Saxon performance rating:  9 out of 10 

Judas Priest performance rating: 10 out of 10

I have been to hundreds of concerts since first seeing Cheap Trick in 1978. Tonight I watched one of the best if not the best performance ever by Judas Priest with Saxon opening. The show took place at Venue in the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. Hammond is a sizeable municipality that borders the far south side of Chicago. Being my first time to the casino and concert venue within it and after hearing mixed reviews, I did not know what to expect. The Venue is not bad, especially in the boxes where I sat. The crowd was near capacity. Now on to the show.

Saxon opened with a blazing 11 song set that mixed old classics such as “Denim and Leather” and “Dallas 1 PM” with songs off the very good new album Thunderbolt. A good portion of the crowd was into the heavy metal pioneers as frontman Biff Byford still brings it with his always commanding presence. The criminally underrated drummer Nigel Glockler is worth 7 stars alone. The band as a whole was tight, fun and great.

Set list:

1. Thunderbolt
2. Power and the Glory
3. Nosferatu
4. Motorcycle Man
5. The Secret of Flight
6. Dallas 1 PM
7. They Played Rock and Roll
8. Denim and Leather
9. Princess of the Night
10. Wheels of Steel
11. Strong Arm of the Law

As “War Pigs” blasted out of the P.A. the anticipation rose as it was time for Judas Priest. When the band soon hit the stage, there was an onslaught of one great song after another. This would be my 10th time seeing Priest dating back to when they opened for KISS on the Dynasty tour. In the glory years between Hell Bent for Leather and Screaming for Vengeance, Priest’s shows seemed rushed as if they wanted to play a little over an hour just to get it over with. When Rob Halford rejoined the band, they seemed a little underwhelming even on the British Steel anniversary tour. Then came Richie Faulkner, who is currently my favorite guitarist. He was an injection of brilliant energy on Redeemer of Souls and the subsequent tour. Now he is the undeniable the driving force of the band. Tonight’s setlist was incredible and only thing that could have improved the song selection would be the addition of “Flame Thrower” from the new album. Other than that, it was damn near perfect. Even a song like “Turbo”, which I am not a fan of, sounds great on this tour because Faulkner makes it a million times heavier than the studio version. Unleashed in the East is one of the greatest live albums of all time and they play four tracks from it including the epic “Sinner”, which features Faulker taking K.K. Downing’s timeless leads to another level. Then the band brought out “Saints in Hell” for the first time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stained Class. Rob Halford somehow still hit the notes on this deep classic. In fact,Rob sounded as great as ever. Judas Priest celebrated every era of the band which the new album Firepower does as well. Out of the three songs played off of the new album, “Evil Never Dies” is by far my favorite and it fit in right along with all of the classics. Much has been made of Glenn Tipton not being a part of this tour but honestly, he seemed old and tired the last few tours, while new member Andy Sneap takes the band to the next level on par with Richie Falkner. The closer before the encores was “Painkiller” which featured a nice tribute to Tipton on the video screen and just when you thought it couldn’t get better, Priest came out with an encore of “Electric Eye” and “Metal Gods” followed by the crowd-pleasing hits “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” and “Living After Midnight”. Needless to say, everyone went home happy. This show was amazing and one of the greatest ever.

Set List:

1. Firepower
2. Running Wild
3. Grinder
4. Sinner
5. The Ripper
6. Bloodstone
7. Lightning Strike
8. Saints in Hell
9. Turbo Lover
10. The Green Manalishi
11. Evil Never Dies
12. Breaking the Law
13. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
14. Hell Bent for Leather
15. Painkiller

16. Electric Eye
17. Metal Gods
18. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin
19. Living After Midnight

This concert review was written by Joe Becht.  Follow him on Twitter @JoeBecht

Judas Priest in Indiana – April 6, 2018.


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6 thoughts on “Concert Review: Judas Priest In Hammond, IN, April 6, 2018

  1. Great show in Casper! One question- what year/model of bike was on stage, couldn’t get a great look. Looked like a Shovelhead.

  2. Twodogs I had heard/read a interview with rob that he owns the bike and it is a 82 Harley low rider w/shovelhead

  3. Just seen them last night SLC. I agree one of the best shows. I too wished for “flame thrower”. Tell me there is a better singer than Halford and I’ll tell you your crazy. And the guitar work…goosebumps.

  4. tinley park il, aug 22 2018

    i know he is getting old, i cut these classic rock bands a lot of slack. so i will not judge on the stage show. though i think Rob was “Milli Vanilli”ing it, but so what. and he reminded me of Fred Sanford in his movements. so what.
    what did suck, was the audio quality. it was hard to understand what was coming out of the speakers.

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