Judas Priest / Colossal Invincible Shield Tour Here In Packed Connecticut

Heavy Metal trailblazers Judas Priest have embarked on the first U.S. leg of their Invincible Shield tour, supporting the album of the same name. The opening night of the run took place on Thursday April 18th at Connecticut’s Toyota Oakdale Theatre. With a 4800 capacity, the show with Sabaton was entirely sold out, making for a thrilling tour kickoff.

Judas Priest – Sabaton

Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024

Words And Photography: Shannon Wilk

Sabaton

Supporting Priest on this tour was one of Power Metal’s Big Four – Sabaton. All the way from Sweden, the group are blazing American stages with their synth-driven, war-themed music.

Sabaton - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Sabaton – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

A tank lies center stage, acting as a drum riser with Hannes Van Dahl seated atop behind his kit, playing leftie. All five members of the band wear matching uniforms, which consist of camouflage cargo pants, dark-coloured shirts and boots.

Sabaton - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Sabaton – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

With this show being the first of the tour, vocalist Joakim Broden shares with the audience that this is guitarist Thobbe Englund’s first show back with the band after leaving in 2016.

“I think it’s only right that you choose the next song,” Broden says to Englund. He plays a riff, a capella, mimicking the “oh’s” on their song Swedish Pagans.

The vocalist flips him off, running back to his microphone stand to begin the song, with all five members singing backing vocals and encouraging the audience to clap along.

Sabaton - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Sabaton – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

For an American audience that seemed largely unfamiliar with Sabaton, the group did a fantastic job getting the crowd to sing along and filling the room with energy.

Judas Priest

A curtain hangs centre stage, with a monologue written on it, referencing the new Judas Priest album Invincible Shield. Black Sabbath’s War Pigs plays overhead. The intro to the album’s lead single, Panic Attack, began to play.

The curtain flew up, and the members of Judas Priest were revealed altogether on the steps in front of the drum kit. Guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap wield V-shaped axes, branded Gibson and Jackson, respectively, as they go into the band’s 1982 hit, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.

Both gentlemen bring such prowess to the instrument, something extremely necessary to accurately perform Judas Priest tunes.

Judas Priest - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Judas Priest – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Taking it back to ’80s British Steel album, the five-piece perform Rapid Fire and Breaking the Law back-to-back. The audience, in traditional Heavy Metal fashion, throw up their hands, holding the devil horns.

Rob Halford, the band’s old-school singer, at age 72, manages to move around the stage in head-to-toe leather, hitting every high note – exactly what he is notorious for. From Devil’s Child to Turbo Lover and Painkiller, Halford is on point.

Judas Priest’s iconic cross logo is hung high above the stage, light beams shining down from the symbol.

Judas Priest - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Judas Priest – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Behind the mic, Halford does a drawn-out call and response with the crowd, engaging with fans from the front row all the way to the back of the theatre. Guitarist Richie Faulkner also has an engaging stage persona, interacting with countless people by pointing and smiling at fans.

Priest brings a unique setlist with not only all the hits, of course, but also three tunes from the latest record and songs from nearly half of their releases.

Original bassist Ian Hill plants his feet in his spot on the stage and stays there, locking in with drummer Scott Travis, making for one of the most solid rhythm sections in Heavy Metal today.

Judas Priest - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Judas Priest – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

The band leaves the stage as it goes dark. The Hellion begins to play over the PA, getting the audience hyped for the encore. Judas Priest returned to the stage for Electric Eye, Hell Bent for Leather and Living After Midnight, closing out the night with fuel and electricity. And a motorcycle, of course.

After 50 years of tearing it up on stages worldwide, Judas Priest still put on an incredible performance in addition to releasing incredible original music.

As the opening night of the tour came and went, all I could think was that it is certainly a must-see tour. Not only with these old school Heavy Metallers, but also with the Swedes in Sabaton who are supporting Priest.

Judas Priest - Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut - 18 April 2024
Judas Priest – Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Connecticut – 18 April 2024. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

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