The Priest was back! 50 years of metal was celebrated at The Maverik Center in West Valley City on Monday March 7, 2022, and it was not only a trip down memory lane but a time for fans to unite under the banner of metal.
Judas Priest was originally set to tour in 2019 for the official “50 years tour” but due to COVID it was pushed back to 2021. They were then scheduled to play West Valley City on September 30th but again had to rescheduled after guitarist Richie Faulkner (The Falcon) suffered an aortic aneurysm. This took place back in September while they were playing at the “Louder Than Life Festival”. After Richie’s inevitable full recovery, the mighty Priest took to the road again.
The 50-year celebration took fans back to the beginning of the band. Judas Priest was formed in Birmingham England; a very industrial town and the set reflected the industrial influence of their roots. 55-gallon drums were placed on the stage along with backdrop that featured breaker boxes and smokestacks. The set opened with “One Shot at Glory” from Painkiller. In a seamless transition, the heavy guitar riffs of “Lighting Strikes” filled the arena. A pause in the music followed as The Metal God Rob Halford welcomed the crowd to the show and introduced their signature smash hit “You Got Another Thing Coming.” The fast pace of “Freewheel Burning” gave the crowd a chance to see Richie back at work shredding solo after solo while sharing guitar duties with Andy Sneap who was originally scrapped from the tour. A huge fan outcry ensued insisting that Judas Priest would not be the same with only one guitar player. As a result, Sneap was brought back. The twin axe attack that the band is known for was showcased on “The Sentinel.” “A Touch of Evil” brought chills to the arena with projected visuals depicting the lyrics behind the song. The set then dove back to 1974 and “Rocka Rolla.” “Victim of Change” and “Desert Plains” kept the set in the early era of the band. “Blood Red Skies” was followed by the early gem “Invader.” “Painkiller” was up next and drummer Scott Travis pounded the opening to the song, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The rocketing crescendo of vocal notes demanded in the song solidified that even at 71, Rob Halford has in no way lost any of his vocal range.
After a short pause in the action the encore commenced with “Electric Eye” as the crowd shook their fists in the air. “Hell Bent For Leather” saw Halford arrive on stage on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. Bassist Ian Hill spent most of evening towards the back of the stage but during “Breaking the Law” he slowly moved forward. A giant inflatable bull found a place on stage as Judas Priest closed out the set with the iconic “Living After Midnight.” The band then congregated at the front of the stage and expressed their gratitude by sharing picks and drum sticks with the lucky few that were able to catch them.
Who knows if Judas Priest will continue to tour. Regardless, they have cemented their place in history as one of the greatest metal bands ever. You can catch them as they continue their 50th Anniversary tour throughout the year worldwide.