As the summer concert season starts to wind down, Judas Priest and Deep Purple are just starting to warm up. Both bands returned to the Darien Lake Amphitheater Wednesday night to a very dedicated and loud crowd. It had been a long time since either band had played the venue. They both delivered high quality sets that left the fans begging for more.
Judas Priest and their high-powered Firepower tour got the ball rolling with a solid set that featured quite a few songs from their latest release. The album also became the highest charting U.S. release for the band when it peaked at #5. The band kicked things off with “Firepower” and the set also featured “Lightning Strike” another searing track from the album.
The band had a highly successful spring run as headliners that left positive reviews with many critics. The band played a shorter set this time around but still left an indelible mark with many of the 6,000 plus in attendance. So much that after Priest were done the crowd thinned out.
The band dug as far back as Sin After Sin for the classic “Sinner”. While they had to cut a few songs off as they only have 75-minutes on this tour, they also added “Freewheel Burning”, “Desert Plains” and “Rising from The Ruins” which were not played on the spring run of dates.
For those keeping score at home the band currently consists of singer Rob Halford, guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap, drummer Scott Travis and the longest tenured member bassist Ian Hill. Guitarist Glenn Tipton who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease is still in the band but has had a limited role. He has shown up at a few shows on the spring tour as well as this summer tour to play the encore much to the delight of everyone. Unfortunately, the Darien Lake show was not one of those.
If there ever was a song that was the poster child to the term heavy metal then “Painkiller” is it. The heaviest song in the bands artillery was one of the main highlights. “Turbo Lover” went over great with the crowd and was a strong candidate for song of the night. Other songs of note of course was “Hell Bent for Leather” as it featured as always, Halford riding out on stage on his Harley. The band ended with the song that really put them on the map, British Steel’s “Living After Midnight”.
The last time Deep Purple played Darien was 2001. Their most recent visit to town was in 2015 when they played the outdoor stage at Artpark, so you know the Purple faithful were starved for the band. Those that stuck around were treated to a band that has been together without any changes since 2002. This lineup is known as the Mark VIII which is the longest tenured lineup. Singer Ian Gillan is now 73 years old. How this guy can still be out touring at that age let alone sounding as good as he did is quite a testament to him. Joining him were classic Mark II lineup members drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover. Rounding out the band were keyboardist Don Airey and guitarist Steve Morse who at 64, is the baby of the band. Morse has done a great job in trying to not be in Ritchie Blackmore’s shadow. He has implemented his own playing style into the classics giving them a fresh sound.
You would find it a very rare occurrence if the band opened up with anything other than “Highway Star” at least in North America. Not only is it a true classic it is the band’s penultimate opener that really sets the tone for the band’s whole set.
“Uncommon Man” was dedicated to original keyboardist Jon Lord as it is each night. Airey ironically dazzled the crowd with a fine solo which was snugly fit between the two gems from 1984s Perfect Strangers, “Knocking at Your Back Door” and the title cut.
The band ended with their signature song “Smoke on The Water” which has perhaps the most definitive guitar riff in all of rock and roll. They came back out for an encore of the Joe South song “Hush” which the band reached the top 10 with back in 1968.
Both Deep Purple and Judas Priest put on crowd pleasing high-energy sets. It almost seems as if these two bands who have both been around for an extremely long time will be doing this forever. While the reality is that they can’t, they did show any young bands out there today what can be achieved by simply persevering through any bumps in the road. While both bands have had a number of line-up changes over the years for various reasons they were able to find the right guys to carry on their legacies. While on paper these bands may seem a little of an odd pairing, they both are considered innovators and have influenced many others over the years. It was a treat to see that these guys can still bring it even on a hot sweltering night like this and send everyone home with smiles on their faces.
Deep Purple Photos
Judas Priest Photos
Deep Purple Set
Pictures of Home
Strange Kind of Woman
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
Knocking at Your Back Door
Smoke on the Water
Judas Priest Set
Delivering The Goods
Rising From Ruins
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Hell Bent for Leather
Breaking the Law
Living After Midnight
The Final Word
Overall Set List
Deep Purple B
Judas Priest B+
Key Songs Missing
DP- Woman From Tokyo, Child In Time, Anything from House of Blue Light
JP- Heads Are Gonna Roll, Heading Out To The Highway, Electric Eye