Concert Review: Judas Priest – Spark Arena March 16, 2019

An all ages crowd filled Auckland’s Spark Arena for Judas Priest on what was otherwise a sad and somber Saturday March 16, 2019 in New Zealand.

The band kicked off with Delivering the Goods and wow can lead singer Rob Halford deliver the goods vocally, the man is an absolute machine on stage. Halford’s regular coat changes added something special to the colourfulness of his presence and the entire set. My favourite would have to be the trench coat covered in patches.

Richie Faulkner on lead guitar was sight and sound to behold. Along with Andy Sneap on guitar and Ian Hill on bass, the men delivered a well choreographed pure heavy metal performance. The stage props were slightly gimmicky, but the visuals on screen more than made up for it. True to form, Halford had a Harley out onstage during Hell Bent For Leather. In amongst such classics the band also played Lightning Strike and Rising From Ruins off their 2018 album Firepower.

Standing on the floor about 10 rows from the front, the sound quality was enormous but not ear splitting. The crowd in the stands stayed mostly seated, while the crowd on the floor attempted a mosh pit during Turbo Lover, but it didn’t take off, the more seasoned crowd in the front quickly shut down mosh attempts.

But the crowd wasn’t boring, I was surrounded by young and old that appeared to know every word to every song. Where I was standing the entire set was a massive group singing event, especially during favourites like Another Thing Coming, as well as Breaking The Law off the 1980 album British Steel. Halford’s Australia versus New Zealand lighthearted taunt invigorated the crowd even more. It was great to see a boy who looked around 10 years old up on shoulders not too far from the front with the biggest grin on his face.

Drummer Scott Travis teased the crowd announcing the final song before the band came back on for an encore which included Living After Midnight. This was my first time seeing Judas Priest, and by the end of the night they had me wishing it would continue to midnight. I didn’t manage to catch a guitar pick though, hopefully next time.

Andy Baker

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