During a May 2 Instagram Live session, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was asked to name his favorite venue to play. He responded (see video below): "I don't know. I like small shitholes and I like big arenas, like the Budokan [in Japan], and there are some arenas in America which are famous for football, or soccer, and they've all got their own magic. Some of the best shows I've ever done, the most magic, have been in little sweaty shitholes."
He continued: "I think on the 'Redeemer Of Souls' tour, in Japan, we did the Budokan in Tokyo, and then we oversold it, so we'd done a small theater show on the side — we came back and did that. And it was about three thousand people; the Budokan was around eight, so it was a difference of around five thousand people… I'll tell you what: at the Budokan, a bigger venue, so everyone has to be further back so everyone can see you, so you lose a bit of that connection with the audience, but what you get is the magic of the big arena. When it's a smaller venue, you don't have that distance between [you and] the crowd, so you could hear them — those crazy Japs, they were singing guitar solos. I could hear them singing notes as I was playing them; it was absolutely electric."
Earlier this year, Faulkner said that he had "a ton of ideas" for JUDAS PRIEST's follow-up to "Firepower" album. Released in March 2018, "Firepower" was the second LP to feature the 40-year-old guitarist, who was selected to fill the void left by founding member K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
"Firepower" entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it PRIEST's highest-charting album ever. "Redeemer Of Souls" debuted and peaked at No. 6, while 2008's "Nostradamus" landed at No. 11 and 2005's "Angel Of Retribution" came in at No. 13.
"Firepower" was recorded by British producer Andy Sneap, the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for "Firepower" was created by the Chilean/Italian artist Claudio Bergamin.
JUDAS PRIEST is scheduled to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with a world tour coming to the U.S. in the fall.