Judas Priest - Saxon Hammersmith Apollo 26 May 2012

We got into the venue as opening act at Kobra and the Lotus were starting their second song. I’m not familiar with their material at all and a slightly flat, muddy sound didn’t do anything to aid their cause.

I can’t be accused of being unfamiliar with the next band up tonight though, the mighty Saxon are back at Hammersmith, as guests of Judas Priest and it was great to see the band playing to a full hall. Opening up with Heavy Metal Thunder the band hurtled through a 50 minute set that included more classics like 747, Wheels of Steel, 20,000 Feet Crusader and newer numbers like Hammer of the Gods from the excellent Call Arms CD and I’ve Got to Rock (to Stay Alive). As always Biff Byford was master of ceremonies milking every ounce of applause from the appreciative audience. All too soon it was time for the final number, Power and the Glory. If that was a taste of the set they will play at Download on 9 June at 12:00 then you are in for treat.

Judas Priest set things rolling with Rapid Fire tonight before moving on the Metal Gods. The stage set had a big screen set over drummer Scott Travis. This showed images loosely linked to the song being played. Either side of this, jets of flames appeared throughout, and you could feel the heat from these half way back in the stalls.

Between songs Rob Halford undertook a number of costume changes which though these added to the spectacle did break the flow of the set up for me. Highlights were Judas is Rising, Victim of Changes, Diamonds and Rust, The Green Manalishi, crowd sing along Breaking the Law and the excellent Pain Killer. Though out “new boy” Richie Faulkner had a great rapport with the crowd and his enthusiasm and energy seemed to rub off on everyone in the venue.

The encores were opened up with Electric Eye before Rob Halford entered the stage on a growling motorbike for Hell Bent for Leather and You’ve Got Another Thing Coming. The band left the stage again to return for one final song which was of course Living After Midnight.

Two great British rock bands, in one great night out.


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