I admit, I had a few reservations about seeing Judas Priest at Grossinger’s Motor Arena Sunday night in Bloomington, Illinois. As a lifelong fan, I was concerned how I would feel with the notable absence of Lead Guitarist Glenn Tipton from the line-up. I knew nothing about the ‘New Guy’ who was to strap-on and step-in to Glenn’s role. Needless to say, I pleasantly impressed. Make that incredibly impressed. Hand selected by Glenn himself, Andy Sneap accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion. When the curtain dropped, Andy was ready to go. Opening the show with ‘Firepower’, (also the title of Priest’s new CD), Andy hit it , note for note, and flawlessly executed old-fan favorites like “The Green Manalishi’, ‘Breaking The Law’, and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’, and kept driving hit after hit, all night long. Rob Halford, Harley and All, proved that he’s still got the pipes as he solidly knocked ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, ‘The Ripper’, and ‘Saints In Hell’, just to name a few, right on out of the park. Playing off Andy’s leads with rock-solid riffs of his own, Richie Faulkner was an incredible machine of his own. Backed by the thunderous rhythm section of Scott Travis on drums, it certainly sounded exactly what I expected from a Judas Priest show. Scott got the crowd really pumped as he encouraged our participation before he began pounding out ‘Painkiller’. And original Bassist, Ian Hill, was right there with Scott, keeping that Judas Priest thunder rolling, song after song. There’s a reason Judas Priest hold the undisputed title as the Godfather’s of Heavy Metal. And, it’s because after over four decades, they can, and will, still kick your ass. They certainly proved it to me Sunday night.
photos by Mike McMillen review by Becky Buerkett Meier