The pre-recorded, big metallic strings of “Battle Hymn” open Judas Priest’s new live album Epitaph. We are then into the band breaking out on the staccato “Rapid Fire,” showcasing drummer Scott Travis. The plodding “Metal Gods” and “Heading Up To The Highway” has the crowd singing along and chanting (good thing too, as Rob Halford’s voice sounds a little rough at the beginning of this show).
I’m glad “Judas Rising” is here, one of my favorite Priest tunes from an album of the same name. Once again, drummer Travis is on fire, especially his double bass drumming. There’s the two guitars on the screaming wail opening of “Victim Of Changes” from the band’s 1976 Sad Wings of Destiny followed by an even older (and I think better) hard rock tune, “Never Satisfied.” Halford warns a stomp through 40 years of Priest’s music for this show and these 23 songs represent a good cross section of the band’s “stuff.”
There’s a newer Priest read of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” with soft acoustic, Halford playing well with his still-strong wide range and along with the older “Beyond the Realm of Death” (also here and sounding great) these are some of the few ballads Priest manages.
“Turbo Lover” is here, as is “Painkiller” and the ending trio of “Hell Bent For Leather,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Living After Midnight.”
In 2010 Priest announced their official retirement, but a year later announced they’d be recording new material, but they did promise the end of world touring. K.K. Dowing was not along on this Epitaph tour though, replaced by Richie Faulkner, who keeps up perfectly in the double guitar assault with usual Priest ax man Glenn Tipton.