Posted on by Oran

Billed as the Metal Masters Tour, there was no question that this was going to be a very special evening indeed. Considering the sheer power of both Priest and Saxons latest albums, the capacity of Dublin’s 3Arena were ready and willing to experience a masterclass from the NWOBHM pioneers!

Due to the chaos of the Dublin rush hour, I was unable to catch the mighty Uriah Heep but heard great reports from punters who praised their thunder riffing with bangers such as ‘Rainbow Demon,’ and ‘Easy Livin‘.

The energy in the venue was very much electric as British Metal legends Saxon took to the giant stage with the energy of a band half their vintage. Biff was in fine form, as he poked and prodded the audience with his captivating stage presence.

With some of the other dates on this run, being fully seated, there was no shortage of rowdy good fun coming from the boisterous Irish crowd who sang their hearts out, much to the delight of Brian Tatler (Diamond Head) who ripped out solo after solo under a warm glow of stage lights.

The huge stacks of Marshalls that provided their landscape only solidified the bands intensity, not to mention the crystal clear (and super loud) mix. We were treated to a solid gold setlist which included, ‘Madame Gullotine‘, ‘Power and Glory‘, the majestic ‘Crusader‘, ‘Wheels of Steel‘, ‘Denim and Leather‘, and ‘Princess of the Night‘ (among others) all executed with enough power to launch a missile. Fantastic stuff indeed and what a way to warm up the crowd for the Gods of Metal, Judas Priest.

With a very simple stage set-up, and the impressive trident hanging at an angel in the 3Arena rafters, Judas Priest burst onto the stage in a flurry of colour and spectacular noise. ‘Panic Attack‘ launches the band into orbit as they rip through a stunning set of metal anthems that had the entire venue in a frenzy!

What followed was a dream selection of classics in the form of ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin‘,  and ‘Breaking The Law‘. A bold move indeed. The party continued with a hail of razor sharp guitar work from both Faulkner and Sneap, who dazzled the Irish crowd with monolithic tracks from the bands fifty-plus years.

Halford is in fine spirits tonight as he stalks the stage goading the crowd in his own unique way, all the while, gracefully lining up the next track and delivering some of the most powerful vocals I’ve heard him do in a long time.

The strength and success of the new album, ‘Invincible Shield‘ is evident with tonights crowd as they sing their hearts out to the new material, which included the live debut of ‘Crown of Horns‘. As if we weren’t treated to enough of a killer setlist, Priest dug deep into the archives and pulled off a electrifying performance of, ‘You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise‘.

Throw in ‘Painkiller‘ and encore, ‘Electric Eye‘, ‘Hell Bent for Leather‘ and ‘Livin’ After Midnight‘ and you’ve got yourself one hell of a show! Outstanding show from all bands and who knows, this may be the last time we’ll see them back on Irish shores.

A night to remember for a long time coming.

Oran O’Beirne

Photos  – Abigaël Paquet, exclusively for © 2024.