The Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 1, 2018

Judas Priest Firepower tour 2018

The recently repurposed Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted Judas Priest’s Firepower tour.  The tour features Saxon and Black Star Riders in support. This line up of complementary bands provide an outstanding evening of entertainment for Classic Heavy Metal fans.  Unfortunately, the concrete and steel echo chamber venue proved too big of challenge for the sound techs to keep the sonic train from derailing early and often.

This night challenged the listener’s musical memory to not only fill in the voids in a subpar mix but even to identify the song being played.  My sympathy to the Black Star Riders and any new listener.  Their sound was broken.  The horse they were riding just needed to be put out of its misery.

Saxon’s mix was somewhere in the neighborhood of recognizable.  About 50 percent of their set was decipherable due to the venue’s sound.  Songs with a slower tempo were the most recognizable.  “Dallas 1 PM”, “They Played Rock And Roll” and “Denim And Leather” were highlights.  In what may have been a quirk of the venue, Nigel Glockler’s drum sound was crushingly heavy and the best part of Saxon’s show.

Judas Priest most successfully overcame the acoustics. Their 19-song set was largely discernible except the drums sounded hollow and weak compared to Saxon’s. The bass guitar was stealthy and Andy Sneap’s guitar was never as strong as Richie Faulkner’s.  Not sure if this was by design or a mistake.  As Glenn Tipton’s touring replacement, Sneap may feel he needs to keep a low profile but he is nearly invisible.  He has little engagement with the crowd, few facial expressions, and mostly keeps his gaze fixed to the neck of his guitar similar to Kerry King of Slayer. With Ian Hill assuming his usual position fixed in front of his amps, Faulkner and Rob Halford are left to carry the load entertaining the crowd.

It’s great to hear classic hits such “Living After Midnight”, but inclusion of deeper tracks pique the interest of longtime fans.  This tour finds Priest including “Running Wild”, “Bloodstone”, and “Saints In Hell” into the set.

While this version of Judas Priest feels diminished without Glenn Tipton, it’s still good to see the band carry on with the seemingly ageless Halford still hitting his notes and keeping the faith.

Minneapolis MN

Thank you Minneapolis -your town knows how to ROCK!!#themightysaxon#thunderbolttour2018#themightyfans

Posted by Saxon (Official) on Monday, April 2, 2018


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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