Concert Review – Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years (First Ontario Centre, Hamilton, ON, 04/13/2022)

The Priest finally returned to Ontario, Canada to celebrate 50 years of their undisputed Heavy Metal.

OPENING ACTS: Queensrÿche

Finally, after exactly 880 excruciating days (as my last metal concert was Cannibal Corpse in Toronto on November 15, 2019), I was able to attend a metal concert, and the adrenaline rushing through my veins last night was worth every penny spent in the ticket. The place chosen for my “return” was the nice First Ontario Centre, and the first band I had the pleasure to see on stage after so long was the iconic American Heavy Metal band QUEENSRŸCHE, who led by the talented frontman Todd La Torre put on a great show to properly warm up the crowd for the almighty JUDAS PRIEST.

Blending songs from their most successful album to date, Operation: Mindcrime, those being the title-track Operation: Mindcrime, The Needle Lies and Eyes of a Stranger, with other hits such as their first-ever single Queen of the Reich and the excellent Walk in the Shadows, Todd and his henchmen received a standing ovation from the audience when their performance was over, showing why they’re one of the most respected bands from the 80’s. My only complaint has nothing to do with their setlist, even with “Silent Lucidity” being left out of it, but with the fact that the doors of the First Ontario Centre opened at 7:30pm and it wasn’t even 7:45pm when the band hit the stage, which means a lot of people missed their concert due to such limited time to get to their spots. They should have been given at least 30 minutes to start their show, but it is what it is.

Setlist
Queen of the Reich
Warning
En Force
NM 156
Empire
Walk in the Shadows
The Whisper
Operation: Mindcrime
The Needle Lies
Take Hold of the Flame
Screaming in Digital
Eyes of a Stranger

Band members
Todd La Torre – vocals
Michael Wilton – guitars
Mike Stone – guitars
Eddie Jackson – bass
Casey Grillo – drums

JUDAS PRIEST

After a not-so-long break, it was time for my metal heart to pump frantically once again after over two years thanks to one of the most important and electrifying institutions in the history of rock and metal music, my beloved JUDAS PRIEST. Celebrating 50 years alive and kicking on their tour simply called “Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years”, which unfortunately had to be postponed a few times due to several reasons, the band comprised of the one and only Metal God Rob Halford on vocals, Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap on the guitars, Ian Hill on bass, and Scott Travis on drums took the crowd on a magical journey through 50 years of the purest and most crystalline Heavy Metal you can think of, from their 1974 classic Rocka Rolla to one of their most recent hits Lightning Strike. It was a fusion of nostalgia, perfection, adrenaline, happiness and so many other great feelings it’s hard to describe everything in just a few words, proving why Judas Priest have always been one of the pillars of traditional Heavy Metal alongside Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.

The setlist chosen by Mr. Robert John Arthur Halford and his bandmates, as aforementioned, was a thing of beauty, inspiring all fans at the first Ontario Centre to keep screaming, banging their heads and raising their horns high in the air while the band delivered some precious gems of heavy music the likes of Freewheel Burning, Turbo Lover, Blood Red Skies, Electric Eye, Hell Bent for Leather and Breaking the Law. However, as a huge fan of the album Painkiller, which is by the way one of my top metal albums of all time, it was a true pleasure witnessing Judas Priest playing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR songs from that masterpiece, the majestic One Shot at Glory, the metallic hymn Hell Patrol, the stunning A Touch of Evil, and of course the all-time classic, fan-favorite, hard-hitting aria Painkiller, with Scott doing a fun intro where he not only talked about how much the band loves Canada, but also throwing some last minute jokes about how the band would have to play until Sunday if they played every song requested by the audience (and he even forgot it was a Wednesday, not a Thursday). Halford was on fire in all of those songs delivering his trademark high-pitched screams and interacting with the fans in great fashion, supported of course by the amazing guitar by Richie, and by the way it was great seeing Richie is fully recovered from last year’s scary incident.

Of course, everyone who attended the concert in Hamilton yesterday wanted to see Glenn Tipton joining the band for the encore just like what he’s done several times since he opened up about his fight against Parkinson’s disease, especially due to the fact it was the very last concert of their 2022 North American tour, but I’m sure Glenn had his reasons for not playing with the band last night. Moreover, after the last notes of the closing song Living After Midnight were played by the band, the background screen showed in capital letters the message “THE PRIEST WILL BE BACK”, so I guess there will be more opportunities in the future for Glenn to kick some serious ass on stage with a band that not just represents Heavy Metal to perfection, but a band that is Heavy Metal, period. And may Judas Priest keep coming back to Canada for more of their unparalleled performances for another 50 years.

Setlist
Battle Hymn
One Shot at Glory
Lightning Strike
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Freewheel Burning
Turbo Lover
Hell Patrol
The Sentinel
A Touch of Evil
Rocka Rolla
Victim of Changes
Desert Plains
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
Diamonds & Rust
Painkiller

Encore:
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Hell Bent for Leather
Breaking the Law

Encore 2:
Living After Midnight

Band members
Rob Halford – vocals
Richie Faulkner – guitar
Andy Sneap – guitar
Ian Hill – bass guitar
Scott Travis – drums

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