped their fists and let the band's intensity fire them up for the next hour and a half. Live staples like "Metal Gods" and "Breaking the Law" were mixed in perfectly with fan favorites "Devil's Child" and "Love Bites." Glenn Tipton displayed his perfect tone as he nailed the solo during "Beyond the Realms of Death." Rob Halford hit all the ear-shattering screams in "Victim of Changes," which just might be the greatest live song in heavy metal history.

The band was clicking on all cylinders, but the night's biggest standout was the new song "Halls of Valhalla." This is the best song Priest has written in decades, and hearing it live was incredible. Halford's vocals ranged from a death metal growl to a high-pitch screech, and Richie Faulkner played his solos with a ferocity that I haven't seen in a metal guitarist since Dimebag Darrell Abbott passed away almost ten years ago. Experiencing this song live is something I'll never forget, and if Priest continues to tour, they should include "Halls of Valhalla" in every set.

Finishing the night in classic style, Halford drove his motorcycle onto the stage as the band tore into "Hell Bent for Leather," and followed with sing-along versions of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," "Living After Midnight," and "Defenders of the Faith" that left the exhausted audience screaming for more.

This Judas Priest show had a completely different feel to it than the last tour. Richie Faulkner played with a lot more confidence this time, and seems to have reinvigorated the rest of the band. Scott Travis and Ian Hill played with precision, and Tipton sounds every bit as good as he ever did. Halford still commands the stage like no other frontman in heavy metal, and his voice has held up remarkably well over the years. I think the greatest thing I heard all night was Halford saying, "The Priest will be back!" I can't wait to see what they do next!