Friday, November 18, 2011

Epitaph? Not Really

Judas Priest

Venue:Quicken Loans Arena
Date: November 15, 2011

"A lonely grave and soon forgot/Only wind and leaves lament this mournful song/Yet they shout his epitaph out clear for anyone" From the Gospel of Judas Priest, Book Sad Wings of Destiny, sec. Epitaph

Metal forefathers Judas Priest are in the midst of their final world tour that they have dubbed “Epitaph.” While the morbid title gives a feeling of dreariness and sadness, the band is not coming to an end and their performance shows they have a lot left in the tank. The best part is they covered their whole 40 year history as they showcased songs from all of their albums (minus the ones with front man Tim “Ripper” Owens).

The set opened with the hammering “Rapid Fire”, which flowed right into “Metal Gods” both from the album where Priest found stardom “British Steel.” Rob Halford has been belting out the high notes for decades and he has not slowed one bit. He let out the most ear-piercing screams anyone could imagine. Just a like a wolf to the moon, the Metal God brought out the intensity to tracks like “Painkiller” and “Beyond the Realms of Death.”

Judas Priest also showed why they are one of the greatest metal bands ever because of their ability to write head-banging songs and also the fist-pumping, sing-along songs. The band pumped out “Heading Out to the Highway” and then followed it up with the screeching “Judas Rising.” Stalwarts in guitarist Glen Tipton, drummer Scot Travis, and bassist Ian Hill still had the vigor as if they were still in their twenties. The Priest stayed on fire all night and the stage set backed it up with smoke screens and a video screen to compliment the songs. On a closer look at the group though, one of the main members was missing.

Original guitarist K.K Downing left the band just before the start of the tour and a replacement was found in young-blood Richie Faulkner. Faulkner did not disappoint as he looked the part decked out in studs and was very energetic rousing the crowd to sing or clap their hands. The guys definitely found a great replacement to Downing. Faulkner brought his acoustic chops also doing a slower, more emotional version of “Diamonds and Rust”, which erupted to the electric outburst. The different arrangement to the song was very effective and one of the many highlights of the night.

After a whopping 140 minute set, Judas Priest closed the grave after reading their epitaph to Cleveland. With crowd favorites like “Living After Midnight,” “Breaking the Law,” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” and the lesser known songs like “Starbreaker,” “Never Satisfied,” and “Nightcrawler”; any casual or devout Priest follower is sure to not be disappointed because after 40 years they can still deliver the goods.

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