Thursday, April 19, 2018

Concert Review: Judas Priest, 4-17-18 Portland, Oregon

In the shadow of Mount Hood,
We were all waiting....
For Lightning to Strike!

As most of you know, I became a truck driver last year. Well, last Friday, I delivered to Portland, Oregon. I am a trainer, and since we were going to here until Monday, my student wanted to go see a Portland Trailblazers playoff game on Saturday. I told him to go ahead, and I realized that all I ever did on downtime was sit in the truck. I decided to see if anything was going on that I would want to see. Tuesday, April 17th, Judas Priest was in town. DAMMIT, I was leaving on the 16th! Son of a...
It would take an act of the Metal Gods for me to get to go to that concert. Well, they decided to smile on me because my truck broke down on Sunday. Had to be towed Monday, soooo, I was PRIEST BOUND!

I got to the arena, and Saxon was playing. I was late for them, but that couldn't be helped. While waiting in line for my $11 beer, I met a proud father, taking his 9 or 10 year old daughter to her FIRST concert. I wrote about that meeting as well because it was really cool. I went in, and my seat was appropriately in section KK. I knew it was going to be an awesome night. 

If you don't already know, guitarist, Glenn Tipton has left the band because of health issues with Parkinson's Disease, and couldn't tour anymore. He has been replaced by guitarist, Andy Sneap, along with Richie Faulkner who replaced KK Downing after he retired. He's played for some amazing bands, so I wasn't worried about him playing Glenn's parts. He's done production work for Megadeth, Accept, Testament, and many other bands known for exceptional guitar ability, not to mention been members of various heavy hitting guitar bands. 

Rob Halford and Andy Sneap

The band opened with the title track of their latest album, Firepower, which is in the top 5 albums of their entire discography. Glenn Tipton played the songs on the album, and if anyone had any doubts about Sneap and Faulkner carrying the torch, they were quickly erased. The crowd accepted both guitarists with enthusiasm. Rob Halford's vocals were piercing, and strong as ever. I had never seen Faulkner with Priest before, but I was amazed. He is one HELL of a showman. I couldn't really see Scott Travis from where I was, and Ian Hill just did his normal performance, just staying on his side of the stage, beating the deep darkness from his bass that gives Priest songs the scary essence that they are known for. 

Showman Extraordinaire, Richie Faulkner 
The band played a wide variety of hits, classic gems, and several songs from Firepower. They played Sinner, Freewheel Burning, Grinder, The Ripper, and a couple other classics. I was a little surprised to hear Turbo Lover, but it was still great. Of course, they played Painkiller, which Rob nailed, and the solo was done perfectly by Faulkner and Sneap. After Painkiller, something happened that we were all hoping for, but not expecting. Sneap joined Ian Hill at the back of the stage, and none other than Glenn Tipton emerged from side stage. The place erupted with applause, and Glenn stood there with his hand on his heart and pointing at the audience. You could tell that our enthusiasm for him met the world to him. They finished the set with Tipton playing his signature Hamer guitar. His first song with them? Metal Gods of course. He then played Breaking the Law, You Got Another Think Coming, and Living After Midnight with the band. 

Rob and Glenn
That was an incredible concert, mixed with excitement, and emotion. The band sounded great, and everyone enjoyed it. I'm sure the people in attendance were a lot happier leaving than the Trailblazers fans were who had just watched them drop a second playoff home game in a row, going to a 0-2 deficit to the Pelicans. That arena is right next to Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where Priest played. You don't get many options for a personal life out on the road. I'm glad I had this opportunity, and it was a concert that I won't forget any time soon.

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