Concert Review: Judas Priest’s Epitaph Tour

I arrived at Family Arena Thursday, Nov. 11, ready for Judas Priest’s final tour to be outstanding. With a line-up of Thin Lizzy & Black Label Society as openers for the heavy metal legends, I thought nothing could go wrong, but I was mistaken.

Thin Lizzy was the first band to go on and they started 6 and went till 6:45. I was wondering when I first saw the line-up how Thin Lizzy was even a band anymore, since their vocalist was dead. The band itself had only one original member, but still put on a decent show. They played some of their hits such as “Cowboy Song” and “Jailbreak”, as well as a few tracks that were unfamiliar to me. They ended with their biggest hit, the “Boys Are Back In Town.” I was a little frustrated with the sound equalization, I couldn’t hear the vocals.

At 8 P.M. Black Label Society came on and played for an hour. They played a very loud and fun set list, but I could barely hear the vocals or Zakk Wylde’s lead guitar, except during his 12-minute guitar solo. At this point I was very disappointed because the band I was mainly there to see had such bad sound equalization that it just sounded like instrumental metal.

At 8:42 Judas Priest started their set. I was worried that the sound would be once again very unbalanced, but the sound guy seemed to set Judas Priest’s equalization perfectly. The band played a very lively set including their songs, “Evil Eye,” “Breaking The Law,” “Beyond The Realms of Death,” and “Painkiller” as well as many other songs, spanning their whole career.

Judas Priest’s part of the show had been outstanding so far, and got even better when I got a chance to venture up to the front because  a nice lady let me borrow her ticket. The energy the band had was outstanding, but It was even better up front.

After I ventured back to my seat, the show’s stage became almost as theatrical as a play. The stage was shrouded in chains, smoke, fire and more laser lights than a Pink Floyd show. When the band walked off stage for the first time, the crowd brought them out to play a song, that was unfamiliar to me. After that the crowd cheered for a second encore, and that’s what they got. Judas Priest’s lead vocalist Rob Halford rides out onto the stage on a motorcycle and the rest of the band joins in with him in singing their biggest hit, “Living After Midnight.” It ended at 11:10.

Overall: The opening acts sounded very off because of either the sound guy’s ignorance or dislike of the the groups, but Judas Priest sounded outstanding and put on a great show.