REVIEW: Judas Priest at Portsmouth Guildhall

Judas Priest at Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture by Paul Windsor
Judas Priest at Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture by Paul Windsor
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Along with Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Saxon, Judas Priest are still flying the flag for British heavy metal, packing out venues around the world to a crowd of devoted metalheads.

Back in the ’80s the Guildhall would have been packed with teenagers giddy with excitement, showing off their denim and leather jackets with their latest sew-on patches. These days, the crowd, with 30 years of gig-going experience, hair now slightly grey (or none at all) nod sagely, occasionally pumping their fists, reaffirming that lead singer Rob Halford and his crew still have what it takes to rock the Guildhall to its core, and boy do they do it well.

Dressed rather magnificently in studded leather trousers, jacket and aviator shades, Rob still has an air of menace, though rather worryingly appears at first with a walking stick (he is 64 after all).

However once his pipes are opened to full throttle, the stick is quickly dispensed.

By the third song, he changes into a denim jacket (one of several costume changes tonight) with, not surprisingly ‘METAL GOD’ emblazoned on the back. Although on tour to promote new album Redeemer of Souls, the biggest cheer of the night was when the classic British Steel razor blade logo appeared on the backdrop. True nostalgia is what these metal fans want, and Breaking The Law served up a treat, only to be topped by Halford riding a shiny Harley Davidson onto the stage, dressed in classic Hell’s Angel gear and singing Hell Bent For Leather.