Judas Priest show at the Toronto Air Canada Center - Thurs Nov 12th 2015

The evening opened with the band Mastodon who is simply not my cup of tea.  Too heavy and I didn't like the vocals.  I do know that there are many who do love this band so I'll let them do their own review of their set.

Judas Priest were really really good.  I say really really good as opposed to amazing because I save the "amazing" description for Iron Maiden and Marillion shows which in my opinion are usually…. amazing.  On to Priest…

They opened with the first song off of the recent album Redeemer of Souls called "Dragonaut".  While it's not the best song off of the album, it did sound great live.  My personal favorites of the evening were "Desert Plains" and "Screaming for Vengeance" as this was my first time hearing either of them live.  Other standouts for me were "Victim of Changes", "Beyond the Realms of Death", "Hell Bent for Leather", "Painkiller" and the two songs off of Redeemer titled "Valhalla" and "Redeemer of Souls".

Playing wise, the whole band was on fire and it seemed that new guitarist Richie Faulkner was really enjoying himself.  Guitarist Glen Tipton played well but seemed to be physically low key.  Unfortunately, it seemed that three quarters of the way through the show, Tiptons guitar got buried in the mix making most of his solos barely audible.  However I was lucky enough to hear his solo in Beyond the Realms of Death as it is one of my favorites of his.

The most notable thing to me was Halfords vocals.  I've seen the band on the last 4 tours and his voice was much improved at this show.  The man is in his 60's and I can't fault him for not being able to sing all the high notes like he did in his younger years.  But during the last few tours it seemed like he would growl his way, or sing recitative through most the set.  At the Thursday show I heard more of a reworking of the melody lines, dropping them down a 3rd or 5th but keeping the same phrasing.  For example in the studio version of "Metal Gods…", the first line "We've taken too much for granted", is sung on a high B and descends to an A, G, A, G, E, G, E.  Live Rob sang it as B, E, E, E, E, E, D, E.  While some might be bothered, I enjoyed it as it meant Rob actually sang the words rather then growl or recitative them.  This also enabled him to save his voice for the obligatory high notes, especially at the end of "Victim of Changes".

I do find it surprising that Priest only played to the floors and 100 section of the ACC while Iron Maiden has played to the whole venue.  Priest has been around since the 70's and I would've thought that any fan of metal would have attended the show.  I mean it's Judas Priest, the almost Grandfathers of Metal. (Sabbath are the official Grandfathers of Metal).  Perhaps the issue is that Iron Maiden have always put on a physical show with the band running all over the stage while Judas Priest have been more of a stay in one spot type of band.  This probably explains why Iron Maiden is one of the loosest bands when it comes to live, and why Judas Priest is tighter.


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