Judas Priest / Michael Shenker's Temple Of Rock

Birmingham’s metal legends prove ageless

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Michael Schenker amply proves his guitar god status tonight, albeit leading his TEMPLE OF ROCK [6] through a rather uneven performance. The best moments are covers of Scorpions’ Rock You Like A Hurricane and Rock Bottom from UFO, but Schenker’s got a lineup that falls short of his standards.

No band understands metal better than JUDAS PRIEST [9]. As the vast curtain covering the front of the stage falls to the soundtrack of War Pigs piped through the PA, they blaze into Dragonaut. From here on in, it’s a glorious ride. Part theatre, part pomp and all power surges, this is 100 minutes’ worth of monumental peaks. The set slaps through the band’s career, taking in such iconic anthems as Metal Gods, Victim Of Changes, Beyond The Realms Of Death and Breaking The Law. They also pull out one or two surprises, such as Desert Plains and The Rage, and also visit more recent times with Redeemer Of Souls and Halls Of Valhalla.

Rob Halford is, as always, the focal point. He moves around the stage like WWE’s The Undertaker but with a rock star’s flamboyance. His voice shows little sign of any wear and tear, repeatedly going full throttle with scarcely a pause. At a time when so many of his peers, even younger vocalists, are having to limit their roar, he blasts on through. His unique character complements the heavy artillery from the musicians, too. Richie Faulkner deserves particular mention and the way he has seamlessly settled in to the band is remarkable, his guitar relationship with Glenn Tipton proving near-telepathic.

Inevitably, Halford rides forth on his motorbike before cruising through set-closer Hell Bent For Leather, but the band waste no time with a prolonged absence, as the hair-raising strains of The Hellion lead into Electric Eye and then an extended rendition of You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, where Faulkner shines in the only solo spot of the night. Yet, while this might have been the end of the first encore, drummer Scott Travis remains behind his kit to unleash the rhythmic roasting that cascades into Painkiller. Even then the band aren’t finished, with Living After Midnight putting the seal on a night where Judas Priest prove yet again they’re not just the best of British steel, but world class.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021