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Judas Priest // Live @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater // 9.9.21

Article by: Wendy Podmenik Darugar

Virginia Beach, VA—During a night of spattering rain and temperatures morphing from summer humidity to the cool of fall, Judas Priest brought solid metal power to Virginia.

The “Fifty Heavy Metal Years” tour was originally slated to kick off in 2020, but the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting shut downs pushed the celebratory tour to 2021. Virginia Beach was fortunate enough to be second date on tour- and even with a smaller, max-capped capacity at the venue, the crowd was thrilled and on their feet for the whole show. In keeping with a heavy metal theme, the backdrop of the stage was set up as a foundry. “J.P. Metalworks”, with steam pipes, barrels and stairs, all color coordinated in grays, blacks and oranges. Even the crew wore coveralls with the back emblazoned with the famous pitchfork/cross logo as they readied the stage.

High into the scaffolding, a massive gleaming red and white pitchfork rose into the air as the band walked up, while a voiceover gave a history of heavy metal “rising from the flames, a monster proclaimed itself to life”. Launching into “One Shot at Glory”, Judas Priest blazed into the show, with Rob Halford attired in a gold studded leather coat and Norfolk native drummer Scott Travis tossing drumsticks into the air as he played. Next up was “Lightning Strike”, and when finished, Rob Halford took an emotional moment to connect with the crowd in thanks.

Revving up the crowd, “Are you ready?”, Halford went into “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”, the single released in 1982 that had heavy radio rotation and broke Judas Priest into America. The audience had horns raised and their heads tracked Halford’s every move as he paced back and forth. Still reaching incredibly flawless high notes at the age of 70, he and the band clipped through the hits and rarities at a furious pace with seamless transitions.

Almost every song highlighted guitar solos, and in “Turbo Lover” the audience sang the chorus, with a video backdrop streaming churning pistons and gears in a sexual reference. By the time the band played “The Sentinel”, Halford had already made several costume changes, averaging one every 2 songs and in at least one case, a costume change made mid-song. Pausing between “A Touch of Evil” and “Rocka Rolla”, Halford thanked his “beautiful metal maniacs” for 50 years of devotion. Before “Painkiller”, Travis Scott spent a few minutes giving a shout-out to his fellow Virginians. The encore set ended with “Living After Midnight”, a giant inflatable bull and the Metal God, Grand Wizard of Metal, and all-around cool guy Halford taking a bow with mates Ian Hill, Andy Sneap, Richie Faulkner and Scott. Want to see and hear it all? This show is for you, a journey through 50 years of heaviness.

A new album is underway and a European leg of this tour is planned for 2022. There are plenty of dates for North America- find information here:

Wendy Podmenik Woodell
Since entering the world of photography in 2013, WENDY PODMENIK has focused her interest on live music. Her ultimate goal is to successfully present the live music genre as an art form which preserves the expression, emotion, and energy of specific moments in time. ////// GLENN WOODELL spends his musical time working both on and around the stage. He's spent decades behind the lens as a visual artist, and for his career, studied human vision as a scientific researcher. His time on the stage these days is either spent holding on to a bass guitar or a camera.