Judas Priest Bring The Firepower To Loveland, Colorado

 

Having just released one their most anticipated and well received albums in decades, heavy metal gods Judas Priest have returned to the road and brought their Firepower tour to the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado April 11. 

The show kicked off with Black Star Riders warming up the crowd. Black Star Riders is a band formed out of former Thin Lizzy members recording new music but not deciding to put it out under the Lizzy name. Their 40 minute set was well received from the audience as they played a number of original songs plus tossing in the mega song “Jailbreak”. 

The legendary British band Saxon would take the stage next and did not disappoint. Since forming the 70’s they still are releasing new music and are touring in support of their latest album Thunderbolt. Lead vocalist Biff Byford is a likable British lad that is front center and still provides a impressive voice while the rest of the band lays down incredible guitar riffs and thundering rhythms.

After anticipation and “War Pigs” blasting over the P.A., the curtain dropped and Judas Priest provided a onslaught of great heavy metal music. They opened their set with new album opener “Firepower” followed by “Running Wild” then right into “Grinder”. The stage production was simple but effective providing projection images and video often highlighting a particular song or era of the band. With so many great songs to pull from in their catalog some might be disappointed but they did a nice job of playing the fan favorites and including a few new ones as well. The crowd was enjoying all of it and participated the most singing a long to classics like “Turbo Lover”, “Breaking The Law”, and “Living After Midnight”. 

The band sounded fantastic and vocalist Rob Halford sounds incredible some 40 years into his career.  He still has the power and can effortlessly hit those signature ear-piercing screams.  Unfortunately guitarist Glenn Tipton has been forced to sit out the tour because he is courageously battling Parkinson’s disease. Firepower producer Andy Snead was asked by Glenn to take his place in the band for the tour. It is a difficult task but Andy does a solid job and fits in nicely with the other band members. Bassist Ian Hill may hide in the back but he still provides his steady melodic bass playing while guitarist Richie Faulkner is more flashy and injects the most energy and interaction onstage.

Judas Priest has caught a spark with the release of Firepower and there is no intention to retire or slow down. They may not have all of the original band members but what they have assembled is exciting and worth every heavy metal fans time to go out and expereince.

Review and photos by Jason Bullinger