For most, the anticipation of ‘retirement’ evokes the impulse to one day adorn ourselves with the many splendors which this world has to offer. A typical bucket list most surely alludes to a distant destination, acquiring that spiffy sportster or simply kissing goodbye the idea of having to kiss your boss’s @!# to secure that rewarding minimum-wage job. On the other hand, leaving behind a career that gave birth to not only financial independence, but a lavish lifestyle alongside national notoriety, could leave without doubt a bittersweet after-taste.
For the last 40 years the members of Judas Priest have awoken each morning to the rock & roll dream. Along with gathering the many trappings that one might think are associated with their fame and success, comes the significance in earning their position as possibly one of the most definitive and influential heavy-metal bands of all time. Known for their over-the-top black leather and studded garb, their twin-guitar sound combined with piercing high operatic vocals, created an unparalleled musical style.
Now, it seems as though fans will be paying their last respects to the Birmingham, England quintet as they descend upon the globe’s many stages belting out one final battle cry. Aptly billed the “Epitaph Tour”, Priest have made the inevitable decision to wrap up their career on a high note – literally. With Rob Halford’s piercing vocals still intact, both he and band mates Ian Hill, Glen Tipton, Scott Travis and newest guitar-slinger Richie Faulkner, have chosen this one final salute to be not an unpleasant goodbye, but a tribute to the band’s many accomplishments along the way.
With their departure announced in late 2010, the band would go on to shock fans with more disturbing news in 2011. Co-founder and illustrious guitarist K. K. Downing declared his resignation after citing personal differences with the band and management as his reason for not joining this final and momentous outing. With fans somewhat puzzled by this abrupt decision at such a significant time, Priest concluded that despite being handed Downing’s notice, they would nevertheless give fans a fitting commemoration for their loyalty.
In a Splash Magazines Worldwide interview, we spoke with bassist and co-founder of Judas Priest, Ian Hill, who commented on the band`s future. He stated, “It’ll be more of a slowing down process than a full stop. We will continue to play. There will be a collection of a few dates here and a few dates there with time off in between. I think it will be beneficial to the band in the long run. It will extend the playing life of the band”.
With the “Epitaph Tour” arriving at Detroit`s Joe Louis Arena, fans were treated to an amazing bill of not only the evening`s headliner, but as well classic rock veterans Thin Lizzy and the notorious Zakk Wylde`s Black Label Society. Upon first site one could see that their fan base was present in the venue as all seats were equally occupied throughout the night.
With the two bands more than energizing the crowd, Judas Priest arrived on stage to a thunderous ovation. Showcasing a memorable catalogue of hits spanning from their 1974 release ``Rocka Rolla`` to 2008’s ``Nostradamus``, music and stage-show-spectacle oozed with creative lighting, lasers, chain-laden backdrops and enough leather to make any heard of cattle want to run for cover. A spectacle for both eyes and ears, the two and a half hour show put an exclamation mark at the end of a career-spanning statement declaring themselves as music’s true “metal gods”. And though the band may soon pound out their final power-chord, if you think you’ve seen the last of Judas Priest “you’ve got another thing comin’”.