This may have been dubbed the Farewell Tour for Judas Priest but seeing thousands of head-banging, passionate fans on their final run may give the members of the legendary band second thoughts. Priest appeared in Concord at the Sleep Train Pavilion as the head liner for this year’s installment of the Bone Bash. Rock station 107.9 puts on the show every year and drew another sell out crowd. It’s hard not to with the likes of Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society along with Priest on the bill.
Black Label Society could be labeled as the heavy metal version of Cher. Front man Zakk Wylde emerged wearing a head dress that looked like something straight out of a Vegas production. They tore through their 60 minute set at an ear-drum-bursting volume and an equally frenetic pace. The vocals were a little muddy throughout the performance and could barely be heard over the thumping bass and guitar solos. When Judas Priest came on the volume was turned down. That’s right, Priest was at a lower volume than the opening act.
Rob Halford could have retired years ago. The iconic vocalist for Judas Priest could be living out the rest of his life on a quiet beach resort or golf course anywhere in the world. Instead he chooses to be front and center in front of 9,000 lunatics, donning black leather and summoning bursts of fire from beneath the stage. That’s what the fans have asked of him and he continues to oblige.
Midway through the head lining set the venue was buzzing. The entire audience was on their feet. Halford was hitting notes reserved for 20-year-old rock stars and the hit songs wouldn’t stop. Priest rivals a lot of the rock acts currently on tour. To think this group could stay off the road longer than a year seems crazy.
The only thing that took away from the raucous show being put on by the rock legends was an American Idol alumni trying to sit down and enjoy the concert himself. James Durbin caused quite a ruckus of his own as fans bombarded him. He spent most of the concert posing for pictures and waving.
Not only is this iconic rock group musically solid live they also understand that fans don’t pay big money to hear Halford nail that high note. They pay to have a good time. So Priest makes sure to pack a big punch in the pyro department. Big bursts of fire lit up the venue time and time again as Halford strutted around the stage in his own, very menacing, way.
There is already talk of a tour next summer. It’s anyone’s guess as to the validity of the farewell claim. If Judas Priest does decide to make a visit to the Bay Area next year the hoards of fans will welcome them with open arms.