Judas Priest’s Invincible Shield Rocks Armory’s World


Deja Vu struck Minneapolis on Thursday – Judas Priest brought their good Swedish buddies Sabaton with them for a return visit to the Armory that heavy metal lovers surely attended in 2021. Priest is currently touring on their brand new – and excellent – album Invincible Shield, so what better time to bring the war-themed power metallers along for yet another joyride of heavy metal mayhem?

Sabaton opened up the night in typical bombastic fashion. The Swedes have been to Minnesota 3 times in the last 3 years, so they are certainly no strangers to playing to the crowd around here (chiefly – calling to our nordic roots and maybe a nod or two of more viking oriented cuts). Frontman Joakim Brodén delights in this type of pageantry and – as always – effortlessly used it to his advantage, somehow becoming an even larger stage presence than the makeshift tank they bring with them every time they cross the Atlantic to decimate North American audiences. Being the seasoned pros they are at putting on a mesmerizing show, it’s no surprise that their hour of balladry and excellence flew by in what seemed like only a handful of minutes.

Judas Priest’s enormous banner dropped, and there they were, the iconic legends ready to throw down just one more time. Yet it feels like each show from Priest – who could absolutely phone it in after 5 decades and no one would really blame them – is instilled with a vitality that can only come from truly caring that each and every performance is one that fans will cherish and remember for a long time. 

That energy is demonstrated with each and every member, with Richie Faulker literally screaming at the ceiling as he lets his guitar roar for the solo for Panic Attack, the first track off their newest album and an insanely high octane way to open the show. Rob Halford is still giving it his all, letting out piercing shrieks during every song he can, but especially during initial set closer Painkiller. Tourist guitarist Andy Sneap is snarling and throwing his head back, cackling with aplomb as he rips through pummeling rhythm sections. Scott Travis’ gleeful demand to tell the crowd what song they want to hear before crushing the drum intro to Painkiller – it’s just so transparent that this group is having a hell of a time – and that translates directly to the crowd having a hell of a time too.

Priest gave Minneapolis a solid hour and a half, closing out an encore with Hellion, Electric Eye, and ending the night with a rendition of Queen’s We are the Champions. Interspersed throughout were some heartfelt and genuinely touching speeches by Halford, who made it a point to drive home how much Judas Priest would be nothing without its fans, and even humorously referred to Iron Maiden as a “young band”. The charisma on display, the musicianship, the floating cross in the sky production – there’s nothing quite like a Judas Priest show still, and likely there won’t be for some time.