By Steve Newton
Tonight’s the night for Lower Mainland metalheads!
Well, tomorrow’s the night too, I suppose.
Tonight and tomorrow (October 27 and 28) legendary heavy-metal act Judas Priest plays Hard Rock Casino Vancouver for what will be its first-ever non-arena Vancouver shows with singer Rob Halford at the fore.
So only about a thousand folks each night will be getting “Hell Bent for Leather” at the Hard Rock, as opposed to the 12,000-plus that usually show up when the band’s making the hockey-rink rounds.
After intense research–aka clicking on www.setlist.fm–I’ve got a pretty good handle on the British earbusters’ current setlist, and fans of its British Steel album will be pleased to learn that it’s the main source for tunes these days, with four tracks from that 1980 disc seeing concert action. The no-brainers are the singles “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight”, the latter closing the show during the second encore. Other tunes from British Steel that have been showing up are “The Rage” and the apt titled “Metal Gods”.
It wouldn’t be a Priest show without a track or three from its breakthrough album, 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance, which has sold over five-million copies worldwide. The group has been performing the title track as well as, during its first encore, “Electric Eye” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”.
But Judas Priest isn’t one of those bands from the seventies that just rests on its laurels, playing only the ancient stuff. Last year the group released Redeemer of Souls, its first album without founding guitarist K.K. Downing–who was replaced by Richie Faulkner in 2011–and it’ll be plumbing that disc for “Halls of Valhalla”, the title track, and the show’s opener, “Dragonaut”.
Without giving everything away, I’ll also add that the band has been playing much-loved Judas Priest tracks from the ’70s like “Victim of Changes” and “Beyond the Realms of Death”.
The thing I found most surprising after scouring Priest’s recent setlists was the exclusion of “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)”, its 1979 cover of the Peter Green song Fleetwood Mac first released back in 1970.
But who knows, maybe founding bassist Ian Hill will lobby the other band members to include it in Vancouver as a favour to me.
We go way back.