Rockbrat Live Review: Judas Priest – Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – Friday 17 February 2012

Posted: February 19, 2012 by rockbrat in Rockbrat Live Review:
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Priest’s final Budokan appearance…cold outside, fiery hot inside.

Tonight’s show at the legendary Budokan saw the venue being covered with snow. Strangely enough, a heavenly setting indeed for one of the most iconic HM bands of my lifetime. Priest are on their farewell tour and deliver a greatest hits type package with a couple of rarities thrown in as well. From what I understand, once retired from long tours, they will continue to perform the odd show in the years ahead. Like many rock fans I was disappointed to be seeing Priest on a farewell jaunt without KK Downing on board. The band have done the right thing in attempting to fill his big shoes and going out on the road one last time with a replacement. It is ultimately, a blot on their history that, after so many great years with the band, Downing could not bow out with the band in style. That being said, his replacement Richie Faulkner does a superb job, and if you’re 15 years old, you ‘d probably never even know the difference. Faulkner and Tipton work well together, and the band just look so comfortable that they could not have chosen a better replacement. Consider he was born when British Steel was released and is now on that stage with rock icons ! Priest will always be – Downing and Tipton though – end of argument. If you are a rock n roll scholar, and you’re ever in Tokyo, you should make an effort to visit this most iconic of Japanese venue’s. If the backstage walls could talk huh !? The Beatles, Kiss, Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, Stones, The Who, Queen – most of the biggest names in popular music have stood on that stage beneath the national flag ! A couple of minutes before show time, the intro tape of Sabbath’s War Pigs, gets a loud airing to a welcome response. Then, without much fanfare – lights drop and the trio of Halford, Faulkner and Tipton are huddled in a small group blasting through ‘Rapid Fire’. It instantly brought back memories of 1982 and playing this on a local HM comp which my brother used to own. Great days. ‘Metal Gods’ follows next and the pretty much sets the mood for rest of the night. Tonight Priest were L-O-U-D. My ears have been assaulted by some serious volume over the years, and this was yet one of the loudest showsI have been to. It’s never too loud though ! Right !? Heading Out to the Highway is next and is truly great. Cannot recall all the the set, but I do know Starbreaker from Sin After Sin was played. Amazing. Diamonds & Rust was magic, a very catchy
Turbo Lover, and a great take of The Sentinel. Felt like 1986 !
A good thing right ! Cannot do any better than hearing The Green Manalishi in 2012, followed by the obligatory Breaking the Law. Encores were true HM classics: The Hellion, Electric Eye, Hell Bent for Leather, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and finally Living After Midnight. Cannot be topped. No sir. Nights like this are sop special to many rock fans like me, as it is essentially a look back on my life in rock n roll. Bands like Priest have always been with me, on my journey through life, so to watch them churn out hit after hit – many attached to memories of growing up – it’s hard to put into words. For example I can recall buying British Steel on cassette and just playing the thing over and over and over again, or once finding a 7″ of ‘Take On The World’ at a market back in 82 ! It was all part of my rock/metal discovery – all a part of who I was and what I became. A lifelong rock n roll soldier.
So with a setlist packed essentially with my memories, it would be hard to select any particular song/s as highlights….but Heading Out to the Highway’, Metal Gods and and an amazing take of Diamonds and Rust were very memorable. Halford’s voice is amazing and shows no sign of any weakness, not that I could hear anyway. If you get a chance to see the band on this farewell tour, do not miss the opportunity. They have never sounded better and and are indeed bowing out with style and at the very top of their game.


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Comments
  1. Derek says:

    thanks for the link to the video. that was a wicked concert! amazing!!!!! when Victim of Changes started up, I damn near broke my voice box. incredible night. Halford sounded as piercing as always. Don’t know how he does it. It’s now Tuesday, the concert was Friday, and I still don’t have my voice back. Oh well, at least the ringing in my ears has stopped. That place was loud!!!!!

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