Judas Priest Article

02.08.2018 Judas Priest

Wacken Open Air XXIX

Wacken (Germany)

(Pentax K-5 with Sigma AF 70-200mm 2.8 EX DC APO HSM II)

The last time that I saw Judas Priest, who are besides Iron Maiden pioneers for the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, was back in 2011 on the Wacken Open Air. To that time the concert took place in line with their Epitaph tour and this tour should be the last world tour of the band. Meanwhile we do have 2018 and Judas Priest just released with “Firepower” their 18. studio album. Of course they had to go on world tour with it.
Accordingly it was not only started with the name giving track but with “Lightning Strikes” and “Rising From Ruins” there were two more songs of that album one could listen to. Otherwise they relied with respect to selection of the songs solely on old classics of the 70s and 80s. Just like the last time singer Rob Halford could enthuse one with his impressive 4.5 octave voice which was clear and strong just as always. Also his famous screams were performed perfectly. Unfortunately, he was otherwise looking old, creeping across the stage and you could see that singing was requiring a lot of energy of him. Energetic is somehow looking different. Also all the change of outfits and the appearance with the motorbike could not hide that fact.
Besides that his band members were significantly more on the ball. Above all the two guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap. They were playing one terrific solo after the others and besides that had enough time for interaction with the audience. That was of course completely enthused and loudly sang along classics like “Turbo Lover” or “Hell Bent For Leather”. Before each song began there was a small excursus of Halford with some information and memories around the songs to which also the related album cover was shown largely on the LED wall in the background. During the encore it was finally getting emotional. Guitarist Glen Tipton was suffering from Parkinson’s disease for 10 years now and this year the point in time had come where he did not want to go on tour anymore. In the course of that Andy Sneap had taken over his part. For the greatest Priest songs “Metal Gods”, “Breaking The Law” and mostly “Living After Midnight” he once more came back onto the stage and played together with the others.
Is there anything more one needs to say? It was simply a very good Judas Priest show. With great stage setting, suitable change of outfits, musicians being in a good mood and a terrific audience. Unfortunately, I have to say, it was somehow a pity that Rob Halford had physically degenerated so much. That guy is only 66 years old but is appearing to be much older. Any physical energy was missing, and the show seemed to be only rattled of by him (Udo Dirkschneider is of the same age but his show was the complete opposite). Only to the encore he was a little bit more drive in his movements when walking across the stage. However, vocally he could fully convince at any time. Let’s see for how long he will continue touring. By that, it was at least a terrific end of a great second day on Wacken Open Air.


  • War Pigs (Black Sabbath Song)
  • Firepower Intro
  • Firepower
  • Grinder
  • Sinner
  • The Ripper
  • Lightning Strike
  • Bloodstone
  • Saints In Hell
  • Turbo Lover
  • Prelude
  • Tyrant
  • Night Comes Down
  • Freewheel Burning
  • Guardians
  • Rising From Ruins
  • You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  • Hell Bent For Leather
  • Painkiller

Encore :

  • Metal Gods (with Glenn Tipton)
  • Breaking The Law (with Glenn Tipton)
  • Living After Midnight (with Glenn Tipton)
  • We Are The Champions (Queen Song)