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Judas Priest has Heads Rolling In Tulsa

By • Apr 28th, 2018 • Category: Live Show Reviews

Article and Photos by Jennifer Reid Morris

On April 26, 2018, the long awaited arrival of Judas Priest in Tulsa had come to an end. Joined by Black Star Riders and Saxon heavy metal was once again alive and well in Tulsa.

Opening the night was Black Star Riders fronted by Irishman Ricky Warwick. Clad in leather and bandanas he has taken on quite a different look. Led by guitarist Scott Gorham who originally joined the band (Thin Lizzy) in 1974, he surrounds himself with stellar musicians in Damon Johnson and Robbie Crane. They are dedicated to their new music and chose to only perform one Thin Lizzy song, Jailbreak. The set was rocking from beginning to end and Black Star Riders are easily ready to headline their own show.

The second opener of the night was the British band Saxon. Also formed in the 1970’s they were hailed as one of the leaders of new wave heavy metal. Vocalist Bif Byford has held on to his metal persona. His long hair, now white, played no hindrance in his ability to helicopter his head around while the white locks went flying. His sidekick and only other original member guitarist Paul Quinn was reserved but impressive. Shredding like he was still in his prime, he was a major character in the set.

After a short break and mishap with the stage curtain, Judas Priest was ready to roll. With yellow and red hues setting the stage, the incomparable Rob Halford stepped out. Beginning the night with their single “Firepower”, which also carries the name of the 2018 album, metal heads everywhere roared.  Dressed in a gold jacket, gold pants and sunglasses he wailed his way through the number. Bold and formidable it was the perfect introduction to his fans. They continued through the 16 song set with additional tracks from the newest release including “Lightning Strike,” and “Evil Never Dies,” which are listed back to back on the album. The current material echo’s vintage Priest and has resuscitated the metal world.

The classics were plentiful. Selections like “Turbo Lover,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin,” and “Painkiller” are always sure to please but a surprise in “Electric Eye” kept the audience engaged. As “Electric Eye” began to wind down, Halford disappeared. Suddenly, the grinding of a motorcycle radiated through the speakers. He re-emerged riding his beloved Harley as the band broke out into “Hell Bent For Leather.” The crowd went wild. The song wrapped, and he stood from his bike. He asked the audience “What do you want?” as the words “Painkiller” flashed on the screen. The response was deafening. After confirming they did in fact want the 1990 hit he cued his band to bring it loud. And they delivered.

With the exit of Glenn Tipton, people have wondered how the band would carry on and exactly how Tipton may be. The latter was answered during the encore as “Breaking The Law” initiated and the famed guitarist graced the stage. The wave of emotion that came over the crowd was touching. The welcomed him as warmly as metal heads know how, with thunderous applause. He led the band through the final 3 numbers that also included “Metal Gods,” and “Living After Midnight.” Slow, but steady he joined Halford for some choreographed moves at center stage and interacted with the audience continuously. No other ending could have brought the same effect. The surprise was a success.

 

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