Metal gods Judas Priest to play first Vancouver shows with Rob Halford outside of a hockey rink

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By Steve Newton

I’ve been going to see Judas Priest play concerts at Vancouver hockey rinks since the 1982 Screaming for Vengeance tour hit the Pacific Coliseum, and, quite frankly, I’m sick of it. The acoustics are never any good, and you can never get close enough to see the sweat dripping off Glenn Tipton’s fretboard unless you want to risk getting a metal stud in the eye from some crazed mosher.

So it was awesome to hear the British metal legends’ recent announcement that it was playing two shows at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver on October 27 and 28. Who bloody cares if that’s a Tuesday and Wednesday? It’s freakin’ Priest, man! In a 1,250-capacity venue!

With beer!

The last time the group played here was in 2011 at the Vancouver Canucks’ current stomping ground, on a bill with Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy. That was supposed to be its “final” world tour, but, hey, you can’t keep a good Priest down.

“It’s not the end of the band,” Tipton told me at the time. “We are gonna do at least one more album, and if the right string of dates were offered to us for the right reasons, we would consider them. But we’re just not gonna schlep around the whole planet again, that’s our thinking.”

And if you’re one of those hardcore Priest freaks who lost faith in the band after original co-guitarist K.K. Downing called it quits back in 2010, Tipton thinks you should reconsider.

“K.K. was such a big part of the band that we just thought he wouldn’t be replaceable,” he said, “but Richie [Faulkner] captures the essence of everything that he needs to do. And he puts his own spin on things, too. You have to see it to believe it, really.”

Tix for the Hard Rock shows go on sale this tomorrow (july 31) at 10 a.m., and you can find them here.

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