Judas Priest – Saxon – Black Star Riders: Live At Worcester Palladium

On Friday, March 23rd, Judas Priest rolled into the newly renovated Worcester Palladium for a sold-out date on their Firepower Tour with legends Saxon and Black Star Riders. What a breath of fresh air this show was. I honestly can’t remember the last concert I attended that did not have at least one band on the bill with some sort of controversy surrounding them or was not inclined to espouse their political beliefs on stage (whether for the better or worse). This tour is just a class act from start to finish. No bullshit, no drama, no politics, just good old Rock n’ Roll, and Metal.

Every single set was completely solid with great presence and more energy and fire than a bunch of tweens amped up on pumpkin spice latte’s, which is something to be said when you realize that in each band many members age somewhere just south of 70. Hell, I stopped being able to bang my head like the guys in Saxon still do in my early 30’s without fear of serious neck injury and a nasty case of temporary vertigo. This was the kind of show I think the “scene” has been in desperate need of. It reminded me of how simple things used to be as a kid. Used to be you would put on an album, sat and listened to it with your friends, and talked about music and read all the liner notes while staring at the photos thinking how cool it would be to see this band play in your hometown. Then they would come on tour and everyone would go and just have a good time and enjoy the show. This tour really is that, well if you forget the fact that there are too many people watching the show on their phones and taking useless videos they will never watch, while missing out on what is right in front of them.

The attention to detail on the whole tour, from the light show, the sound, sets, costumes, even down to the passes for media, was top-notch. As you might expect from Judas Priest, not one thing seemed out of place nor executed with anything less than the highest standard. (Well, other than the grammatical error in one of the phrases printed on the curtain that went up just before Priest that a friend pointed out, which of course, I could then not get out of my mind.) Even the envelopes that contained press passes that were handed out had special printing on them with the Judas Priest logo. The photo passes were even shaped like razor blades.

Sadly, last month it was announced that Glenn Tipton would not play this tour with Judas Priest due to his current battle with Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 2008. Although he is not officially playing on the tour, he did come out to play the last three songs, as he had done on the previous two dates, and even “jumped” off stage with little help to shake the hands of the fans at the barrier and give them guitar picks. It was great to see him enjoy himself on stage and his strength was inspiring. Like I said, class act.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON