Judas Priest Concert Review Arizona Federal Theater 03/16/22
Judas Priest Concert Review Arizona Federal Theater 03/16/22
Judas Priest Concert Review from the Arizona Federal Theater 03/16/22
by Roc Boyum
The long awaited return of the Metal Gods aka Judas Priest was finally here! The band descended upon the capacity filled Arizona Federal Theater in Phoenix, AZ on 03-16-22 with their “50 Metal Years” tour. The show began under darkness with an eerie voice over the PA system that was imparting a story about a time when all the earth was languishing in cold darkness until, from the deepest depths of the universe, a flame ignited that shook the very foundation of earth. Rising from the flames, a monster proclaimed itself to life…...I am Heavy Fucking Metal ! Simultaneously during the proclamation, a huge dark pitch fork that was horizontally hovering low over the stage, began to rise. Rising up high, it became vertical to face the audience and it burst into a fiery red glow, as Priest’s “The Hellion” from their “Screaming For Vengeance “LP played! The band then came out with the lineup that everyone had been waiting for; The Metal God himself, Rob Halford–vocals, the dual full metal assault power of guitarists of Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap, the thunderous and rock steady bass power of Ian Hill and the assaulting precision of drummer Scott Travis. The band was in top form, with Halford belting vocals with twice the power of any metal singer out there today.
The energy and rock steady bass work of Ian Hill, a member who has been there since day one, was the backbone of the band, driving the metal machine forward with his relentless onslaught. The dual guitars of Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap worked flawlessly together to deliver the iconic Priest dual guitar sound that has defined an era of the metal genre. Drummer Scott Travis was a metal drumming machine, with metronomic precision and impeccable chops, he drove the band forward with an undeniable force that included some stick twills with high stick tosses; for the complete metal effect! A real shout out must go to Priest’s sound engineering team who made the band sound like the shredding metal gods they are, while simultaneously and beautifully carving out each of the instruments and their sound with meticulous precision. This gave the band a sound that was heavy, articulate and second to none; definitely better than any other act I’ve heard at the Arizona Federal Theater – period!
50 Metal Years, is an apt title for this tour considering their show contained material that dated back to their debut 1974 release, Rocka Rolla. Their regular set was a full 14 songs, with an additional 5 songs for their encore. The band came out with the hard hitting “One Shot at Glory” from their Painkiller LP, a song that fired up the AZ Federal for a night of brilliant metal, “Priest” style. The evening had a multitude of brilliant moments and classic songs with most all containing an audience sing along. The audience participation really got started with the double assault from the Band’s Screaming For Vengeance LP, with You’ve Got Another Comin’, a song that was released in 1982 and became a metal anthem for the 80’s. The LP’s title track, “Screaming For Vengeance” has brilliant guitars, crazy drum breaks and a spine shivering scream in the middle breakdown by Halford that can only be describe as, pure fucking metal!
The beginning of the fan favorite “Turbo lover” started with columns of smoke on stage that were accented by flashing strobe lights that simultaneously pulsed to drummer Scott Travis’s aggressive and steadfast snare drum intro. This fan favorite had the full venue singing the chorus line, “I’m Your Turbo Lover, Tell Me There’s No Other”. For the guitar solo section, guitarist Faulkner took the first solo with Sneap taking the second solo; all the while, Halford and bassist Ian Hill were rocking out back by Ian Hill’s bass Cabinets. The song ended with a drum flurry by Travis whos actions were punctuated by flashing strobes.
The Sentinel began with a classic Priest dual guitar entrance that gave way to the aggressive guitar intro by Faulkner; Halford then shredded the PA system with his assaulting vocal entrance.
Halford introduce the song “Rocka Rolla” by associating this song to the name of this tour, “50 Heavy Metal Years” as this song goes all the way back to the beginning for Priest, which appeared on their debut studio release of the same name that was released on September 6, 1974 on Gull Records.
The song “Victim of Changes” was a concert staple in the bands’ early days and was originally titled “Whiskey Woman” Thanks to the help from guitarist Glen Tipton, the track finally appeared on their second release, Sad Wings of Destiny. Tonight, the song started off with Faulkner and Sneap, backlit with yellow stage light as they wielded the iconic dual guitar intro to the song. From there, the lights tuned blue as the dual guitars cranked up with a grinding rhythm that was seemingly relentless. The song also contains an insane guitar solo by Faulkner that leads into the song’s quieter part. The quiet section ends with Halford letting out a growl, as if it was coming from the pit of hell itself, with the band cranking up into the song’s raucous R&R outro that had a vintage video of guitarist Glenn Tipton ripping it up! The song ends with an drum and guitar ending that is the epitome of the classic metal onslaught ending.
The song Desert Plains is definitely an Arizona fav. and began with a beautiful desert backdrop.
The regular set finished with the (Joan Baez) cover, Diamonds & Rust and the Priest master piece, Painkiller . The later song was introduced by drummer Travis who asked the audience three separate times, what do you want to hear? The audience answered each time louder than the time before, Painkiller! Travis then launched into a blistering all out drum assault before he dropped into a steady double bass rhythm that kept grinding away until the guitars and Halford’s screaming vocals came in; Halford’s screaming vocals were relentless throughout the song and were defiantly pain killing. The song finally culminates to the ending that is a time honored metal cacophony that crashes to the end with Halford letting out a final wailing scream that ends it all.
The encore was like a best of the best, with five songs, each one defining and redefining metal music for the 80’s. To close out the night, they started the encore segment in the same manner the evening got started with a recording of “The Hellion” . “The Hellion” brought a sea of horns throughout the venue high up in the air in anticipation for the return of the Metal Gods! Just like on their Screaming For Vengeance, LP, the band immediately launched into “Electric Eye” which further ignited the already fervent frenzy. “Electric Eye” had everyone in the venue singing the lines: I’m made of metal, my circuits gleam, I am perpetual, I keep the country clean.…..Simply Brilliant!
The next sound that came from the stage was the thunderous rumbling of Halford‘s Harley as he revved the engine from behind a curtain signaling that it was now time for the metal and biker anthem song, “Hell Bent For Leather”. Launching from a cloud of smoke onto the stage on his Harley, Halford parked the bike back by the drum riser, turning back and pointing to drummer Travis, Travis immediately fired into the rapid drum roll beginning “Hell Bent For Leather”! The band ripped through the song like a tornadic metal music machine that keep the fans screaming until the song’s end.
To introduce the next song, Halford walked to the front of the stage, and told a story of a band that’s been together for 50 years and introduced a man who’s been there from the beginning. Halford made his introduction by saying: the man, the myth, the legend, the icon, come on out GT,. “Glenn Tipton” joined the band for the last three songs, starting off with the time honored classic “Metal Gods” before breaking into the unforgettable “Breaking the Law”.
The audience singing to “Breaking the Law” was so crazy, you would have thought the band and audience participation could in no way be topped, and yet for the final song “Living After Midnight”, they did exactly that! The sing along to this song was as loud as you’ll ever hear by any audience to any song and was a brilliant ending to this amazing show.
Judas Priest are an iconic metal band that have stood the test of time and will go down in the annals of rock & roll as one of the founding father bands of British metal; although this band has a lot more in the tank with a new LP coming soon that is said to have a more progressive edge; I can’t wait!
Get yourself out there to see Judas Priest, one of the best metal bands on the planet; you will be doing yourself a great injustice if you miss this band.
Check out the Judas Priest Arizona Federa Photo Gallery Here!
The AZ Federal set list was:
One Shot at Glory
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
A Touch of Evil
Victim of Changes
Blood Red Skies
Diamonds & Rust
from Tape: The Hellion
Hell Bent for Leather
Metal Gods-with Glen Tipton
Breaking the Law-with Glen Tipton
Living After Midnight-with Glen Tipton
From Tape: We Are The Champions