Sunday June 19, 2005 Judas Priest. Nissan Pavilion Bristow, VA. Queensryche and Judas Priest made for a solid double bill Sunday night at Nissan Pavilion. Although the venue was only about 2/3 full, a few empty seats in the house did nothing to diminish the energy and volume of the crowd who ate up every moment of the performance of both bands.

Queensryche delivered a high-energy set of greatest hits from throughout their career and got the crowd excited for the headliner. Although I’d heard a rumor that Queensryche was going to play the soon to be released Operation: Mindcrime II, the anticipated sequel to 1998’s Operation Mindcrime, the band opted instead for only one song from the forthcoming release, a rather formulaic song called “I’m American.”  I find it doubtful that the scores of metal-heads at the concert caught the irony of the title within the context of the Mindcrime milieu, and instead the song produced a sudden and misplaced flood of patriotic fervor..

Judas Priest, touring with frontman Rob Halford back in the band after a 15 year absence, delivered an amazing set loaded with Priest classics, and a few new songs from their 2005 release Angel of Retribution, including the blistering standout track “Deal With The Devil.” This was not a nostalgia concert, but rather a vibrant and energetic 2 hour performance that sounded like it was played by musicians half the age of the youngest Priest member.

The classic Hellion / Electric Eye pairing opened the show, and featured an ominously evil looking Rob Halford standing far above the back of the stage in a full length studded leather coat, the first of many leather changes for the aging rocker. If there was such a thing as high-fashion studded leather, Rob Halford would be a top runway model.

The remainder of the 2 hour set was loaded with Priest classics, including “Hell Bent For Leather,” Turbo Lover,” “Living After Midnight,” “Breaking the Law,” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” The highlight of the night was the middle of the set when Priest dipped far into their back catalog. Hearing Rob Halford absolutely nail his full vocal range, including the sensitive passages of “Diamonds and Rust,” and the screams at the end of “Beyond The Realms of Death,” and “Victim of Changes” was a treat.

Listening to these songs again in a live setting proved to me that although Judas Priest were not the first doing what they do, they refined and perfected their genre, and to this day none have done it better. Long live the Priest.

View the photo gallery from Judas Priest- 6.19.05