“The Priest is back!” Headlining back-to-back nights at The Paramount in Long Island, N.Y., British heavy metal legends Judas Priest delivered a devastating performance Friday night (Nov. 6) to a sold out crowd at just over 1,500, making it a rather intimate show for a band who has been playing arenas for four decades and one to remember for the fans fortunate enough to get inside.
Opening with “Dragonaut” off their newest release, Redeemer of Souls, the crowd was immediately raucous with the general admission floor quickly pressing tighter as fans inched their way closer to the barricade. Judas Priest then tore through a few classics, including “Metal Gods” and “Devil’s Child,” the latter seeing Rob Halford employ his famed high singing, sounding as impressive as ever, displaying his remarkable range even at 64 years old.
Increasing the frenzied energy after “Devil’s Child,” they busted out ‘Victim of Changes,” which was one of the shining moments of the show, with Halford once again reaching into his upper register and belting out some screams powerful enough to serve as a time machine back to 1976 when the song was written.
The rest of the band put on a display, as well, with the dual guitar attack of Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner battling all night, Ian Hill‘s fearless bass playing and gyroscopic stage moves and Scott Travis proving he’s every bit worthy of the drum riser he sat upon, hammering away at his kit as if he was contractually obligated to leave it in pieces before the set was over. Extra note should be given to Faulkner, who continuously proves why he was chosen as K.K. Downing‘s replacement. His energy is ceaseless, engaging the crowd with fist-pumping chants, locked-in stares and dazzling guitar playing that should certainly see him counted among metal’s elite.
Halford had the crowd eating up every word he said between blazing through hit after hit, including the new classic “Halls of Valhalla,” as well as “Beyond the Realms of Death,” “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Breaking the Law.” Closing the first part of the set, the motorcycle revved up and the iconic singer appeared from a plume of smoke, riding out with his leather hat on and riding crop clenched between his teeth and the band ripped into “Hell Bent for Leather.”
Priest exited the stage briefly and the crowd responded with “Priest! Priest! Priest” chants, which was happening regularly between songs anyway. Quickly returning, the legends treated fans to “The Hellion / Electric Eye” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” before once again walking off.
Scott Travis remained behind his kit, asking the crowd what song they wanted to hear, a question that was unanimously met with animated cries of “Painkiller!” Making sure this is what the crowd wanted, he asked again and the response was even louder. The rest of Priest returned and unleashed a full-out aural assault with a punishingly loud rendition of the uncompromising track. Halford, hunched over his gleaming motorcycle, belted out the challenging song, which appeared fifteenth in the set, demonstrating why he is ‘The Metal God.’
Judas Priest capped off the night with some heavy crowd participation on “Living After Midnight” before bowing out and letting the crowd know, “The Priest will be back!”
Opening the show were Mastodon, whose psychedelic brand of sludgy heavy metal weaves hooks around ironclad riffing, bringing in an array of influences which gives them their unique sound. With the quartet trading off vocals, they commanded the stage giving the crowd a reason to keep their heads on a swivel. The 13 song set saw them run the gamut, playing cuts off each album except for Crack the Skye. The band was met with an overwhelming response from the crowd, which they thanked and explained what an honor it was to be opening for Judas Priest.
Check out our exclusive photos of Judas Priest in the gallery above!
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