Still delivering the goods
Scotiabank Centre, Halifax, NS Canada
Nov. 10th, 2015
Review by EvilG, Photos by Celtic Bob
“It took us 40 years to get here”
– Rob Halford
For the first time in their lengthy career, the Metal Gods came to Atlantic Canada for a single show in Halifax. Rather than lament about their absence from the other Atlantic Canadian provinces (Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) on this, or any other tour, we shall focus on the fact that they finally came to our part of Canada!
Before we get to Judas Priest, a few words about the opener, Mastodon, is required. I have to admit, I am not into the band, their animal-like drumming, and overall lack of a discernible melody at least while playing live. Yes, they are talented, it’s kinda proggy, but it’s just not my cup of tea. A lot of younger folk seemed to be into them, and were probably as happy to see them as they were Priest. So it was perhaps a good pairing, but I would have preferred seeing a band with more in common with Judas Priest.
“Some of you traveled a long way to be here tonight, some of you came from just around the corner. I think I saw some of you at Tim Hortons.”
– Rob Halford
After most of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” was played over the PA (which prompted a giant sing-along), the intro (~30secs) to the song “Battle Cry” was played while the band took to the stage behind the large curtain adorned with a steely classic Judas Priest logo. As the curtain fell, the band roared in with “Dragonaut” from their latest album REDEEMER OF SOULS (2014). With the opening line “Welcome, to my world of steel, master of my domain“, it’s a fitting theme to the beginning of a night of classic, powerful, melodic, heavy metal. It is of course an honour to have the metal delivered to us from the band that were largely responsible for the forging of the genre into the sound and image we’ve come to know and love.
There were not a lot of surprises in the setlist, and long time fans of course would love to hear something different such as “Freewheel Burning”, “Bloodstone”, “Exciter”, “Metal Meltdown”, etc. The band oddly overlooked their big comeback album (which is one of their best) ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION (2005). They did play a few tracks from their most recent album which fit in perfectly with the classics. For a surprise, they did sneak in “The Rage” from BRITISH STEEL which was neat, as was “Screaming for Vengeance”.
A song that many of us love to hate, but once it starts we just love it, is “Turbo Lover”. It’s been a fixture in their setlist for a while and I guess because it’s a “hit”, it remains in there.
For me, one of the big highlights of the night was Halford’s vocal performance for the song “Beyond the Realms of Death”. There is such emotion and power in this one, it gave me goosebumps.
Another standout is the guitar solo by Richie Faulkner. Driven along by Travis’ thumping kick drum, the solo had it all: shred, feeling, and melodic themes. I luckily ran into the band at the airport on my way home from Halifax, and I commented to Richie that his solo was awesome and he said “I find it sounds better after you’ve had a few beers” 🙂
The usual Priest concert trademarks are still evidenced: Halford’s sing-along aria, the motorbike rolled out for “Hellbent for Leather”, Halford’s many coat changes (including a new “Metal Gods” biker coat which was presented to Halford prior to the show by a fellow Newfoundland acquaintance of mine!), and of course Ian Hill’s steadfast presence rocking out in the back of the stage, etc. It all still works and is all done without any hints of tiredness or repetition. This is a band that is once again at the top of their game and one of the best arena-level metal bands we have.
I look forward to Judas Priest’s next album, and tour….a tour that will hopefully see the band hit Atlantic Canada again!!!
Victim of Changes
Halls of Valhalla
Redeemer of Souls
Beyond the Realms of Death
Screaming for Vengeance
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Living After Midnight