Judas Priest rocks Baltimore

Perhaps Steel Panther’s flamboyant 80’s inspired “sex appeal” and general mockery of heavy metal would not seem to be the most appropriate appetizer for a night with the legendary metal gods themselves, Judas Priest, but what isn’t as questionable is their drawing power given the status of the two groups. Each group managed to shake and rattle Baltimore’s sold out Pier Six Pavillion last month.  Leather, motorcycles, smoke and lights topped with an incomparable song selection was more than enough to induce whiplash from all the head-banging.

As Judas Priest continue on their 2014 Redeemer of Souls tour, they have seen nothing but packed houses of an astounding range of metal-loving, leather-wearing, head-banging, fist-in-the-air fans.  Steel Panther has been with them all the way and was plenty to get the rowdy Baltimore crowd going.  Pouncing (yeah-that’s what Panthers do) onto the stage, Steel Panther mined their full catalog of unprintable song titles from the start and kept the energy up until the last drum beat of their final number and contender for all-time best heavy metal national anthem, “Death to All but Metal.”  By the end of the number, the band invited all the “the hottest chicks in the house” onstage to dance with them before surrendering to the mighty beast that is Priest.

The crowd was animated and more than ready to rock as the long opening guitar twang of War Pigs opened up the stage for Judas Priest. Accompanied by Ian Hill on bass, Scott Travis on drums, and the raging sound of the dueling guitars played by Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, Rob Halford belted the lyrics to Dragonaut and set the tone for the rest of the show. It was nothing but metal- something they have kept true to since their first album release of “Rocka Rolla” in 1974, and the group shows no signs of even considering a slower pace. Of course, Judas Priest has served as the visual and sonic backbone for heavy metal since the first devil horns were thrown up at a concert, so it comes as no surprise that their latest single, “Redeemer of Souls,” went straight to number one on the charts.  The band had the audience raging from the beginning, but what really dialed up the mayhem in the audience was the inclusion of Halford’s expected, but nonetheless epic entrance to “Hell Bent for Leather” when he drove out on his classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

For the faithful disciples of heavy metal, the night seemed to go on for blessed hours, but in fact drew to a conclusion in just over an hour before stretching their performance out another half hour with the demand for not one, but two encores.  Finishing out the night with their best loved classics, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,”“Living After Midnight,” and “Defenders of the Faith,” Judas Priest put on a show with as much enthusiasm and heavy metal element as any from before the turn of the century.