Despite the band’s 46 years in existence and Rob Halford‘s ripe old age of 63, Judas Priest came on the main stage at 7.20pm and provided a masterclass in metal. The ominous rain clouds that seem ever-present at this festival had finally burst open but that did not deter proceedings as Priest cherry-picked a playlist of both new and old. Blasting out ‘Dragonaught’, the epic ‘Halls of Valhalla’ and the title track from their accomplished new album “Redeemer of Souls“, their 17th overall.
Long-term guitarist KK Downing retired in 2011 and his clone-like replacement Richie Faulkner performed to the expectedly high standards, making the transition seem seamless. Everyone did note-perfect renditions of their hits, including the anthemic ‘Metal Gods’ and the spectacularly cheesy ‘Turbo Lover’ amongst others, with the final two songs before the encore being the timeless classics ‘Breaking the Law’ and ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, for which Rob Halford rolled on the stage atop a gargantuan motorbike. Another astonishing feat in this very tight festival performance was Halford‘s voice, which was as impressively glass shattering as always. The encore got under way with Scott Travis providing the immortal drum intro to the earth shattering ‘Painkiller’, with the hooky ‘Living After Midnight’ following on.
Judas Priest put on a great show of fearless traditional metal, perhaps the best antidote for the heavy onslaught of Slipknot that was to follow.
Photo Credit: Andrew Whitton