If I dig into my past music and what bands first caught my attention, I would always come up with some of the popular pioneers of Heavy Metal. Among the mix of artists, Judas Priest stands proudly at the top. I recall getting the ‘Sin After Sin’ album for a birthday gift one year (many moons ago) and was immediately hooked. That same birthday, I also received the album ‘Machine Head’ by Classic Rock legends Deep Purple. Needless to say, the two albums were played repeatedly and are ingrained in many fond memories. As a photographer, there is an immediate thrill and sense of nostalgia when I have the opportunity to cover my favorite performers. I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw Judas Priest and Deep Purple were on a dual headline tour together and that there would be a performance at Treasure Island Resort.
When I arrived at the Resort, I found a host of fans wearing their best denim and leather. There was even a pleasant surprise to see some traditional pre-show tailgating which immediately took me back to the 70s, and 80s where tailgating at concerts was a common occurrence. In today’s world this practice just simply doesn’t happen anymore resulting in the ritual of tailgating before a concert being a unique site to see. Overall, it was seeming that the night was going to be a great one. As the evening’s performance was moved to the indoor Event Center due to approaching bad weather, you could see a clear path of black shirts heading towards the Center’s doors.
At 7pm the crowd filed into to the SOLD OUT Event Center, most could be seen grabbing a beer (or two) and even some band merchandise. The venue filled quickly and in no time it was time for Judas Priest to take control of the stage … and control it they did! Judas Priest did not let anyone down with their set featuring the best stage and lighting production I’ve ever seen in addition to sounding phenomenal. You wouldn’t even know Judas Priest has been writing music and performing live for almost 45 years. As the years go by, musicians usually hit a peak in their performance resulting in an eventual downward movement (we are only human after all), yet Judas Priest goes against this norm managing to still continue to perform and perform beyond expectations. Due to their hard-hitting instrumentals and soaring vocal parts, it is not a surprise Judas Priest is still pushing on during a time where older musical acts are hanging up the capes for good. An overall amazing and fulfilling show Judas Priest kept it real and stuck to what they do best, playing heavy metal, pulling off the iconic leather outfits even in their age, and making it a night to remember for fans. Judas Priest also recently released a new album, titled ‘Firepower’, this past year. ‘Firepower’ truly showcases the group’s extensive musical history while still keeping it fresh, yet mirroring their original sound. Their live performance felt just like this. A mirroring of old-school Priest while still being fresh and new.
You would think Judas Priest would have been the headliner of the night with their new album, but no one could forget the equally iconic Deep Purple. Even though it seemed that much of the crowd were there for Judas Priest, this did not stop Deep Purple from hitting the stage with everything they had which resulted in an amazing live set. Deep Purple blew up during the same era of iconic British hard rock and heavy metal as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and many others, yet still managed to separate themselves from the rest due to a unique blend of progressive rock and heavy metal. You could without a doubt see the life-long dedication in the fans for the band that night. It’s no surprise that at one point Deep Purple held the Guinness World Record for the world’s loudest band. Deep Purple clearly showed the packed venue that they are true veterans of the music world. Performing songs from every era of the band, Deep Purple put on an unforgettable set. It makes sense why the band continues to have an impact on every generation of music fans.