Sleep Train Pavilion Concord CA 10/27/2011
The crowd starts to chant as the lights go down and the intro starts. There is a curtain covering the stage with red lights glowing behind it. The crowd starts to get louder, the stage cover falls, the Priest rips into Rapid Fire, and the Epitaph tour is underway !
This Epitaph tour marks the end of the world tour circuit for Judas Priest and the addition of a new guitarist. I was reading an article a few weeks before the show and it was reporting that the Priest will still do some shows just not in the world tour circuit. I truly hope this is right. I personally am not ready for the Priest to call it quits. I have seen the band live in all its forms since I first saw them in 1980 with D.B Cooper opening for them at the Warfield. Not once have they let me down. I'm also not ready to admit were getting older and arena shows by bands from the 70's to 80's are starting to be far and few between. The club circuit is still strong with these folks and thank God for that !
As I mentioned above this tour marks the arrival of new guitarist Richie Faulkner and the departure of K.K. Downing after 40 years with the band. Richie played with a few European bands but the most notable was with Lauren Harris. Lauren's claim to fame is her father Steve Harris bassist for Iron Maiden. Richie performing with Priest is a breath of fresh air. Don't get me wrong, I love K.K. but it was refreshing to have someone as young as Richie up there. He had great interaction with the crowd and his playing was phenomenal. During the encore's he did a guitar solo that was incredible. Good pick for a replacement. I hope I get to see him live with Priest again.
The Priest covered pretty much one song from every album they have released. I was caught off guard when they played "Red Blood Skies" off of "Ram it Down". The stage setup was very cool looking and the laser and fire show were off the hook ! Everyone in the band performed great. One thing I did notice was Rob Halford was giving it his all and after the first three songs he was breathing pretty hard. Of all the times I have seen him with Priest or his side bands "Fight" and "Halford" I had never noticed him like this. Now again don't get me wrong he put on a hell of a show for his age and this did not take away from the show. As far as I'm concerned he is the "Metal God" forever !
In short if you get a chance to see these guys on this farewell tour do not and I repeat do not miss seeing one of the finest and most influential heavy metal bands of all times !!!!!!!!
The Priest will be missed and leave a void that will not be filled any time soon !
Photos at bottom of review. All photos shot from crowd