Judas Priest Delivered The Goods To Chicago [REVIEW]
Photos © 2021 by: Roman Sobus / Review by: Dennis M. Kelly
While Jesus Christ has yet to return, Metal God, Rob Halford and the rest of Judas Priest [did] return to Rosemont last night bringing with them the embodiment of 50 years of Heavy Metal that only they can deliver.
After having been handed a good dose of Metal from Sweden’s Sabaton (review coming soon), the lights darkened and the audio of Battle Hymn played to a packed Rosemont Theatre filled with “Metal Maniacs” who, more than likely haven’t seen a Metal show in almost two years; the atmosphere was electric.
The guitars from “One Shot At Glory” off of the Painkiller album were joined by a large version of the Judas Priest emblem lowered down, glowing bright red and beaming lights that briefly bathed the audience in the center with pure white light right before the song exploded into the metal ferocity that we’ve all come to love.
The emblem lifted back up revealing Rob Halford with band members, Andy Sneap (guitar), Richie Faulkner (guitar), Ian Hill (bass) on his sides and Scott Travis on the drums behind him. The opening line “Let me hear the battle cry Calling on the wind” set the tone and the metallic frenzy ensued.
The stage set was designed to look like a metal forging facility complete with aged equipment and caution signs like “Personal protective equipment must be worn”, symbolizing Judas Priest’s Metal Works all being performed throughout the evening.
Halford, now 70 years old was in full command last night, owning the power of his vocals, owning the stage and owning the whole damn venue. He charismatically made his way from one end of the stage to the other, making direct eye contact always, fist bumping everyone he could and when the song called for another one of his intense screams… getting right alongside some of the audience to let them experience it close up!, I must admit, that would have been cool to be right there for that.
The show consisted of a great variety of Priest favorites and even a few unexpected tunes like “Invader” off of the 1978 album Stained Class. Two standout performance tracks for me were “The Sentinel” and “Victim of Changes” that also seemed to get a lot more audience reaction as well. For one, the songs were exceedingly well-written to start off with, but last nights performance of those songs were more impactful and Halford’s screams on “Victim of Changes” were not-only spot on, but far above what I would have thought…. they literally blew me away!
The stage lighting was truly breathtaking and impressive, capturing the tones of each song, especially “Blood Red Skies“, but unfortunately, the sound was a bit muddy to me anyway and in the case of “Rocka Rolla“, I had an especially hard time hearing it clearly.
Andy Sneap and Richie Faulkner played very well, perhaps even equivalent to their predecessors, but they did not seem to interact much with each other, nor did they have the same kind of chemistry that K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton did when they were together. That being the case, it felt like more emphasis (spotlight) ended up being shown on Rob Halford who gave everything he had for Chicago in his performance.
Ian Hill and Scott Travis were solid as can be expected, but also felt subdued and it was a bit unfortunate, because there was a lot of talent on the stage last night and it would have been great to see each of them have more opportunities to shine. Scott had a brief talk with the audience, joking about shopping for stage clothes at the nearby mall and then here would have been a great moment for a full-on drum solo, but he just led right into the final song of the main set, “Painkiller“.
Encores included “The Hellion/Electric Eye“, “Hell Bent For Leather“, “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight“, sort of a one-two punch of timeless hits one right after the other, giving everyone some great songs to sing to themselves on the way home for the evening.
All-in-all, it was a great performance and a great way to relive 50 years of THE BEST Heavy Metal around and sung by the best Metal vocalist out there.
Battle Hymn (audio)
One Shot At Glory
You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
A Touch Of Evil
Victim Of Changes
Blood Red Skies
The Hellion/Electric Eye
Hell Bent For Leather
Breaking The Law
Living After Midnight
Check out some great live photos here!