The end of the road for Judas Priest?

I gotta say, I’ve always been more of a Maiden man.  Put it this way: I heard “2 Minutes to Midnight” before “Living After Midnight.”  Well, maybe not, but the former made more of an impression on me.  However, when Judas Priest announced their Epitaph farewell tour in the summertime, I didn’t think twice about getting a ticket–even though Kyuss Lives! went on sale the same day.  Finally, after several months of waiting, the time has come for their final Toronto gig: Tuesday, November 22nd.  I’ll be there with bells on.

I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed that they pulled a KISS and put assigned seating on the floors, specially since I’m stuck in the 23rd row of said seats.  Every other concert I’ve been to at the ACC has been general admission, KISS excluded.  I guess they figure they’ve got a lotta aging fans who wan’t wanna bounce in the mosh pit.  And they probably do.  Like KISS, their first album came out back in ’74.  But unlike the Knights in Satan’s Service (haha!), when they say this’ll be their last ever tour, I think they actually mean it.  After all, Rob Halford can’t hit all the high notes any more, and it’s not like they can put a couple young guys in Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing wigs–well, they kinda are with Richie Faulkner, but I digress.  It’s better that they break up before reality TV comes calling, put it that way.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been listening to the full Priest discography in chronological order.  In fact, today I just heard Demolition for the first time in ages.  Worst.  Album.  Ever!  That said, I’m pretty sure we won’t hear Halford drop some rhymes over “Metal Messiah,” but Ripper Owens era aside, they’ve got a pretty solid back catalogue to draw from.  I know I could find the tour setlist if I looked for it online, or even just checked my Facebook feed, but I’m kinda hoping they surprise me.  As long as there’s less of Turbo than they played on Priest… Live! I’m sure I’ll be happy.

Of course, there are some downsides to playing the ACC, a place not known for great live sound, where KISS actually blew the speakers last time I saw ’em.  (Come to think of it, that was probably the last concert I’ve been to at the good ol’ hockey rink.)  Beers are stupidly overpriced, as is the food, which I’ll be forced to eat due to the venue curfew necessitating a 6 pm start time.  I’m assuming that’s when the doors open, not when the show starts, but 6 o’clock is what’s printed on the ticket, in any case…

There is always the option of showing up late, but it’s nice to see some solid openers, none of this Bullet for my Valentine or Steve Harris’ 19-year-old daughter shit.  Mind you, Richie Faulkner actually cut his teeth touring with Maiden as Lauren Harris’ lead guitar player.  Funny how what comes around, goes around…  Anyways, I do plan on getting there in time for Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy*.

Of course, I can’t type the latter without an asterisk at the end, as it’s not really Thin Liz without Phil, and this glorified cover band only has only kept one-half of the Robertson/Gorham guitar attack intact.  I kinda liken it to the time I saw CJ Ramone and Danny Rey play a buncha Ramones tunes at the Bovine a little while back.  It’s gotta be the closest I can get to seeing the real thing in action, so hey, I’ll take it.  As for BLS, I’m hoping that the shortened timeslot will force Zakk Wylde to reign in his overblown guitar antics, and that his newfound sobriety allows him to realize that no one pays to see him solo for 15 minutes.  And hey, if they play something from The Blessed Hellride, that’s an added bonus.

But really, it’s all about Priest.  Personally, I’d be quite happy if they pulled another KISS by recreating their classic live album, Unleashed in the East–just as long as they throw in “Freewheel Burning,” “The Sentinel” and “The Hellion/Electric Eye” for good measure.  I could really do without the 80’s pop stuff, but I know My Eyes are Gonna Roll when I’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.

Just please, please keep your hands off of “Private Property” and “Parental Guidance,” okay?

(You can also check out my Priest Revisited writeups here.)

Peace,

Greg

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Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.