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Judas Priest/ Black Label Society/ Thin Lizzy

Date: 11/18/11
Venue: Izod Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


I did not arrive to the show early enough to see Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society on purpose because I’m tired of these packages that come through America always having old bands who at this point with each year near retirement. And when it is a younger new band that opens for a traditional hard rock or metal name in America, it’s always someone shitty who has the shelf life of bread or is currently "popular" in the country because they were on Ozzfest or Mayhem fest, or fashionably unfashionable (short hair, trendy Hot Topic clothing, or just looking like they work in a garage fixing cars), playing noisy metalcore.

Within the past few years both Iron Maiden and Scorpions toured Europe and America, Dream Theater opened for Maiden in America, and even though I like them was nothing special. But Edguy did a couple shows overseas, and also opened for the Scorpions in Europe. Now why can’t we get talent like this in the U.S.? The Europeans, for both tours and festivals, get traditional bands like Edguy, Hammerfall, Kamelot, Symphony X, etc, playing bigger venues opening for big names, and we get the anti-metal hard rock of Disturbed, System Of A Down(er), and Linkin Parks, Korn (hahaha…Korn), and Stone Sour(balls), teeny-bopper favs Avenged Sevenfold and now Asking Alexandria (hahaha, the names are as bad as the music), or noise like Killswitch Engage. It’s ridiculous.

So Judas Priest are calling this the Epitaph tour, the last time they will go on the road for a long stretch of dates. From here on out after this tour (which could last a year or two), its selected dates and festivals. Look, it makes sense, the guys are in their 60s, how much longer can they wear tight leather and play this type of music without it failing in appearance and delivery.

Regardless of age, Rob Halford (vocals), Glenn Tipton (guitar), Ian Hill (bass), and Scott Travis (drums), still deliver Priest music in all its glory with heavy metal riffs, pounding bass and drums, and screaming vocals. And the new kid guitarist Richie Faulkner (who’s 20 plus years younger), has really given the guys a nice kicks in the ass, always on the move, working the crowd, and even getting Halford to be more mobile (look at my pics of the two together). No worries, Richie plays KK’s (Downing, original guitarist) licks and leads like they were recorded, at times doing his own thing without changing the song’s melody, and compliments Glenn very well. Concerning Halford, in my last couple reviews of Rob’s performance both solo and with Priest I’ve been pretty critical of a static/robotic stage presence. Tonight, the Metal God (age 60) sounded great, and unlike on the last few tours was making an effort more often than not to sing in the higher register (obviously he can’t anymore for ‘Painkiller’, at the time in 1991 it was insane on the studio version) hitting all the screams. He was great and livelier than I’ve seen him in recent years. Rob is really giving the Epitaph tour his all.

Setlist for this tour is a treat, and a history lesson, representing every album (aside from the two Tim Owens sang on unfortunately). It’s been a long time since oldies ‘Never Satisfied’ from "Rocka Rolla" and ‘Starbreaker’ off "Sin After Sin" were in the set so the crowd ate it up. ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘Night Crawler’!! Yes!...made my night. Two of my favorite songs off two of my favorite albums, "Defenders Of The Faith" and "Painkiller". And ‘Blood Red Skies’ (from the spotty "Ram It Down") was also good to hear again. The rest were the expected hits from ‘You've Got Another Thing Coming’, to ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Living After Midnight’, to metal anthems ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ and ‘Electric Eye’.

Priest aren’t done yet. The band says they have one more album in them which I can see, and selected shows in the future. It’s the beginning of the end but at this point you’d never know it. The Priest metal machine still has a ¾ full tank of gas.


Thin Lizzy:
Are You Ready
Waiting For An Alibi
Killer On The Loose
Rosalie/Cowgirl's Song
Black Rose
Cowboy Song
The Boys Are Back In Town

Black Label Society:
Crazy Horse
Funeral Bell
Bleed for Me
Suicide Messiah
Parade of the Dead
Fire it Up
Guitar Solo
Godspeed Hell Bound
Concrete Jungle

Judas Priest:
Rapid Fire
Metal Gods
Heading Out to the Highway
Judas Rising
Vicitim of Changes
Never Satisfied
Diamonds and Rust
Night Crawler
Turbo Lover
Beyond the Realms of Death
The Sentinel
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi
Breaking the Law
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Hell Bent for Leather
You've Got Another Thing Coming
Living After Midnight

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