Judas Priest Turns Back the Clock in Performance Sunday in Saint Charles

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

— by Sean Derrick

 

The Priest is back! Fresh off the heels of their performance and long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a week ago, metal icons Judas Priest stormed into The Family Arena in Saint Charles, Missouri last night and blew the roof off with a top-notch show.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Judas Priest isn’t touring in support of a new album, their latest release, Firepower, dropped in 2018. Instead, they are treating fans to a collection of deep tracks and tracks that haven’t been played live in a long time. Tracks like “Genocide” hadn’t been played at a Priest show in 40 years thrilled longtime Priest fans.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Of course, there were the staples like ‘Beyond the Realms of Death” and “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)”, but to hear deep cuts are always a treat for hardcore fans. It is, however, the 40th anniversary of their best-selling Screaming For Vengeance album from which the majority of the songs from this setlist came from.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Vocalist Rob Halford’s voice sounded excellent, better than the last 10 years I have seen them. He transitioned from high wails to low guttering growls effortlessly, almost as effortlessly as he changed coats during the show. Halford basked in the glory and adulation that was thrust upon him by his adoring fans.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The stage was very industrial, keeping in the theme of “heavy metal”, it had a very visual aspect with a modern aspect in the large video screen behind drummer Scott Travis.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

From the opening notes of “The Hellion/Electric Eye” the huge Devil’s Tuning Fork was lifted up to the rafters with its spotlights piercing through the smoke, giving the crowd a sense of how the show would be.

Judas Priest’s Devil’s Tuning Fork rising at the start of their show in Saint Charles Sunday Night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Matching Halford’s exceptional vocal skills (I’ve said it for 40 years – you can’t have a genuine conversation about who the best vocalist in metal is without including Rob Halford) the rest of the band was spot on. Guitarist Richie Faulkner showed no ill effects from the ruptured aorta he experienced 14 months ago onstage at the Louder Than Life Festival (the day after they played at Saint Louis Music Park here).

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Guitarist Any Sneap has been terrific filling in for Glen Tipton as he battles Parkinson’s. Founding member Ian Hill is rock steady on bass and compliments the exceptional work of drummer Scott Travis well.

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Throw in a few theatrics: Halford riding in on a motorcycle for “Hell Bent for Leather” is a staple, the Devil’s Tuning Fork coming back down during “Steeler” creating an immersion of sight and sound was epic, as is the definitive twin axe attack that has defined Judas Priest as pioneers of that style. Guitar solos, loud, bombastic, feel it in your chest style metal riffs, and a take no prisoners attitude and you have a prime example of what a true metal show should be. (I didn’t quite get the inflatable giant bull that was brought in prior to “Living After Midnight” but eff it, it’s heavy f’n metal, right?)

Judas Priest performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Do not miss the airing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony this weekend on HBO, the band played three songs and former members K.K. Downing, Les Binks, joined the band to perform, along with Tipton. It really was special to see.

Veteran prog rockers Queensryche opened the show with a magnificent set that was highlighted by such classics as “Take Hold of the Flame”, “Operation: Mindcrime”,”Empire” and, of course “Eyes of a Stranger”. They played a new song “Behind the Walls” from their just released album, Digital Noise Alliance, which captures the classic style of Queensryche with a new updated edge. They were supposed to play “Screaming in Digital” (one of my all-time favorites) after “Take Hold of the Flame”, but it was a last-minute cut due to the set run length. Bummer.

Queensryche performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Vocalist Todd La Torre has taken the band back to its roots and core sound that was drifting away in the latter years of the Geoff Tate era. Guitarist Mike Stone, who had been in the band previously, is back in the fold to compliment founding members guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson.

Queensryche performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

For those dismissive of the current lineup check out the new album (the 4th helmed by La Torre) and honestly tell me that the band hasn’t regained their core sound and new energy.¬† Their live shows display that new energy each time I have seen them. Last night was no exception.

Queensryche performing at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, MO Sunday night. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Be sure to check out the complete photo gallery after the setlists below.

 

Judas Priest Setlist:

The Hellion/Electric Eye

Riding on the Wind

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Jawbreaker

Firepower

Never The Heroes

Beyond the Realms of Death

Judas Rising

Devil’s Child

Genocide

Steeler

Between the Hammer and the Anvil

Halls of Valhalla

The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)

Screaming for Vengeance

Encore:

Hell Bent for Leather

Breaking the Law

Living After Midnight

 

Queensryche Setlist:

Queen of the Reich

Warning

En Force

NM 156

Behind the Walls

Empire

Operation: Mindcrime

The Needle Lies

Take Hold of the Flame

Eyes of a Stranger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.