Review and photos by Keith Perks
Judas Priest embarked on its North American 50 Heavy Metal Years tour earlier this month and made a stop at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Oct. 19. This tour sees the band hitting 29 cities in 21 states across the US with prog-metal pioneers Queensryche opening.
This was my first time seeing both bands. Queensryche had been a regular in my 5-disc CD changer back in the day. Priest had always been one of those metal bands that were of great importance. I mean… they’re celebrating 50 years! That’s pretty remarkable. In those five decades, they’ve rocked the charts and influenced countless bands, and vocalist Rob Halford is a metal icon for countless reasons.
I was legitimately excited waiting for the band to hit the stage. The Judas Priest cross was lowered and the intro music began. The crowd erupted when Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” started. They knew what was coming.
The cross lit up in red with bright white lights shooting out from it. It rose in the air as band members walked to the stage. In the back, Halford faced the drums with arms raised and then the hammer dropped…it was full-on metal for 15 songs and a three-song encore.
“Electric Eye” kicked things off rolling right into “Riding on the Wind” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” The backdrop was everything you’d expect from these “Metal Gods”: a grungy factory setting with tons of lights, fog, a giant LED screen, and of course…a motorcycle and a bull.
This was electric leather kind of metal. It was classic, loud and studded. It was full of solos and Halford’s demon-esque vocals. It was everything a 50-year celebration should be.
That night, everyone was hell-bent for Halford, including this photographer. At 71, his vocals are incredible and the musicianship of the band was exceptional, too. I’ve been slowly chipping away at my bucket list of bands. This will definitely go down as a very memorable concert for me.