Concert Blog: Judas Priest, Saxon & Black Star Riders Deliver The Goods on the Firepower Tour at The Showare Center!

Rob Halford and Judas Priest Still Defenders of the Faith!

April 17, 2018

Judas Priest, Saxon & Black Star Riders -  Accesso ShoWare Center - Kent, WA 4.15.18
Review/Photos: "Iron" Mike Savoia -  
Photo Gallery {} HERE - {Full Gallery each band} Judas Priest Saxon BSR

Where do I even begin with a concert night of three awesome bands that all kicked everyones ass in their own right? On this night at the Accesso ShoWare Center for Judas Priest "Firepower" album tour we had two openers. The first being the Black Star Riders described as {WIKI} "the next step in the evolution of the Thin Lizzy story". Headed by Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham and singer Ricky Warwick (who also headed The Almighty) they are supporting their third album "Heavy Fire" which reached #6 on the UK charts. Blasting through a 8 song setlist, a somewhat newer band of veterans, the crowd really got into their show and of course when they did the Thin Lizzy classic "Jailbreak" people lost their minds. 

 Instead of recording new music under the Thin Lizzy name, Scott Gorham smartly decided to create this band to fullfill his new music writings while still playing and continuing the Thin Lizzy legacy in the live set. Black Star Riders blend a hard rock sound thats remenancant to Thin Lizzy yet modern and edgy with the great Ricky Warwick on vocals/guitar heading the band and newly added drummer Chad Szeliga (ex-Black Label Soceity/Breaking Benjamin) they are powerful live. Setlist: All Hell Breaks Loose / Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover) / Heavy Fire / Soldierstown / The Killer Instinct / When the Night Comes In / Kingdom of the Lost / Bound for Glory - Check them out at:

Next up was the mighty Saxon! In the late 70s with the bands that made up the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Raven, Def Leppard etc.) Saxon invaded America in the early 80s and never loooked back. With the major success of the "Power & The Glory" (1983) and especially the "Crusader"(1984) releases, Saxon was selling millions of records and playing to sold-out venues across American and the world. I remember the first time I was exposed to Saxon. It was around 1982 right here on the mighty KISW 99.9FM when I randomly came across hearing "Dallas 1PM" on the station. Probably the most impactful song I ever heard on the radio in my life and I needed to know who this band was. I never heard anything like this before, the riffs/solos, the Kennedy assasionation story line, the vocals etc. it was just epic! {Listen to Dallas 1pm

 Then two years later I saw one of the greatest shows EVER in the Seattle Paramount Theatre with a sold out Saxon/Accept/Heavy Pettin concert. The "Crusader" tour featured a castle wall/ramps stage show with a huge lighted moving eagle that came out of the lighting rig above the drumset that flew down at times, it was mind-blowing! For back in the early 80s this was amazing - watch video HERE! So I have a huge history as a long-time fan following and seeing Saxon and why I was extra excited for tonight to see the band all these decades later in an arena. Boy they did not disapoint! 
 It was all about the music, from the classics to the new tunes. No fancy stage show just plug in and give the fans what they want. Straight forward metallic hard rock metal for the ages. Look at this near perfect 50min setlist: Thunderbolt / Power and the Glory / The Secret of Flight / Motorcycle Man / Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz) / Dallas 1 PM / They Played Rock and Roll / Denim and Leather / Princess of the Night / Wheels of Steel / Sons of Odin / Heavy Metal Thunder. Singer Biff Byford has not lost one step in the vocal department. He doesn't sound any differant than he did from the beginning. A rarity for a vocalist who at 67 years old and still going strong sounding like he's still 30 years old. Same goes for drummer Nigel Glockler, one of the most underated drummers in the genre ever. His double bass high to low drum beat rolls still kick you right in the balls. If the crowd was an indication of anything this night, Saxon won the night with more fans/people in the crowd air guitaring to songs than BSR or Priest. Saxon's show was electric from start to finish and even if you've never heard of Saxon you gotta get out and see their set on this tour. The new Saxon album "Thunderbolt" is their best selling album since the 2+ million seller of "Crusader" in 1984! The title track and that riff rock big time {Watch Video}! Stay up-to-date with Saxon at
 Next up were the headliners and mighty defenders of the metal faith Judas Priest! In support of their recently released (and best album since "Painkiller" in my book) classic "Firepower" album, Judas Priest still prove they are the Metal Gods charting No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the highest ever of their near 50 year career. Oh, and they are not in the RNR Hall of Fame yet with 50+ million albums sold? Fans are pissed, but you know what? Out metal community is bigger than any stupid RNRHOF club so really it doesn't matter. Opening with the new album title track "Firepower", Judas Priest sprinkled a few more new album titles in between the many classics like "Running Wild", "The Ripper", "Saints in Hell", "Electric Eye" and for the first time on this tour and since 2009 in the setlist my fav "Freewheel Burning". 
 The Metal God Rob Halford was amazing. I mean lets face it, the dude is 67 freakin years old and the way he sings you'd think he would've lost those screams years ago. He's the first to admitt he wish he could do some of those vocal ranges he could do years ago but compared to ANYONE his age no one can touch him still! Go try listioning to Paul Stanley of Kiss try to sing now, ouch, and he use to have one of the best voices in rock in my book. Age is a cruel thing to musicians and especially singers. Rob still has it thankfully because this world needs Judas Priest. Speaking of age, the recent announcement of Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton not participating the whole tour because of his Parkinson's disease shook the fan base. Glenn has only participated for a few songs in a few shows. Tonight we were one of the lucky ones as he shocked the crowd coming out on the last three songs "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight". Click here to see fan videos of this great hightlight ending the show. So on the tour in his place is the great Grammy winning producer (over 100 metal albums to his credit) and producer of "Firepower" Andy Sneap. 
 I know he's an accomplished guitarist so I had no worries he'd fill the spot amazingly. Yeah as an old time fan It's weird seeing him and fellow guitarist Richie Faulkner both onstage instead of Downing and Tipton now, but it is what it is and they carry on the Priest flag greatly. Richie Faulkner is a beast on the guitar. Such a big fan of his work, energy and style onstage. There was no one that more perfectly could take K.K. Downings spot like Faulkner did. To me Richie is the show and the energy driving Judas Priest today. 
 With bassist Ian Hill still in his stage spot (I don't think he's move from his spot onstage since 1970 ha ha) from the begining of Judas Priest history and Scott Travis still slamming the drums nearing his third decade in the band. Judas Priest might look a little differant today to an older fan but to the newer generation of fans they still are everything. With Rob Halford still in the middle of it all Judas Priest will still defend the faith of metal for us all even though father time is slowly catching up to them and all of us. I don't care if you're a fan of new or old this show was BAD ASS and look at this setlist we had...something for all fans! Firepower / Running Wild / Grinder / Sinner / The Ripper / Lightning Strike / Bloodstone / Saints in Hell / Turbo Lover / Freewheel Burning (First time since 2009) / Evil Never Dies / Some Heads Are Gonna Roll / You've Got Another Thing Comin' / Hell Bent for Leather / The Hellion / Electric Eye / Painkiller / Encore: Metal Gods (with Glenn Tipton) / Breaking the Law (with Glenn Tipton) / Living After Midnight (with Glenn Tipton).
 One more thing, let it be known on this tour Rob Halford has more wardrobe changes than Cher and Elton John combined ha ha!! At least his outfits kick metal fkn ass!! Long live the Priest! For my full Judas Priest photo gallery Click Here.
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