Judas Priest turns 50. The British group is coming to Quebec with a tour where they pick up the essentials and even their very first album released in 1974.
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A few hours before going on stage in Nashville on March 23, singer Rob Halford is relaxed and talkative.
“The tour is amazing, fantastic and absolutely sensational. It’s a great joy and a great honor to still be here and celebrate 50 years of heavy metal. We feel a huge sense of pride. It’s jubilant, ”launched the 70-year-old high priest of this musical genre.
For Halford, the amateurs who are at the rendezvous allow the formation from Birmingham to be still alive.
“We have the best fans in the world. This is what allows the blood to circulate in the veins of Judas Priest, ”he pointed out, during an interview via the Zoom platform.
Halford clarifies that Judas Priest never sits on his laurels.
“We work hard. There are no other ways to succeed. We only accept what is best. It’s all about the quality of the music and the albums. It has to be good,” he explained.
The singer indicates that the choice of songs, with 18 albums on the clock, was not easy to make for this anniversary tour which will stop Sunday at the Videotron Center, and Monday at Place Bell, in Laval.
“It’s like going to a big French restaurant and wanting to eat everything on the menu. Everyone had ideas and we put that in a hat. We tried to do our best and focus on albums, decades, to be dynamic and to unfold in the right way. It goes from Rock Rolla to Firepowerand it works,” he said.
We can see, on YouTube, a clip where the formation interprets this piece in the studios of the BBC in 1972.
“We wrote that when we started and it still works in 2022. Rock Rolla is a great example of a song that made a connection between fans and the band,” the singer said.
The Scrapbook British steellaunched in the spring of 1980, on which we find the Break the law, Living after midnight, metal gods, Crusher and Unitedallowed the formation to establish itself and make its place.
“We had given a lot of shows and traveled millions of kilometres. It was the fruit of ten years of work. We then sailed from album to album, from tour to tour and from show to show. You have to put effort and energy into it. It takes variety and you also have to take risks, be adventurous and give yourself challenges. I believe, and I’m not saying this to brag, that we have this ability to be able to reach people, ”he said.
The singer returns to this funny idea, which was abandoned, to go on tour with a single guitarist. Fans reacted negatively.
“It was stupid. I don’t know how anyone thought that could be a good idea. We’re going to put it down to old age and a two-minute madness, ”he laughed.
One last album
After this tour, which will end in the summer of 2023, Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Glenn Tipton, Richie Hawkins and Scott Travis will enter the studio to complete the 19and training album.
“We will then launch the album and go back on the road. This opus will be good, strong, powerful and metal. We didn’t expect Firepower to be so well received and we have to build on that,” he said.
Rob Halford is aware, at 70, that the clock is a bit against him. Judas Priest’s next album could be the last.
“Age doesn’t matter. It’s more the physical that is difficult. I’m not 20 anymore. It’s frustrating for me as a singer. Everyone is very consistent, but my voice, sometimes, does not always want to collaborate. Fans know I’m doing the best I can. It’s not easy, ”he admitted, very humbly, a few minutes before tea time.
Rob Halford admits living a short moment of nervousness before starting the final cry of victim of change.
“Hopefully, at that point, I’m going to be able to find the note and make the note and something is going to come out of my vocal cords,” he said.
The American formation Queensrÿche, without singer Geoff Tate, will perform as the opening act for Judas Priest.