Judas Priest with Saxon
May 19, 2015 – Showtime: 7:30pm, Doors Open: 6:30pm
Tickets – $33 – $83
Suites – 12 Person: $979.61; 24 Person: $1,969.31 View Suite Information
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There are few heavy metal bands that have managed to scale the heights that Judas Priest have during their nearly 40 year career. Their presence and influence remains at an all time high as evidenced by 2008’s ‘Nostradamus’ being the highest charting album of their career, a 2010 Grammy Award win for ‘Best Metal Performance’, being a VH1 Rock Honors recipient, and playing to capacity crowds throughout 2011 and 2012 on their Epitaph Tour they recently released their 17th studio album ‘Redeemer of
Souls’ through Epic Records.
Judas Priest originally formed in the early ’70s in Birmingham, England (an area that many feel birthed heavy metal). Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill would be the nucleus of musicians (along with several different drummers over the years) that would go on to change the face of heavy metal. After a ‘feeling out’ period of a couple of albums, 1974’s ‘Rock Rolla’ and 1976’s ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ this lineup truly hit their stride the result was a quartet of albums that separated Priest from the rest of the hard rock pack 1977’s ‘Sin After Sin’, 1978’s ‘Stained Class’ and ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ and 1979’s ‘Unleashed In The East’ which spawned such metal anthems as ‘Sinner’, ‘Diamonds and Rust’, ‘Hell Bent for Leather’, and ‘The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)’. Also, Priest were one of the first metal bands to exclusively wear leather and studs – a look that began during this era and would eventually be embraced by metal heads throughout the world.
It could be said that Priest simply owned the ’80s as they were second to none as far as pure metal goes, releasing such all time classic albums as 1980’s ‘British Steel’, 1981’s ‘Point of Entry’, 1982’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’, and 1984’s ‘Defenders of the Faith’. Once more, these titles spawned countless enduring metal anthems including ‘Breaking the Law’, ‘Living After Midnight’, ‘Heading Out to the Highway’, and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’. The ’80s were also a decade where Priest became a global arena headliner offering showstopping sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals including the first ever ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival at Donington Park (1980) in the United Kingdom, the US Festival (1983) in the United States and Live Aid (1985) in the United States.
By 2011, Downing announced that he was exiting the band with a still burning desire to continue flying the flag of metal Judas Priest decided to continue on, by enlisting newcomer Richie Faulkner on guitar. The move seemed to have reinvigorated the band as evidenced by a show stealing performance on the ‘American Idol’ TV program that also served as Faulkner’s debut performance with the band (also in 2011, as was the release of a new compilation ‘The Chosen Few’ which included Priest classics selected by some of metal’s biggest names) and the ‘Epitaph’ concert DVD in 2013.
Special Guest Saxon
Saxon was one of the early leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, alongside Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, even outdistancing them at the onset. Saxon was formed from the fusion of two bands, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, in 1977 by vocalist Peter “Biff” Byford, guitarists Graham Oliver, and Paul Quinn, bassist Steve Dawson, and drummer Pete Gill — all of whom had been playing professionally or semi-professionally since as early as 1970. Initially calling themselves Son of a B****, they eventually settled on the subtler Saxon moniker, but, like many aspiring British heavy metal bands of the day, the quintet found it extremely difficult to obtain a record deal in post-punk England, finally signing with the French Carrere Records. Saxon’s resulting, eponymous debut of 1979 was marred by a lightweight production job, but the seasoned band still managed to build a strong following by touring Britain inexorably, supporting everyone from Motörhead to Nazareth. The band would then capitalize on this exposure with its watershed sophomore effort, 1980’s Wheels of Steel, which boasted a much more suitable, heavier, metallic production that finally did new songs (and future standards) like “Motorcycle Man,” “747 (Strangers in the Night),” and the title track proper justice. The album was immediately heralded as a N.W.O.B.H.M. classic by fans and critics alike, and the band were apparently on their way. Saxon went on to release two more virtually flawless albums in 1980’s Strong Arm of the Law and 1981’s Denim and Leather, touring relentlessly across Britain and Europe, where Ozzy Osbourne’s rising Blizzard of Ozz opened for them.