JUDAS PRIEST & SABATON Bring Metal To Minnesota [Review & Photo Gallery]

The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota welcomed the heavy metal iconic band Judas Priest. Fans packed the venue to see a band with more than five decades of history that laid the foundation for a genre that refuses to die. The metal brigade from Sweden, Sabaton, once again opened up the show for the metal legends. 

Sabaton has been touring with Priest across the United States on the past few tours. The band is working hard to break through on American soil and based on the number of Sabaton shirts and people singing along to every song, that hard work has paid off. Lead vocalist Joakim Broden took control of the stage the moment he held the mic as he led a barrage of metal music that fans soaked up. Guitarists Thobbe Englund, who just returned to the band after leaving the in 2016, and Chris Rorland worked off each either in perfect unison while the rhythm section of bassist Par Sundstrom and drummer Hannes Van Dahl, who was once again perched on top of a tank, provided the thunder that is required for their music. Opening with “Ghost Division” the band ripped through an impressive twelve-song set that also included “The Last Stand,” “Stormtroopers,” “Resist and Bite” and “The Red Baron.” The lyrical themes are all based on historical battles and stories of heroism. The band dressed is in fatigues with microphone stands that have rifles and infantry helmets on them. I’ve seen these guys numerous times and they deliver a great show every time.  

The one and only Judas Priest took to the stage with the song ‘Panic Attack.’ It comes off the bands 19th album ‘Invincible Shield’ which was released a few months ago.  Rob Halford is the definition of a heavy metal singer and it is always an honor to see him on stage performing. It’s hard to believe he is 72 years old based on how strong his vocals were. He crushed though an eighteen-song set that stuck to the metal trademarks that they have encompassed for decades. His voice was great and he continued to hit the notes that have made him one of best singers in metal. The most obvious thing about a Judas Priest concert is the devotion the fans have towards them and the bond the band has created with the metal community. The second song of the set, the all-time great metal anthem, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” showcased that intensity of that connection as band and fans became one. That vibe, with every person at that venue singing every single word and the music pouring off the stage, was a moment in time where the genre of heavy metal is defined. The same could be said during “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight.”

I became a massive fan of the band with the release of ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ back in 1982 and then the follow-up ‘Defenders of the Faith’ in 1984. Along with Halfords vocals, it was the guitar duo of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing that harnessed that metal power that got my attention. Sadly, neither one was on stage but just because the faces have changed, it doesn’t mean the music has. Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap handled the guitar duties and both kept the sound true to form. Ian Hill on bass is the sole continuous member of the band and has appeared on every studio album. He is unassuming as he stands behind the guitarists but always lays down that low end so those dueling guitars can shine. Drummer Scott Travis has been a member of the band since 1989. He debuted on the album ‘Painkiller’ in 1990 and continues to be the powerhouse that keeps the band tight. Highlights for me included “Love Bites” and “Devil’s Child” while “Electric Eye” remains my all-time favorite Judas Priest song. I couldn’t ask for much more from another great show from Judas Priest. They played the classics, hit on some deeper cuts and then some of the newer material that shines right along side the vintage songs. Another great night of music and hopefully they come back in the very near future.

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