Judas Priest & Halestorm – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2019

Judas Priest & Halestorm – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2019

Two powerhouse performances deliver a great night’s entertainment

WORDS BY CAMERON M

I may well upset a few diehard Judas Priest fans to be talking about Judsa Priest and Halestorm in the same breath, but truly felt we were privileged to experience two great rock/ metal acts in one night, each capable of headlining in their own right!

It was fitting that post-grunge/metal outfit Halestorm opened as they are one of the best touring acts to visit New Zealand in recent years, fronted by Lzzy Hale they deliver hard and aggressive Rock superbly honed by regular touring around the world (they performed at the Powerstation the previous week to a sold-out crowd).

Lzzy Hale really understands how to work an audience and pretty soon had us eating out of the palm of her hand as the band spun through some great tunes such as their Grammy Award-winning ‘Love Bites (So do I)’. Two other stand outs for me were her amazing acapella vocal for ‘I Get Off’ – astounding – and the brilliant drum-solo of brother Arejay Hale.

Halestorm were a great ‘support’ and ‘partner’ act for Judas Priest.

Then the true masters of heavy metal – Judas Priest – arrived with great fanfare to the dropping of the very large Judas Priest backing revealing a massive flaming video and setting the scene to a frenetic evening of heavy metal.

They delivered a lot more than expected. Age truly defies Rob Halford’s jaw dropping vocal range producing a remarkable performance along with one of the tightest acts to ever grace the Spark Arena stage.

The band – with Halford constantly stalking the stage with immense presence – had the crowd in a frenzy raging for more after every song. It took only a few seconds introduction to ‘Sinner’ to get the crowd ripping. And they were enthusiastic, responding to every call and gesture from Halford, and fully engaged from ‘No Surrender’, ‘Turbo Lover’ to the very powerful and ferocious ‘The Ripper’.

While all (most?) eyes are on Halford the bandmembers are integral to Judas Priest 2019 and even though a little more reserved in style than Richie Faulkner, I thought Andy Snead was simply outstanding! While Richie Faulkner is clearly the showman, playing with his teeth and with an approach that is totally compelling. On bass, Ian Hill, provides a strong, powerful and intense bassline which is employed to devastating effect. And what can you say about Scott Travis on drums? He is not an overt showman but simply delivers, constantly, as one of the very best heavy metal drummers ever. Together they delivered crashing drums and powerful guitars rips through song after song with an intensity and energy that stayed with you long after the concert ended.

Special mention should be made of Halfords performance of ‘Rising from the Ruins’, sung against a backdrop of both the New Zealand and Union Jack flags that was pretty poignant, given the terrorist tragedy in Christchurch of Friday. Rob Halford stood in silence holding a lightsabre above his head pointing up to the words ‘Kiha Kaha’ depicted across both flags. Poignant indeed.

Thank you, Judas Priest. It was a night to enjoy and remember. It was a fantastic gig. And I look forward, as their parting message suggested, to the return of the Priest!

Auckland Setlist 

  1. War Pigs (Black Sabbath song)
  2. Firepower Intro
  3. Delivering the Goods
  4. Running Wild
  5. Sinner
  6. The Ripper
  7. Lightning Strike
  8. Desert Plains
  9. No Surrender
  10. Turbo Lover
  11. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)(Fleetwood Mac cover)
  12. Night Comes Down
  13. Guardians
  14. Rising From Ruins
  15. Freewheel Burning
  16. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  17. Hell Bent for Leather
  18. Painkiller
  19. The Hellion
  20. Electric Eye
  21. Metal Gods
  22. Breaking the Law
  23. Living After Midnight
  24. We Are the Champions (Queen song)

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