TVD Live Shots: Judas Priest with Queensrÿche at the Toyota Arena, 11/7

Judas Priest has been riding the wind since 1969 and have been screaming for vengeance (and breaking the law) ever since. The metal god Rob Halford broke out the major firepower on Monday night in front of a near-capacity crowd in Ontario, crushing an 18-song set that would make any Priest fan drool. The thousands in attendance were hell bent for leather from the very first note, and were living after midnight when the dust finally settled. This was metal mayhem at its finest, and one of the finest live metal performances I have seen in 2022!

Fresh off their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Judas Priest graced the stage of the Toyota Arena on Monday for what ended up being one kick ass rock and roll show for the ages. Joined by the legendary Queensrÿche, fans from all over southern California rocked out to nearly 3 full hours of jaw dropping, in your face metal that transported fans back to a time where all that mattered was the music. It was horns up, barricade crushing insanity in the IE, and a show that had been circled on my calendar for nearly a year. Let’s dig in.

Up first was one of my favorite bands of all-time, Queensrÿche. While I have seen this band well over 30 times, I go into each performance knowing that the set I am about to catch will somehow be unique or different. Monday’s show was no exception. The boys kicked things off with their very first single, 1981’s “Queen of the Ryche.” While classic for sure, it never gets old and is always a fan favorite. Next up was the “Warning,” and I’m here to say Todd La Torre nailed the vocals on it with precision and accuracy. Good lord, this man has some pipes.

It was also great seeing Michael Wilton (guitar) and Eddie Jackson (bass) ripping it up on stage with smiles ear to ear for the entire set. Their musicianship is simply incredible and are best in class in my opinion. And let’s not forget about Mike Stone (guitar) and Casey Grillo (drums). These cats are sonically amazing and are such an integral part of the current lineup. Queensrÿche wrapped up their set with “Screaming in Digital” and “Eyes of a Stranger,” and they crushed em’ both. While it was a limited set—8 songs in all—it hit on all cylinders and was a perfect segue to Monday’s headliner, the mighty Judas Priest.

After a brief stage change out, it was now time for Birmingham’s finest, Judas Priest. As lights dimmed, the famed Judas Priest logo (outlined in red) dropped from the rafters as the “The Hellion” blasted throughout the arena. Lights flashed and smoke billowed up as Rob Halford and company emerged and took center stage, launching immediately into “Electric Eye.” It was one of 5 songs played off of 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance LP that evening and immediately whipped the now packed house into overdrive, Judas Priest style.

Over the next 2+ hours, the Toyota Arena was set ablaze by an 18-song set that would make mortal men blush. Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap teamed up on guitar on classics like “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and Fleetwood Mac cover, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown).” These two guitar wizards were straight fire. Ian Hill’s basslines were as chunky as ever, and Scott Travis held it down on the drums and percussion all night long. And what can be said (that hasn’t already been said) about the vocal majesty of Rob Halford? All I can say is that Rob is still the best to ever do it and 50 years in, no one even comes close.

The show wrapped up with two encores consisting of “Hell Bent for Leather,” “Breaking the Law,” and the true finale—“Living After Midnight.” All three were flawless and placed the final exclamation point on what ended up being the metal show of the year for sure. Fifty years later, this band still checks off all the boxes and underscored to their faithful why this band is still, to this day, one the greatest to ever don the leather. All hail Judas Priest!


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