Chris Loomis

Judas Priest & Deep Purple @ Fivepoint Amphitheater – 09/27/2018

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Judas Priest @ Fivepoint Amphitheater - 09/27/2018Two of Heavy Metal/Hard Rock’s most innovative and pioneering bands Judas Priest and Deep Purple made a stop in Irvine on Thursday night September 27 to Deliver the Goods to a capacity crowd at Fivepoint Amphitheater. These two iconic bands collectively equate to almost 100 years of making music and 150 million albums sold; they continue to tour and make rock-solid music in 2018 with a killer live show featuring songs both old and new.

There is so much that can be said about Judas Priest and Deep Purple but what stands out the most is the vocal skills of Priest’s Rob Halford and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillian; without a doubt two of the best in the business and their respective voices have both stood the test of time as proved on this night.

Judas Priest dropped the curtain right at 8:00pm and opened the show with the pummeling of “Firepower”, one of five tracks played off their March 2018 release of the same name. Vocalist Rob Halford dressed in silver leather from head to toe led the band through 75 minutes of Metal as only the Metal Gods they are can. Halford barked to the crowd, “The Priest is back, are you ready for some Heavy Metal” and the band kicked it into high gear with “Sinner” led by the guitar mastery of Richie Faulkner.

Faulkner a member of the band since 2011 and with two Judas Priest albums under his belt is now the focal point of the twin guitar attack and he proved his talents with “Sinner” and many of the other Priest classics. With Glenn Tipton now battling Parkinson’s disease, he has been forced to step back from touring although still considered a member of the band. Handpicked by Tipton, guitarist and producer Andy Sneap has stepped in for the Firepower touring cycle and does so in fine fashion. He successfully maintains the spirit and style of Tipton while effortlessly trading off leads and solos with Faulkner and both Sneap and Faulkner carry on the trademark guitar harmonies that Priest is known for.

Judas Priest @ Fivepoint Amphitheater - 09/27/2018The rhythm section of drummer Scott Travis and bassist Ian Hill now having been together for almost 30 years are a well-oiled metal machine. Hill not very active onstage stays put in his corner and just headbangs as his fingers do the talking while the hard-hitting Travis anchors the band. A large video screen behind the stage displayed various graphics, logos and videos throughout the set making for a vivid visual to go along with the driving music.

Halford has now let his goatee go full won white but still remains the Metal God as he continues to nail the highs and low and everything in-between on every song. The roar of the mighty Harley Davidson was heard loud and clear as Halford made a grand entrance on the bike as the opening notes of “Hell Bent for Leather” begin, a truly iconic part of the show that has been part of the Judas Priest performance forever. Before kicking into the next song “Painkiller”, Scott Travis tells the crowd that it feels great to be back in Southern California but states the previous night’s crowd in San Diego claimed to be loudest in the state . . . Travis asked multiple times “What do you want to hear” as the crowd responded loudly “Painkiller” and the band ripped through one of their heaviest songs with video of Glenn Tipton playing with the band displayed on the large video screens.

After leaving the stage the band returned with a three-song encore that began with “The Hellion/Electric Eye”, then into “Breaking the Law” and the night ended with “Living After Midnight” at which point Halford thanked the crowd and stated “We are Judas Fucking Priest”. A large graphic on the video screen read – The Priest Will Be Back – one can only hope for a future Judas Priest tour . . .

Judas Priest Set List:

Firepower | Delivering the Goods | Sinner | Lightning Strike | Desert Plains | No Surrender | Turbo Lover | Guardians | Rising From Ruins | Freewheel Burning | You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ | Hell Bent for Leather | Painkiller

Encore: The Hellion/Electric Eye | Breaking the Law | Living After Midnight

Deep Purple @ Fivepoint Amphitheater - 09/27/2018Any Judas Priest performance is a hard act to follow but Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductees Deep Purple stepped up to the challenge as they began their on 75 minute set with the classic “Highway Star”. Vocalist Ian Gillan now 73 years young put forth his trademark vocals and screams effortlessly. Obviously a bit less physically active onstage, his voice knows no boundaries.

The rhythm section of Deep Purple remains intact from all the way back in 1969 as legendary bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice hold down the rhythm section in fine fashion. Both have remained top-notch players on their respective instruments and it is quite a “pinch me moment” to see Gillan, Glover and Paice on stage together.

Only two songs from recent Deep Purple albums were played as the band focused on the classic hits. Guitarist Steve Morse has been in the band for 25 years now and is a full on six-string wizard doing more than justice on all guitar parts. And one cannot mention Deep Purple without the keyboards . . . Don Airey who has played with Deep Purple since 2001 is rock royalty having also played with Ozzy, Jethro Tull, Rainbow and many others. Airey even had the opportunity to show his skills with a brief keyboard solo.

The band ended their set with, you guessed it, the song that every guitar player states is the first riff they learned; “Smoke on the Water”. After a brief exit and return to the stage the mega-hit “Hush” was the sole encore and Deep Purple left the stage for what most likely would be the last time in Orange County.  Beyond amazing performance from a band 50 years into their career!

Deep Purple Set List:

Highway Star | Pictures of Home | Bludsucker | Strange Kind of Woman | Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming | Uncommon Man | Lazy | Knocking at Your Back Door | Keyboard Solo | Perfect Strangers | Space Truckin’ | Smoke on the Water

Encore: Hush (Joe South cover)

Deep Purple Photo Gallery:

Judas Priest Photo Gallery:

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