With a great new album out, do Judas Priest have what it takes to once again reign supreme as metal gods?
As ageing rockers The Scorpions take to the SECC stage and receive a massive reception, it's clear that this is not some half-assed support band tagged onto the bill to make up the numbers. Nor are they rookies who are likely to freeze under the strain of supporting such a popular band as Priest or even have their sound swallowed up by the infamous SECC halls. No these guys have been there, done that, and sold the t-shirt and they are immensely at ease in their surroundings. Their billing as [b]Very Special Guests[/b] is justified with an impressive set that has the Glasgow punters chanting along at every given opportunity, set closer [b]Rock You Like A Hurricane[/b] bringing proceedings to a satisfactory close. One surprising thing was the rather lukewarm reception classic [b]Wind Of Change[/b] receives - a few cheers mixed with a few boos and only a handful of lighters on display - can't be fashionable to like ballads at the moment.
Despite their popularity, 99% of this crowd (not a full house I might add) are not here to see The Scorpions... no... "It's Saturday night in Glasgow and the Priest are back!" hollers the legend that is Rob Halford - and yes, he's summed it up in a nutshell. The reason we're here is because Judas Priest are back, not just back in town to promote a new album, they're back with Halford on vocals after an absence of far too long. From the opening bars of [b]The Hellion[/b] to Halfords dramatic entrance from behind the Electric Eye backdrop, through classics such as [b]Breaking The Law[/b] and the cheese-fest that is [b]Turbo Lover[/b], to the ear shattering finale of [b]Victim Of Changes[/b] the 2 hour set list is excellent, as well you might expect from a band with '30 years worth of metal' behind them. The best is well and truly saved for last, there are fewer more iconic sights in metal than Rob Halford riding his Harley Davidson on stage for the encores which comprise [b]Hell Bent For Leather[/b], [b]Living After Midnight[/b] and [b]You've Got Another Thing Coming[/b], Superb!
All in all a great night with an excellent set list that mainly delves into the archives which is fitting for their UK reunion with Halford, but also picks wisely from the new material, [b]Revolution[/b] sounding particularly monstrous. My only criticisms would be that as good as [b]Electric Eye[/b] and [b]Metal Gods[/b] are, I would have opted for something a bit more bludgeoning to get the show under way - we've waited 15 years for this moment after all, think how the crowd would have been blown away by say [b]Painkiller[/b]. Another surprise is the bands lack of mobility on stage, Halford being especially careful in negotiating the stage stairs, makes you wonder if he was carrying an injury - that said though the man has a stunning collection of long leather jackets which he goes through right to the end, maybe he was wary of heat exhaustion under there!