in Helsinki, Finland March 3, 2005 & Oslo, Norway, March 8, 2005


When the news of this tour came out there was much speculation and wonderment on who’s going to get the opening slot. In the end, the honor went to Swedish aggro-metallers In Flames, who, on the basis of their show, seemed very grateful for getting the job and did their best to warm up the audience. Just as singer Anders promised in the start of their set, they went through most of their “hits,” including “Episode 666,” “Cloud Connected,” and “My Sweet Shadow.” Anders was a real trooper and soldiered through the entire set despite his cold, which lead to a hoarse voice and the occasional cough. Surprisingly, the band was allowed to take advantage of the headliner’s lighting rig. During “Cloud Connected,” the lights created these huge, impressive shadows of the players on the backdrop… but mainly the bulbs were used to create a strong strobe effect of flashing lights, so the warnings in the hallways that stated the light show may cause seizures were indeed needed.

Right at 21:25:00, the well-oiled machine that is also known as Judas Priest hit the stage. What followed could be described as highly entertaining Metal Theater. The lights hit the huge Eye in the background, and the “The Hellion/Electric Eye” began. The stage had been transformed into this huge staircase with two high ramps on both sides of the stage. By the end of “Metal Gods,” Halford had made it to the bottom of the stairs, performing his robotic dance and losing his biker sunglasses.

After the introduction part, the backdrop was changed to the cover of their latest CD, Angel of Retribution, and two new songs from it were played back to back. It seemed that the audience wasn’t quite yet familiar with the new songs, since the album had just been released a week before. During “Revolution,” Halford placed two huge JP flags to the front of the both ramps in a gesture that seemed to suggest that Priest is conquering this hill… and indeed they were.

After the introduction and the new song segments were taken care of, the background was changed again, and the third part of the show began. This part was the main set and was intended, like Halford said, to showcase songs from the Priest’s hefty back catalogue, which takes them all the way back to the year 1972 when they first joined together as a band. What followed were “Breaking the Law,” with all four grouping together in a line and “blasting off,” “I’m a Rocker,” “Turbo Lover,” “Exciter,” “Painkiller”… the hits just kept on coming.

The highly emotional “Diamonds and Rust” showcased the glue-like grip of drummer Scott Travis. The drumsticks seemed to be part of his fingers. The new song “Deal with the Devil” kicked the set back into a faster gear, and fit perfectly into the set.

“Painkiller” and “Breaking the Law” both started with audience participation parts, with Rob asking “This is what?” and “Breaking the what?”… and the audience shouting him back the titles.

Even though Rob was the obvious eye catcher, it was clear that Glenn Tipton, who was positioned in the centre of the stage, was running the show… and just for the record, Ian Hill did move from his spot a couple of times to take part in the choreographies with the rest of the band, and in the mean time, concentrated on giving his bass a mean whipping. Even Halford joined in playing, and demonstrated how to play air-guitar by taking his leads from Tipton.

Glenn Tipton played the mandatory solo during “Victim of Changes.” It also contained a spot for K.K. Downing to show off while Glenn and the rest provided backbeat. Halford even had time to take a seat on the steps. This and the robotics seemed to be bothering some, and lead to unnecessary speculation about Rob’s capability of doing such a long, two-hour show, but the finale, which was marked by the final change in the background, should have silenced any doubters by it’s sheer force and determination.

The encore brought the familiar, and much expected, Harley Davidson on stage, and the band belted out a mean version of “Hell Bent for Leather,” followed by “Living after Midnight” and the show closer “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” The band stayed on stage quite awhile after the set was over, handing out every pick and drumstick and sporting huge grins that were mirrored in the faces of the audience. The Priest were indeed back!

Before you go and see this show, please take an inventory of your expectations and remember that even though these five clearly are Metal Gods, they are still made of flesh and bone. They do play all the classics, and Rob makes sure that there is plenty of theatrics on display… and, in fact, seeing this show makes it clear how much the shows today are lacking in pure showmanship and stage settings. Make no mistake here, the Priest do not need to rely on the theatrics since their songs are more than capable of doing all the talking on a stand alone basis, but they just seem to be from the time when there still was a thing called “a show,” and everyone was trying to upstage each other with all kinds of side trimmings. Seeing this show makes it painfully clear that bands today do not put much effort in their stage show. Go see Priest and learn how it should be done!

As a quick side note, extra special thanks goes to Malcolm Vayro for providing Metal Express a seat! Thank you, Malcolm…


Tuesday night, and Oslo Spektrum was filled up pretty good with around 6000 crazy Metalheadz. In fact, Judas Priest have never played for a bigger audience in Norway. The 1350 capacity Rockefeller has housed the two last Priest tours to visit Oslo, being with the 1991 Painkiller Tour and 2001’s Demolition Tour. Halford’s Resurrection Tour in 2000 also visited Rockefeller with Overkill supporting.

As usual, “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” started the two-hour Metal extravaganza. Rob Halford appeared in the “Electric Eye” back center stage, and then spent a couple of songs getting to front center stage, and screaming out “Riding On The Wind.”

Last year’s show at the Sweden Rock Festival was a brilliant one, no doubt about that. But Rob Halford actually seemed a slightly bit more interested this time. Maybe he was astonished by the great crowd of Oslo who followed every chorus closely with screaming out the words to Halford, Tipton, and Downing’s delight. He was also more focused on his communication towards the crowd, talking in between almost every song and seemed like he had the time of his life right there.

Not many classics were forgotten in the set, and of course it contained “Breaking The Law,” “Metal Gods,” “Green Manalishi,” “Painkiller,” “Hell Bent For Leather,” “Living After Midnight,” and the closing “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” A few surprises were served, those being the old Point Of Entry favorite “Hot Rockin’,” and one of the highlights on Ram It Down; “I’m A Rocker.” But it seems like Judas Priest had kept almost every number from the summer 2004 set, including “Turbo Lover,” and just added three Angel Of Retribution tracks, and a couple of old, but not forgotten, gems.

Of course it would have been great to hear “Desert Plains,” “Freewheel Burning,” and “The Sentinel,” but hey, these guys have delivered 13 Halford albums and 2 Ripper-albums by this juncture, so how do you do come up with a setlist that pleases everyone? That task just can’t be done –- and that’s a fact. No songs from the Ripper-era were played, and that’s understandable as well, even though Iron Maiden still keeps playing Blaze-songs.

The new songs, “Judas Rising,” the first single “Revolution,” and “Deal With The Devil” were all well received. They fit perfectly in the set between the classics, and Angel Of Retribution is, of course, a timeless release from the old giants. On “Judas Rising,” Rob Halford rose on his throne behind the drumkit – one of the few stage props Judas Priest had brought on this tour.

To loosen up a bit, “Diamonds And Rust” was a delight with Rob Halford singing at his best. On his high notes, he struggled a bit on a few other songs, choosing the low road on the falsetto killer song “Exciter” and screaming until his head almost exploded to “Painkiller.” As always, though, he has an amazing authority, walking slowly around stage with his huge leather coat, and he had the venue, the stage, and the crowd in his own hands.

The Oslo-show was two hours of the greatest selection in British Heavy Metal that can be performed nowadays. The Priest is back where it belongs, in front of big crowds with long setlists, endless classics, and five band members looking to have the time of their lives after 30 years in the business. Well done guys, and boy are we all glad that you’re still out there!


Hellion / Electric Eye / Metal Gods / Riding On The Wind / The Ripper / A Touch Of Evil / Judas Rising / Revolution / Hot Rockin’ / Breaking The Law / I’m A Rocker / Diamonds And Rust / Deal With The Devil / Beyond The Realms Of Death / Turbo Lover / Exciter / Victim Of Changes / Green Manalishi / Painkiller / Hell Bent For Leather / Living After Midnight / You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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