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By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, May 7, 2018 @ 1:03 PM

Metal Legends Bring Their Own Munitions To The Bomb Factory On April 28th, 2018

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All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

Heavy Metal Legends JUDAS PRIEST have been a band for nearly 50 years since their original formation in 1969, but for all intents and purposes, the mere mention of the name evokes the moniker 'Metal Gods' and has for as long as I can remember. My first PRIEST show was the Screaming For Vengeance tour of 1982-83, which included KROKUS and THE RODS as support. I've managed to catch the mighty PRIEST numerous times since then, even catching the band once with Tim "Ripper" Ownes" leading the charge. With the band's latest release Firepower, the band showed that they are still on top of their game after all this time and the ensuing world tour in support of the release would definitely be on everyone's wish list. Then came the devastating news that guitarist Glenn Tipton, who along with bassist Ian Hill are the only members to have played on all JUDAS PRIEST albums, would not be able to tour anymore due to his Parkinson's diagnosis. Suddenly, the Metal Gods we have worshipped all this time had been exposed as mere mortals like the rest of us and this show went from a 'like to see' to a 'must see', especially given that now the inevitable end is definitely somewhere down the road.

The band, supported by additional long haulers SAXON and relative newcomers BLACK STAR RIDERS, hit the Lone Star State for three shows to put an exclaimation point on the end of a very successful North American tour, the first of which was at The Bomb Factory in Dallas. Located on the east side of downtown in the Deep Ellum district, The Bomb Factory is situated amongst a mixture of shops, other clubs such as Trees and the Curtain Club, and restaurants of all different flavors. Being that this was my first show in the Big D since the 80's when I caught the second to the last Texxas Jam in 1987 headlined by BOSTON, I wasn't sure what to expect and I have to say, it exceeded all my expectations. Granted, this show would be playing the following night in Houston, which is closer to me, but it was on a Sunday (#1) and most importantly #2, the venue in Houston does not have a barricade for photographers to shoot from, and there was no way in hell I was going to shoot these three bands from the soundboard, so it was off to Dallas I went. The Bomb Factory is not only a great live venue, but the entire staff, from the ticket booth to security to the bartenders (one of whom spotted the KNAC.COM embroidered on my shirt while I was still 4 people deep from the bar and gave me the thumbs up) to the lonely guy responsible for manning the parking lot directly behind the venue were all very gracious, friendly and as professional as they could be. Not only did they have a barricade for the photographers but they also had a small railed-off area right next to it where we could stand and watch the show when we weren't shooting pics. HUGE props to the folks at The Bomb Factory!

BLACK STAR RIDERS, a minor 'supergroup' in their own right, were first up. Consisting of vocalist Ricky Warwick, guitarists Scott Gorham (THIN LIZZY fame) and Damon Johnson (also of current THIN LIZZY as well as BROTHER CANE), bassist Robbie Crane (who spent 15 years as the low end for RATT) and drummer Chad Szeliga, the band fired things up for the evening with "All Hell Breaks Loose", the title track to the band's debut album of 2013. The band seemed to show no fatigue that you might expect from a band on the tail end of a 30-date major tour. Quite the opposite was in fact the case as they rolled through a nine song set of selections from their three albums which included such gems as the title tracks to the albums The Killer Instinct and Heavy Fire, with one THIN LIZZY track thrown in for good measure, that being "Jailbreak". The energetic quintet polished things off with "Bound For Glory", quite apppropriate for a band rising for the stars.

After a very brief set changeover (about 15 minutes), other heavy metal stalwarts SAXON took the stage. Though they could have easily been headlining their own tour, they chose to join forces with the mighty PRIEST and this reviewer couldn't be the happier for it. The band, whom I first saw on IRON MAIDEN's Piece Of Mind tour sandwiched in between MAIDEN and openers FASTWAY, also launched into their set of 12 songs with a title track, this one to their newest release Thunderbolt. They were off and running, again showing not the slightest bit of tiredness as they put the pedal down and never let up, showcasing tracks "Power And The Glory", "Motorcycle Man", "Dallas 1pm", "Princess Of The Night" and "This Town Rocks", along with the ever popular "Denim & Leather" and "Wheels Of Steel" before heading into the night with "Heavy Metal Thunder", which could have certainly served as a reminder of the onslaught that was still to come. Biff Byford, Nigel Glockler, "Nibbs" Carter, Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt came, saw and kicked major ass as always.

As the road crew went about the business of setting up and the huge JUDAS PRIEST curtain was dropped across the front of the stage, the only thing left to wonder was whether or not Mr. Tipton would grace us with his presence on this evening. Glenn had made a couple of appearances during the beginning of the tour and then again during the middle of it, so one could make the case that he would indeed appear, especially considering that he did play just two nights prior in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of course, if you had been following the tour at all, there was one sure way to tell if he was going to be there or not, and that was the placement of the song "You've Got Another Thing Coming". For all the shows that Glenn has performed at the band had moved this song from the encores to the regular set, presumably because there's a Glenn solo in it that he can't quite pull off any longer. But make no mistake about it, we were about to find out.

The lights dimmed and we could hear the strains of the instrumental track "Guardians" playing over the PA and before we knew it, PRIEST were unleashed onto the stage with "Firepower", once again the title track to the new album from these legends and it was on! Picking up right where SAXON left off, the band lit up The Bomb Factory and even dusted off two 40 year old gems that I personally had never seen them perform live before, "Running Wild" from the Killing Machine album and "Saints In Hell" from the Stained Class release. These were mixed in with such timeless classics as "Grinder", "The Ripper", "Sinner" and of course, what PRIEST show would be complete without "Hell Bent For Leather"? Peppered in with all of those were the tunes of "Freewheel Burning", "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" and the god-awful (my opinion) "Turbo Lover". And lo and behold, three quarters of the way through the set the initial groove started that immediately had my spirits shoot through the roof; "You've Got Another Thing Coming"!

I knew right then that we were in for a magical night.

Sure enough, following set closer "Painkiller" the lights dimmed once again and the next image we see is that of the veteran warrior, Glenn Tipton himself being projected onto the huge video screen that draped the back of the stage behind the drum riser and The Bomb Factory "exploded" with the roar of audience approval! Ever the humblest, Glenn acknowledged the crowd by tapping his heart with his fist as the band launched into "Metal Gods". In a true sign of the utmost respect, fill-in guitarist Andy Sneap relinquished his place in the spotlight and retreated to Ritchie Faulkner's side of the stage in back by the amplifier stacks as Glenn took his place upfront.

One of the things about JUDAS PRIEST that has always given me chills and goosebumps is the three person jam move that occurs toward the end of "Breaking The Law". If you've ever seen them live you know what I'm talking about. Seeing this performed, knowing Glenn's condition and not knowing if I'd ever get the opportunity to see it in the future was so moving that it brought tears to my eyes. Tears? At a JUDAS PRIEST concert, are you kidding me? Yes, and there is absolutely no doubt I was not the only one who experienced this. Glenn remained for one more tune, the final track of the night in "Living After Midnight". This was truly an event that could not be missed and as I left the venue headed toward the parking lot my thoughts went out to all those fans on this tour who didn't get to enjoy Tipton's company because only God knows if we'll ever have the chance again. And for those that missed out on this tour altogether it looks like you might still have a chance to catch them this summer when they hit the road with DEEP PURPLE. Thanks for the memories Glenn!

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

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