Judas Priest and Queensrÿche deliver Heavy Metal history lesson in New Jersey

With Queensrÿche celebrating 42 years in the business and Judas Priest returning to their much delayed 50 Heavy Metal Years tour, the Prudential Center, New Jersey, played host to the best tour on the road at this moment.

Judas Priest, Queensrÿche

Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022

Words and Photography: Jody Wilk

With the threat of Covid-19 seemingly diminishing, a return to live music is a godsend, and an expectant Newark crowd were treated to monster performances of Heavy Metal history.

Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson are the only remaining members of that original Queensrÿche 1980 lineup. Still, Mike Stone, Todd La Torre and Casey Grillo are supremely talented additions, and it would be foolish to understate their importance in helping to drive the band forward.

That Queensrÿche chose to fill their set with songs from their first four albums, plus their debut self-titled 1983 EP, was a stroke of genius. The band opened with the Chris DeGarmo penned Queen Of The Reich before firing into Warning, the first track from their debut album and the scene was set for a powerful trip down memory lane.

Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

La Torre delivers the lead vocals with great style, ably rising to the challenge of En Force and NM156. That Empire was the sole track played tonight, which was released after the ’80s, gives an indication of the historic beauty of tonight’s setlist.

The set closed with Screaming In Digital and Eyes Of A Stranger, leaving an enthusiastic crowd well and truly energised. It never gets old seeing Queensrÿche live. Having seen the band live over 15 times, I am always left pumped, waiting for the next show.

Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

A one hour set of brilliance may not seem too long, but this 50-year-old might not have made it to the end of Judas Priest’s almost two-hour set if Queensrÿche had offered more.

While standing in the pit waiting for the main act to hit the stage, a huge replica of the Judas Priest cross hung above the stage, illuminated in red lights with the recorded deep voice billowing from the rafters reciting their Battle Hymn.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

It has been a difficult period for Judas Priest. The 50 Year planned celebration was hit with Covid-19 delays, and guitarist Richie Faulkners ruptured aorta at the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky on 26 September 2021, which was a life-threatening worry for all.

So, as smoke began to emanate from the cross with white lights illuminating it and the band ripped into One Shot At Glory, there was a deep sense of joy that all were back on stage safe and sound.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Rob Halford had entered the stage facing the drum riser wearing a gold-studded leather jacket with the same Judas Priest cross on the back with long tassels and leather pants to match.

The impressive stage was set up to look like an old industrial factory with chemical barrels, brick walls and signs warning that people must wear personal protective equipment.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Richie Faulkner was often in the spotlight, showing off his killer talent and changing up his axes throughout the set. He is a real showman. Andy Sneap is on form, with the band’s “four-piece” statement best left forgotten. The longest-serving member, Ian Hill, is as solid as ever, and with Scott Travis pummelling the drums, the instrument side is supremely covered.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

As for Halford’s vocals, all I can say is ‘wow’. He delivers such powerful screams and growling lows, and you cannot fail to be impressed how Rob, at 70 years old, was able to perform like he did for a full two-hour set.

Moving on through their set, there was a great mix spanning their career. Highlights included You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, Turbo Lover, Hell Patrol, Rocka Rolla and Blood Red Skies.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Leading the end of the set was The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) and the iconic Diamonds And Rust. Drummer Scott Travis stood up and announced that this would be the last song asking what everyone wanted to hear. The fans replied with a roaring Painkiller.

After an hour and twenty minutes of adrenaline-filled Heavy Metal and a short break, the giant pitchfork illuminated once again, this time rotating between white, blue, green, and red. The white spotlights shone down from above and the band powered right into Electric Eye.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

There was a giant eyeball on the screen behind the drummer looking side to side, along with satellites and video surveillance footage to go along with the song. The stage briefly went dark again, with Rob riding out on a Harley with the 50 Metal Years logo on the tank to sing Hell Bent For Leather.

Glenn Tipton came out to join the band for Metal Gods, Breaking the Law, and Living After Midnight. With his struggles with Parkinson’s disease well known, this was an enotional moment for all. The crowd had their fists pumping and were singing along to a fitting and memorable end.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Priest’s last album, Firepower, is the highest US charting album of their 50-year career. Can there be more to come?

This was one of the baddest rock ‘n’ roll shows I’ve seen all year. Powerful is an understatement, and the Priest pairing with Queensrÿche was a genius move.

Priest plays Mashantucket on 2 April and Lowell on 4 April before heading to Canada for four dates. They then head to Europe for the summer. Bring your kids to this show if you want them to see what Heavy Metal is all about.

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Queensrÿche:

Queen of the Reich

Warning

En Force

NM 156

Empire

Walk in the Shadows

The Whisper

Operation: Mindcrime

The Needle Lies

Take Hold of the Flame

Screaming in Digital

Eyes of a Stranger

Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk
Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk
Queensrÿche. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Queensrÿche. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

Judas Priest:

One Shot at Glory

Lightning Strike

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Freewheel Burning

Turbo Lover

Hell Patrol

The Sentinel

A Touch of Evil

Rocka Rolla

Victim of Changes

Desert Plains

Blood Red Skies

The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)

Diamonds & Rust

Painkiller

Encore

Electric Eye

Hell Bent for Leather

With Glen Tipton

Metal Gods

Breaking The Law

Living After Midnight

Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk
Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk
Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk
Judas Priest. Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA. 30 March 2022
Judas Priest. Newark, NJ. Photo: Jody Wilk

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Comments

  1. Excellent write up, as a +40 year Priest fan, the show was intense , loud and energized. Rob never faltered. He WAS the show.

  2. They didn’t do Green Manalishi in Austin. But I still felt like I had just seen one of the greatest shows of my life. Halford has a voice like no other. And yes. The crowd went wild for Glenn, I now know I can still scream, with a lump in my throat. The entire band is an inspiration. #nosurrender

  3. I waited decades for this concert. I didn’t know if I should scream, bang my head, or cry. I think I did a little bit of each. I watched my two favorite bands with my two favorite people, my children (14 & 16). They watched the show, and watched dad – happy and excited, forgetting his daily work monotony. THANK YOU Queensryche and Judas Priest for decades of excellence. I watched my workout playlist LIVE, and LIVED!

  4. Saw this show on March 27 in Charleston WV. What a show. I’ve seen Queensryche a number of times over the years. From the original band to this lineup they have never disappointed. I’ve never seen Priest before and all I can say is WOW! What a show. Richie is a very talented guitarist. But Rob Halford stunned me. His voice was amazing. Hard to believe he is 70. Go see this show if you get the chance.

  5. seen this show in salt lake and it sucked.metal show need more than pacing back and forth and pointing a finger and shake you head yes.rob still has the pipes but compared to early shows 70’s this is bad.

  6. Two bands with little to no original members on both sides both have pretty much become cover bands sad too because at one time they were both top shelf metal groups now they are just sad to watch .

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