Article by Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Judas Priest is one of those metal groups that have not only survived the “Grunge” era of the 90s, but they have revived with audiences around the world. Hard to believe, or imagine, that these Metal Gods are not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, an honor that has eluded them ever since they were first eligible. It is shameful and disappointing. Nevertheless, as one of the leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal from the 80s, they continue to march to their own beat and crank out hit albums, including last year’s Firepower. They recently embarked on the 2nd leg of the North American tour, this time with British metal veterans Uriah Heep coming with them. Their final stop of the tour was to Sin City at the Hard Rock Hotel’s fabulous venue, the Joint. It kind of reminds me of the Grove in Anaheim. I have always wanted to get in a show there, so Judas Priest was the perfect choice for me and Rockaholic to travel to Las Vegas.
I have only heard the name Uriah Heep a handful of time, but I had no clue what they were all about. When they stepped onto the stage and hit the audience with “Grazed by Heaven,” I was immediately hooked by their classic metal sound. Frontman Bernie Shaw captivated the crowd with his mid-range falsetto singing, combined with his stellar stage presence. While he is not the original singer of Uriah Heep, you would think he was by the way he carries the group. The true of the group was lead guitarist and sole original member Mick Box. He was razor-sharp and slayed all the riffs and solos that helped make the group a success since the late 60s. They too just released a new album last year, Living the Dream, and while I am still new to them, I am curious to hear it now. They played 9 songs for a good hour, and the fans were ecstatic to hear their classic hits like “Too Scared to Run,” “Sunrise,” “Between Two Worlds,” “Gypsy,” “Look at Yourself,” “Stealin’,” and their biggest hit in the U.S., “Easy Livin’.” Uriah Heep was still living their dream of rocking out to the fans.
Full Uriah Heep gallery below:
As the fans were serenaded over the PA with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (where they sung the lines), Rob Halford’s silhouette appears behind a glass door, and then the Gay Heavy Metal God Grandpa, dressed up like he is the head of the Mardi Gras float with his purple outfit, stepped into the light to give us a dose of Judas Priest as they went into “Necromancer.” The man is 67 years old, and not only can he still torture us with his throaty growl, but he can still hit those high ear-shattering falsetto notes like it was cake walk. He is not as fast on stage as he once was, but he makes up for it with his voice. After many years on the road, he still earns the name of “Metal God.” Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap conquered the double lead guitar attack that was made famous by K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. Ever since replacing Downing, Faulkner has breathed new life in the Mighty Priest. Sneap has done a wondrous job on the axe since Tipton retired from touring due to Parkinson’s disease. Longtime bassist Ian Hill was still a mighty beast on the bass, while drummer Scott Travis called down the thunder and gave the fans “THE BOOM!”
I saw Judas Priest last year at Las Rageous, and they played a bunch of their hits the Priest loyalists love to hear. On this tour, it was really different because they played a bunch of deep tracks that only the hardcore Priest fans would know. I have to say, it was quite refreshing and fun to hear. While a majority of the songs came from Firepower (“No Surrender,” “Spectre,” and “Traitors Gate”), their long set list included stuff from their vast catalogue, from “Heading Out to the Highway” to “The Sentinel,” “(Take These) Chains,” “Judas Rising,” “Starbreaker,” “Halls of Valhalla,” “Tyrant,” “Victims of Changes,” and “All Guns Blazing.” Though I did not know a majority of these tunes by heart, I followed them closely throughout the night and sang my heart out, especially to “All Guns Blazing.” For the encore, Priest showered us with 3 of their biggest hits, “Hell Bent for Leather,” “Breaking the Law,” and the ever-so iconic “Living After Midnight.”
Full Judas Priest gallery below:
With the tour drawn to a close after that night in Vegas, Judas Priest have continued to kick painkiller ass. I really enjoyed hearing the tunes that do not usually get played on tour. Uriah Heep really surprised me with his classic sound, and I hope to see them again someday down the line. It was Rockaholic’s first time seeing them, and it is safe to say he has become an even bigger fan that night. Joining us for the show was my Vegas gal pal, Amy G., who I am now dubbing the Countess Vamp. It was a great night in Las Vegas to be screaming for vengeance, while high on firepower. To Judas Priest and Uriah Heep, I salute you. Horns up!!!