In a new interview with Kirby Ray of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri radio station Real Rock 99.3, JUDAS PRIEST drummer Scott Travis spoke about what fans can expect from the band's first pandemic-era tour, the rescheduled "50 Heavy Metal Years" North American trek, which will kick off on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania and conclude on November 5 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
"We have a whole new set designed and the production — meaning the lights and the video screens behind the band, the actual stage set," Scott said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "We have some props we've never used before that are gonna make appearances throughout the show. And so all of that is new, as you have to do with every tour — you have to just come up with all new stuff. It's almost like a wardrobe; you can't wear the same thing twice. So, that's all new. And because JUDAS PRIEST have a 50-year catalog, it's a blessing and it's a curse in the sense that you've got a 50-year catalog, if you will, to choose from, but at the same time you can't do everything. So we are gonna pull out some new old songs — songs that JUDAS PRIEST recorded way back when and either never had played live or if they did play it live, it was literally 40, 45 years ago. So we're doing some of that again. And then playing some newer new songs, if that makes sense. In other words, something off maybe 'Painkiller' we haven't done in a while or 'Firepower' that we haven't done. And an amalgamation of that, along with some classics, and you've got a new JUDAS PRIEST set."
JUDAS PRIEST played its first concert in more than two years on August 15 at the Bloodstock Open Air festival, which took place at Catton Park, Walton-on-Trent, United Kingdom. The British heavy metal legends, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary, were rejoined by guitarist Glenn Tipton for three songs. The band also pulled out a number of surprises in its set, including first-ever performances of "One Shot At Glory" and "Invader", as well as several tracks that hadn't been played in a long time, such as "Rocka Rolla (performed for the first time since 1976), "Exciter" (first time since 2005), "Hell Patrol" (first time since 2009), "A Touch Of Evil" (first time since 2005), "Dissident Aggressor" (first time since 2009) and "Blood Red Skies" (first time since 2012).
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's seven years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of JUDAS PRIEST's latest studio album, "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
As he has done a number of other times over the course of the last three and a half years, Tipton joined PRIEST onstage on Bloodstock for the encore, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
In early April, JUDAS PRIEST's European tour, which was scheduled to kick off in late May, was once again postponed due to "ongoing COVID-19 vaccine issues." The trek will now run from May 27, 2022 in Moscow, Russia until July 31, 2022 in Oberhausen, Germany.