Rob Halford spoke to "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie, about JUDAS PRIEST's 50th anniversary, which the band is expected to commemorate next year with a special tour. Asked what feelings of nostalgia come with that sort of celebration, Rob said (hear audio below): "It's just full of wonderful memories right from those very early days, particularly here in the United States.
"When PRIEST first came out here in the mid-to-late '70s, it was a dream come true for a British heavy metal band like PRIEST," he continued. "And I dare say it's the same for any band that comes to America. America is still this great melting pot of music that musicians strive to visit and to establish themselves and get a foothold and a fanbase. So, yeah, those early days with PRIEST, coming over here and opening up for FOGHAT and MOLLY HATCHET, 38 SPECIAL — just great memories there alone. That wonderful moment that we had opening for [LED] ZEPPELIN at 'Day On The Green' in the Bay Area, which was quite a game changer for PRIEST on the West Coast of America. Full of wonderful memories. And we live with that.
"As we're about to go back to a lot of these wonderful places in America on this upcoming third and final 'Firepower' leg, when you get to a city like Los Angeles or Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Seattle, New York City, Portland — man, it seems like PRIEST played at just about every place in the United States, because when we first came out here, we would play for months and months and months at a time," Rob added. "We wanted to spread the gospel of PRIEST through all four corners of the great United States of America. So that's what we do now. That's why it takes us three legs to get to so many places. Every city that we come into, as I'm looking out the bus window and I see the profile of the downtown, or whatever, it has a memory or a relevance and it's just something that you cherish and you're grateful to metal maniacs for keeping it alive and so strong."
JUDAS PRIEST kicked off its North American tour with URIAH HEEP Friday night (May 3) at Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood, Florida. Several tracks were aired for the very first time, including three songs from PRIEST's latest album, 2018's "Firepower": "Necromancer", "Spectre" and "Traitors Gate". Also making its live debut was "(Take These) Chains", from 1982's "Screaming For Vengeance". "All Guns Blazing", from 1990's "Painkiller", was performed live for the first time in nearly 18 years. Elsewhere, "Out In The Cold", from 1986's "Turbo", was dusted off after 33 years.
Guitarist Glenn Tipton, who is not touring with PRIEST due to his battle with Parkinson's disease, rejoined his bandmates for the two-song encore, consisting of "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".