Towards the end of their current European tour, with playing big festivals as like the Wacken open air, British steel masters of Judas Priest had a stop in Tilburg, The Netherlands for playing a show at 013.
It was a few minutes after 20:00 when the lights have been turned off and after the ‘Firepower’ intro announced a metal storm, it was the title track of the latest album that turned the 013 into a metal madhouse. A digital backdrop projection has been a terrific visual background for the opener and most of the other songs with the artwork of the respective longplayers as an introduction.
As you know from several news reports, it wasn’t possible for axeman Glenn Tipton to play the entire shows on that tour due to health issues. Tipton was replaced by no less than Andy Sneap and even though it’s a pity that Tipton couldn’t be part of the tour, Sneap was more than just a replacer. He was well intergrated and obviously enjoyed himself a lot by being on stage with the metal legend. He and Richie Faulkner unleashed twin guitar riffpower with both guitarists framing the Metal God himself. Rob Halford was again in good voice, showing that he still belongs to the best singers in metal, manifested not only, but especially, by his performance of the extremely demanding ‘Painkiller’.
What sometimes almost literally moves a bit to the back, or almost is taken for granted, is the hard working rhythm section of the band. Scott Travis and Ian Hill, the latter as usual being the hard worker on one sqm in the background, provide the band with the metallic heartbeat. These guys are the engine and also in Tilburg, the duo anchored the band in a great fashion.
The setlist that night couldn’t look much better than what the band decided to play in Tilburg. The 100 minutes concert included some new and a lot of old stuff. Judas Priest surprised with the really strong ‘Firepower’ album a few months ago and therefor it wasn’t very unexpected that the best four songs (‘Firepower’, ‘Lightning Strikes’; ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Rising from Ruins’) have been played that night. These new smashers have been framed by a lot of classics, timeless songs that stand for the start of heavy metal. The good old ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ days have been present with a blistering performance of ‘The Ripper’ and ‘Tyrant’, the latter not having been played live that often over the last years. Another song that became a classic over time is ‘Turbo Lover’. The track from the, at the time, controversial discussed ‘Turbo’ album became a constant part of Judas Priest’s setlist and also this night the chorus was a powerful sing-a-long feast for fans, being a big choir. Another song the band hasn’t played for ages came from the ‘Stained Class’ album, which turned 40 this year. It was a good occasion for the Judas Priest to perform the opener of the B-side, ‘Saints in Hell’, which at least I could witness to be played live so far. It was a cool moment.
And there is more to report from, something that turned a great night to a perfect night in metal. Glenn Tipton actually was part of the show. Already during ‘Painkiller’ the guitarist could be seen on the video projection. After a short break, the encore part began and there he was in person: Mr. Glenn Tipton. It was an extremely warm applause that welcomed the guitarist on stage. Having him on stage for five songs in the encore was a moment to remember for all of the 3,000 fans at the sold-out venue in Tilburg.
It’s not very often that you get the pure British steel power, but this night was about Judas Priest only. No special guests and no opening act prolonged the wait for the legendary quintet from the UK. From the intro till the final riff of ‘Living After Midnight’ it was a full-focus night on legendary NWoBHM spirit, played by a band that got older and for sure no decibel more silent. Great night, great band, great songs. The essence of heavy metal can’t be done much better than what fans got offered by the metal Gods that night.
- The Ripper
- Lightning Strike
- Saints in Hell
- Turbo Lover
- Night Comes Down
- Freewheel Burning
- Rising From Ruins
- You’ve got another Thing Comin’
- Hell Bent for Leather
- Metal Gods (Encore)
- Breaking the Law (Encore)
- Victim of Change (Encore)
- No Surrender (Encore)
- Living after Midnight (Encore)
Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands