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City National Civic
San Jose, California, USA

Tony Conley

tony conley

judas priest

Judas Priest are currently on fire. Just a few years ago, they were said to be on their last legs but then they went and hired guitarist Richie Faulkner to replace the departed KK Downing and their Epitaph tour turned from an initial eight shows into 119, a brilliant new album ('Redeemer Of Souls'), and what appears to be becoming another huge tour.

Never count out Judas Priest - they are still delivering the goods in a most satisfactory fashion.

Rob Halford has been fronting Judas Priest for a great many decades - how Halford goes, so goes the Priest, and he's in great shape these days. Sprinkling new cuts from the new album throughout the set, he delivers them with much aplomb, and they fit perfectly alongside the classics in the band's set list.

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Halford is one of those guys who has chosen to take care of his instrument - he might not hit every high note that he could once claim as his own, but he knows exactly what he can hit and he knows well what notes to sing in their stead. He's as masterful a frontman as has ever trod the stage, and he may just be the greatest lead singer in the history of Heavy Metal.

With Judas Priest you know exactly what you're getting these days, and their loving fans adore them for it. Last night in San Jose, California they worked the nearly filled to capacity City National Civic into a frenzy that started the minute they hit the stage and didn't stop until their three encores left us all with ringing ears and hoarse vocal cords. Four songs from the new album fit in perfectly and the band was firing on all cylinders.

Guitarist Richie Faulkner has reinvigorated this band in a way that you rarely see. I happened to be at the show with a friend who had threatened to boycott the band for continuing without KK Downing but by the end of the night she was yet another convert.

He fired off blazing solo after blazing solo, twisted the classic harmonies alongside the ever dependable Glenn Tipton (who is playing as well as ever), and played the role of cheerleader stage left like he was born to be there. Every member of Judas Priest worked from beginning to end and it's abundantly clear why they are among Metal's greatest.

One of the toughest things for a band of such stature and duration as the Priest has to be picking out a set list. I was thrilled to hear them real out 'Turbo Lover' from their 1986 album, 'Turbo', but someone beside me decried them for including that one for something more obvious (they were missing 'Green Manalishi'), which is understandable enough, but with seventeen albums and forty years under your belt it's a tough task and you can never please everyone, but I think the band does good work in balancing the classic cuts with some material that may make it more fun and challenging for the band.

It's fantastically life affirming when a band that's been blasting out Metal to the 96 decibel freaks for so many years still manages to put on a blinder of a show and never let their guard down for a single second. The audience gave as good as it got, and the set was over way too soon. There are some things in life you can depend on, like another great show from Judas Priest. It would appear that they are in great shape, and in light of the fact that Halford has said he's anxious to yet again go back into the studio and make new Judas Priest music, the only thing that may delay this will be the demand for new dates as this tour stretches out into 2015.

Judas Priest put on a great display of what's made them one of the biggest draws in the world of rock for so many years and I can't wrap this up without mentioning Scott Travis and Ian Hill, the relentless engine that is the Judas Priest rhythm section. Their mighty thunder provided the perfect foundation for the thrilling performances of Faulkner, Tipton, and the ever incredible Rob Halford. This was as good a Judas Priest show as I've ever seen, and I've seen a bunch.

Set List:
1. Dragonaut
2. Metal Gods
3. Devil's Child
4. Victim Of Changes
5. Halls Of Valhalla
6. Love Bites
7. March Of The Damned
8. Turbo Lover
9. Redeemer Of Souls
10. Beyond The Realms Of Death
11. Jawbreaker
12. Breaking The Law
13. Hell Bent For Leather

1. You've Got Another Thing Coming
2. Living After Midnight
3. Defenders Of The Faith

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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