Metal Gods Judas Priest steamrolled through Concord, California’s Sleep Train Pavilion on their Epitaph World Tour courtesy of local radio station 107.7 the Bone’s annual Bone Bash (that’d be XII for those of you keeping score). While folks made have had a tough time hoofing it out to the boonies on a Thursday evening in time to catch an early Thin Lizzy set, by the time Black Label Society wrapped up the seats were full and the crowd was pumped.
At 8:45, the curtain dropped to reveal a stoic Halford in all his studded-leather glory and the metal began. Launching into British Steel’s Rapid Fire, Halford prowled the stage while the twin guitar attack of Tipton and Faulkner blazed and Ian Hill held down the bottom end, somehow without moving his feet during the entire set. During Metal Gods, Halford summoned the pyro … with a perfectly timed flick of the wrist, flames erupted from the stage and all things metal were a-okay. The crowd, which had been relatively sedate during BLS’s set, finally hit its stride during Heading Out To The Highway … singing along, pumping fists and finally giving Priest their well-earned due.
With nearly 40 years under their belt, I would have forgiven a few flubs, but even when I had my doubts that Rob wasn’t going to be able to hold a note, he proved me wrong time and again. And it was during Priest’s cover of Joan Baez’s Diamonds and Rust that Halford truly shined … nailing the vocals as Scott Travis exercised his drumstick gymnastics while keeping the simple beat. Any doubt to whether Halford deserved the title “Metal God” quickly evaporated.
The Priest fanatics will be quick to point out K.K. Downing’s poorly timed retirement from the band in April of this year. Frankly it was an epic shame that he did not participate in this farewell but I must say that Richie Faulkner held his own and, despite being unable to dodge the obvious comparisons to K.K., brought some of himself to the leather suit.
While Priest brought the metal song after song, it was tough to ignore the fact that this was probably the last time anyone in the audience would see the mighty Priest again live. And while it was a work night, I was astounded by the number of people trickling out to the parking lots (presumably heading out to the highway, haha) only one and a quarter hours into this epic set. Don’t make the same mistake and squander your last chance to see the metal gods live EVER AGAIN (link to tour dates)!
- Rapid Fire
- Metal Gods
- Heading Out to the Highway
- Judas Rising
- Victim of Changes
- Never Satisfied
- Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
- Dawn Of Creation / Prophecy
- Night Crawler
- Turbo Lover
- Beyond the Realms of Death
- The Sentinel
- Blood Red Skies –
- The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Breaking the Law
- The Hellion / Electric Eye
- Hell Bent for Leather
- You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
- Living After Midnight
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