Judas Priest – Barrowland, Glasgow 24/11/15

It felt very odd writing the title for this review. For a long time now, when Judas Priest and Glasgow were uttered in the same sentence, you could assume SECC would follow. Well it would be Hydro now but the point stands, it’s now Judas Priest in the Barrowlands, and what an excellent thing that is.

I mean, it’s a shame a band the size of Priest have been bumped down to the Barrowlands, on the other hand, it’s like getting a special intimate show. Sadly this means the pyro had to be left at home, and Halford isn’t popping up on top of raised stage platforms. On the other hand, they managed to fit an impressive light display in and managed to prop the drum riser up high enough that you had to be concerned that Scott was going to crack his head.

Due to the venue size, it’s hard to find a place that doesn’t give you a good view no matter how far back you are. I found a comfortable slot near the front on the left hand side of the stage and settled in.

If you have any doubts over modern Priest, buy this

Opening with Dragonaut from the latest album, you could easily be forgiven for mistaking Richie Faulkner as a young K.K. Downing. However, we haven’t time travelled and Faulkner is just doing an impeccable job at filling some of the bigger boots in metal guitar. Sadly, his attempts to rile up the crowd fall a little flat as they seem to be more up for standing and watching rather than full on engaging.

In a surprise twist, this apathy bleeds into the second song which is the classic Metal Gods. Still, those who fancy an old fashioned headbang go for it with gusto, though you can’t help feel a little self conscious singing along at certain points.

When a band has been around as long as Priest, it must be hard to pick a setlist. While it would be ideal tofeature the new album heavily, they have to balance out the “have-to-plays” in the set. This means that Redeemer of Souls only gets three songs out of a sixteen strong set which is a shame, however, it would also be a shame not to have seen Painkiller and such, it’s a conundrum.

It is a solid setlist though, and while perhaps not as career spanning as the previous Glasgow show in 2011, it covers all the important bases with the title track of Screaming For Vengeance being a personal highlight.

Judas Priest Setlist Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland 2015, Redeemer of Souls

Halford is in tremendous form tonight. A vast difference from the Halford I first saw years ago, I don’t know if it’s the reduced touring schedule they’re following recently but his voice seems more powerful than it has in a long time. Constantly engaging the crowd, you get a feeling he is far more suited to these halls rather than the cavernous arenas.

As always, you can see Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill doing the classic Priest hip boogie and you just know that somewhere in the room, there are people air-guitaring away while joining in with the dance.

With Living After Midnight bringing the show to an end, you’re left more than thankful that the retirement announcement of a few years ago was merely a press exaggeration for cutting back on world tours. A Priest-less world will be a bad world.

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