A Judas Priest and a Steel Panther

By on November 1, 2014
Rob Halford small

Judas Priest frontman ROB HALFORD (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

 

A Priest and a Panther walk into a bar and blow everyone’s doors off.  Judas Priest and Steel Panther performed on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando and it was a memorable night for many in attendance, including myself.  This wasn’t my first time seeing Judas Priest or Steel Panther, but it was the first time I was able to shoot Judas Priest from a photography pit. To say I was excited would be an understatement.  I’ve seen Judas Priest live so many times that I’ve lost count.  They were the first concert I ever attended back in 1986 with Krokus on the Turbo Tour. We also caught them in Cologne, Germany in 2001 when I was on vacation. I am, and always will be a fan but I think you get that.

(photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

(photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

 I grew up listening to Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and then Led Zeppelin through my immediate family. As a teen, I had KISS posters on the wall and they were the “be all end all” until a fateful day at the neighborhood store.  As I stood in the candy aisle, I noticed something familiar, but at a much smaller size. It was a replica album cover the of Judas Priest 1980 classic album British Steel and inside it there was an album made from the old school bubble gum like you would get in your baseball cards. You know, the chalky kind.  At 13, I thought this was one of the coolest things ever.  I had heard “Breaking the Law” on the radio but after getting the replica, I wanted the real deal.  I purchased the album and I was hooked on the “Mighty Priest.”  Soon after that, I was turned on to Iron Maiden and my musical life and future would change, as I was hooked on Heavy Metal and going to live shows.

ROB HALFORD (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

ROB HALFORD (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

 Tonight’s show was also special because of the size of the venue.  The Hard Rock in Orlando is an intimate setting compared to seeing Judas Priest in an arena.  The whole floor is standing room only, general admission and you also have an upstairs with balcony seating and side stage table service.  The audio is amazing and the access to the artist is comparable to a small club like setting.

MICHAEL STARR & SATCHEL - Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

MICHAEL STARR & SATCHEL – Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

Steel Panther would be taking the stage first and when they were announced as the opener for Judas Priest’s Redeemer of Souls Tour, I thought it was an interesting choice. After they performed, it was transparent why they were the choice.  They are a fun band and you can’t take your eyes off the stage when they are on it.

 Steel Panther is a throwback band from the eighties when the hair was big, guitarists played solos and the guys in the band looked like the girls who wanted to party with them.  You may think with that kind of description that the musicians in the band cannot be taken seriously. We would be incorrect in that assumption because the guys in Steel Panther are all well accomplished musicians.

LEXXI FOXX - Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

LEXXI FOXX – Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

 Steel Panther is led by Ralph Saenz (aka Michael Star) the vocalist, Drummer Darren Leader (aka Stix Zadinia), bassist Travis Haley (aka Lexxi Foxxx), and guitarist, Russ Parrish, (aka Satchel).  Specifically Ralph Saenz, who had a stint in L.A. Guns, performed with the Van Halen cover band, Atomic Punk, and appeared in the movie, Rock Star. The most accomplished and well known musician in the group is guitarist Russ Parrish (“Satchel”).  He is known for his work with Rob Halford’s Fight and as an instructor at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood.  It’s amazing that the guitar player that created one of the most respected metal albums ever in Fight’s “War of Words,” is in this band, but Satchel plays the part perfectly.

SATCHEL - Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

SATCHEL – Steel Panther (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

Steel Panther is out on the road supporting its latest release, All You Can Eat.  They opened the show with the first song from the album titled ‘Pussywhipped.”   Other songs in their set included “Asian Hooker,” “Eyes of a Panther,” Just like Tiger Woods,” and “Community Property.”  An hour filled with foul language, songs about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll that really isn’t a show but a full on party.  Not only did they play some great songs but they also provided the crowd with a comedic flair as they bantered between songs about what they were going to do to the fan’s girlfriends. It was a perfect blend of music, comedy and a throwback to the days when music wasn’t so serious.  As they left the stage, I observed the crowd, and the women and men alike both had smiles on their faces from the party like atmosphere which led to the feelings of anticipation for what was to be next.

SATCHEL of Steel Panther gets air (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

SATCHEL of Steel Panther gets air (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

 

ROB HALFORD & RICHIE FAULKNER - Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

ROB HALFORD & RICHIE FAULKNER – Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

The Mighty Priest would take the stage in support of their critically acclaimed release in Redeemer of Souls and open with the instant classic, “Dragonaut. ”  With a deep red led lighted backdrop, Rob Halford joined his bandmates after they played the opening notes and introduced a new creature in a long line of them throughout Judas Priest’s career.  The fire breathing metal dragon emblazed in purple and black on the digital screen was a great start to amazing electronic backgrounds throughout the entire set.

Up next would be one of the live staples from British Steel in “Metal Gods” and then from Screaming for Vengeance, a rare live track in “Devils Child.” With these being the first three songs of the night, it was easy to see that tonight’s set would span their whole career with a few rarities thrown in.

Another early observation was the addition of Judas Priest’s new guitar player in Richie Faulkner.

After K.K. Downing left the band after 40 years they replaced him with Faulkner.  Priest fans everywhere wondered how this new addition would fit. After hearing the new album and watching him perform with the band tonight, I would say he fits like a glove.

ROB HALFORD (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

ROB HALFORD (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

It reminds of when drummer Scott Travis replaced then drummer Dave Holland in 1989 and Judas Priest released their career resurging release in 1990 with PainKiller. A new style, flair and sound without changing the heart and soul of the Judas Priest sound, Faulkner engaged with the fans on the rail from the start and with the photographers in the pit. Faulkner emits a youthful exuberance that seems to transfer to the veterans of the group, especially Rob Halford and dual ax-man in Glenn Tipton. I haven’t seen Tipton and bassist Ian Hill move and smile this much on stage in years.

Speaking of the Metal God himself, it’s an amazing sight watching Rob Halford perform.  At 63 years young, Rob Halford can still sing throughout his 4 octave range. He proved it all night and especially during the Sad Wings of Destiny classic in “Victim of Changes” and during the title track off Redeemer of Souls.

GLENN TIPTON - Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

GLENN TIPTON – Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

Other songs that were played from the new release were “March of the Damned” and “Halls of Valhalla.” On “Halls of Valhalla,” Halford provided the crowd with another one of his trademark screams and upon completion, led next to the Defenders of the Faith fan favorite in “Love Bites.” Images of Nosferatu and lyrics of the song played on the digital backdrop with the crowd interchanging on lead vocals with Rob Halford during the chorus.

Another surprise in tonight’s set was “Jawbreaker,” another track from Defenders of the Faith.

I can’t remember Judas Priest doing this song live and the one thing I love when I go to shows is hearing deep tracks being played.  Judas Priest really put some thought into this set by mixing it their hits, deep tracks and songs from the new release to appease all in attendance. They closed the show with their live staples in “Breaking the Law,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” and “Living After Midnight.”   They closed with another rarity in the title track from “Defenders of the Faith.

SCOTT TRAVIS - Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

SCOTT TRAVIS – Judas Priest (photo TRAVIS FAILEY / RSEN)

As the crowd was leaving the House of Blues in Orlando and the final track from Redeemer of Souls in “The Beginning of the End” played in the background, I found this to be a perfect ending to the show.

When I first heard this song at the end of the new album, I thought to myself… Is this it? Will this be that last release for Judas Priest other than maybe a live album from this tour? If so, so be it as this album is a classic in the vein of Defenders and Painkiller and, and it contains songs that will be in this fans playlist for years to come. This tour and release will not be an end for Judas Priest but a new beginning for a classic band as they hope to start writing the follow up to Redeemer of Souls after the tour.

Invigorated with a new purpose from a young gun in Richie Faulkner and a rejuvenated Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton, Judas Priest will continue to create and perform their classic material with a modern element to it. They will also continue to gain new fans while satisfying the many that have been with them since the beginning as they are the “Defenders of the Faith.”

Check out Judas Priest with Steel Panther on the Redeemer of Souls tour. For more information:

http://judaspriest.com/tour/

MORE TRAVIS FAILEY PHOTOS 

MICHAEL STARR

MICHAEL STARR

GLENN TIPTON

GLENN TIPTON

ROB HALFORD

ROB HALFORD

JUDAS PRIEST - ORLANDO, FLORIDA

JUDAS PRIEST – ORLANDO, FLORIDA

SCOTT TRAVIS - JUDAS PRIEST

SCOTT TRAVIS – JUDAS PRIEST

LEXXI FOXX

LEXXI FOXX

SATCHEL

SATCHEL

ROB HALFORD

ROB HALFORD

RICHIE FAULKNER & GLENN TIPTON

RICHIE FAULKNER & GLENN TIPTON

MICHAEL STARR

MICHAEL STARR

STEEL PANTHER

STEEL PANTHER

HALFORD

HALFORD

ROB HALFORD AND RICHIE FAULKNER

ROB HALFORD AND RICHIE FAULKNER

SATCHEL

SATCHEL

GLENN TIPTON & RICHIE FAULKNER

GLENN TIPTON & RICHIE FAULKNER

ROB HALFORD

ROB HALFORD

 

 

Categories: Entertainment, Featured, Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment