These are the special ones. The shows that hearken back to the bands that first made an impression on a developing little headbanger. The shows that feature artists in the twilight of long distinguished careers. You never know if this is the last time you’ll get to see these guys perform live again. These are the shows to really cherish. Especially when a group of senior citizens flat-out obliterate an arena with a blitzkrieg of metal.
40 plus years into their career and they still deliver like a band half their age. You see some singers lose their high range as they age. Well, Rob Halford is apparently a robot. He doesn’t quite move around the stage as he once did, but he hit all of the high notes without issue. Guitarist Richie Faulkner ably filled the shoes of retired K.K. Downing both in sound and in stage presence. Uber-metal producer Andy Sneap did an admirable job in filling in for the Parkinson’s stricken Glenn Tipton. San Antonio was lucky enough to be one of the dates in which Tipton came out for an encore of Metal Gods, Breaking the Law and Livin’ After Midnight. He looks frail, but it was really nice to see him able to perform on stage one last time.
The set list Priest brought to the table this evening was just outstanding. They rolled out four songs from the new album, Firepower. The oldest song from the remainder of the set list was from 1990. So, it was really a show featuring the vintage Priest material. All of the huge hits were represented along with some fairly obscure gems like Sinner, Saints in Hell and Tyrant.
Long time NWOBHM heroes, Saxon, opened up the show and also served notice that age will not slow down these metal giants. Given an hour set, Biff and the boys alternated between a set of new songs from Thunderbolt and their many classic anthems. Crusader, Denim and Leather, Wheels of Steel, The Power and The Glory and Motorcycle Man were are represented and met with a huge San Antonio reaction.
Judas Priest-Saints in Hell