Place Bell – Judas Priest and Queensryche – April 11th 2022
The air was filled with excitement on Monday the 11th of April as all were gathered around the Place Bell in Laval to witness the godfathers of heavy metal themselves, Judas Priest. The Place Bell was filled with metalheads young and old ready to rock out for Judas Priest‘s 50 years of metal tour.
Queensrÿche, best known for their classic rock opera “Operation Mindcrime”, were tasked with warming up the crowd for Judas Priest. They played a solid set with amazing dual guitar harmonies, high-flying vocals and a strong classic old-school metal vibe. They performed many of their classics of “The Warning”, “Rage for Order” and “Operation Mindcrime”. My stand-out tracks performed were “Operation Mindcrime”, “Take Hold of the Flame” with its very old-school power metal vibe and “Eyes of a Stranger” with its strong chorus hook.
The excitement could be felt after Queensrÿche’s set as Judas Priest were about to climb on stage. As the lights dimmed, we were greeted by a spoken word introduction exalting the power of metal. The band starts with “One Shot at Glory” as a giant metal Judas Priest logo is descending from the rafters.
The stage decor was similar to an abandoned foundry with barrels and chimneys around them as a backdrop displaying clips and psychedelic images in the background.
Halford screams enthusiastically to all the metal maniacs that Judas Priest is back as they launch into their classic song “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” to the great pleasure of all in attendance who sing along to every word.
The band was in fantastic shape as Halford, who is in his seventies now, was pacing back and forth on stage. Richie Faulkner was ripping guitar solos all evening and he was accompanied by the fantastic Andy Sneap (of the classic UK thrash band Sabbat) to provide us with Priest’s trademark dual guitar harmonies. Ian Hill, who has been playing with Judas Priest since 1969, was providing the thumping bass rhythm and Scott Travis was providing the drum beats.
In rapid succession, the band delivered such hits as “Freewheel Burning”, ”Turbo Lover”, “Hell Patrol”, “The Sentinel” and “A Touch of Evil”. Halford then spoke about their journey as a band and reminded everyone that Judas Priest has been delivering the goods for 50 years. They went all the way back to their first album “Rocka Rolla” to play the title track.
As we are nearing the end of the first part of the show, the band plays some of my favourites “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” and their fantastic cover “Diamonds & Rust”.
After those two covers, Scott sits behind the drums and starts to yell out to the crowd asking them which song they would like to hear. The audience erupts into a chant asking for the classic Painkiller. We are then greeted with the incredible drum intro and Halford erupts into the thunderous vocals that accompany it. I would like to take a moment to note that despite Halford’s age, his vocals are still fantastic. During the whole show, I was impressed but after his performance during “Painkiller” I was left in awe at his sheer vocal prowess.
After a short break under chants of “Priest! Priest! Priest”, the speaker started playing “The Hellion” as the band walked on stage and played “Electric Eye”. Once that one was finished, Halford rides on stage on his Harley as the band plays “Hell Bent for Leather”. To finish this first encore, the band played their heavy metal classic “Breaking the Law”.
Another short break before one last song, Judas Priest left their classic sing-along “Living After Midnight” for the end. The crowd sang along with every word of this heavy metal masterpiece. During the song, a giant inflatable bull joined them on stage as the backdrop showed images of their native Birmingham.
Halford enthusiastically yelled “We are Judas fucking Priest!” as an image in the background let us know they would return.
A fantastic performance by such a legacy band. I am still in awe at Halford’s vocal performance and I hope to see them soon again.
Review – Jason Maher
Photo – Steve Gerrard