Deep Purple and Judas Priest at Five Point Amphitheater

Deep Purple and Judas Priest, two of Rock N’ Rolls greatest bands whom also helped form the genre of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, stopped at the Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine, CA on Sept. 27. Both bands have several things in common in addition to being pioneers of Hard Rock/ Metal, both groups are British and have two of the greatest front-men in Rock as well as influencing many of the biggest rock bands for the past 40+ years. With a co-headline like this, you get to see two legendary groups in one evening with an hour 15 minute set from each one. One big difference between the two is that Judas Priest has two guitarists while Deep Purple has one and organ/keys are a big part of their sound.

The almighty Judas Priest took the stage at 8 P.M. My first Priest show was seven years ago on the Epitaph tour which was meant to be a farewell tour. Since then I’ve seen Priest four times and they always put on a great show. Just before their Epitaph tour guitarist K.K. Downing who was an original member of the band retired from touring.  Richie Faulkner came in as Downing’s Replacement in 2011. This year another major changed occurred with guitarist Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, however Tipton remains a member of the band and played on select songs on their tour before this one. Filling in for Tipton is Andy Sneap. Fronting the band is none other than the metal God himself Rob Halford. The group's rhythm section is made up of original bassist Ian Hill and drummer of 30 years Scott Travis.

Judas Priest opened up with "Firepower" and played an electrifying set of new songs and classics like “Turbo Lover," "You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” Hell Bent for Leather,” and “Painkiller.” Even without Downing and Tipton, Judas Priest keeps their sound as Faulkner and Sneap fit in very well. The show wouldn’t be complete without Halford pulling out on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle which he did on “Freewheel Burning.” Judas Priest played an encore of “Electric Eye,” “Breaking the Law,” and “Living After Midnight.” In case anyone was wondering if Halford can still scream and hit the high notes, yes, he can.

Deep Purple closed the show starting with one of their biggest hits “Highway Star.” Deep Purple has also had its share of personnel changes over the years. Since 2001 Deep Purple has kept three members of their classic line up with Ian Gillan (Lead Vocals), Roger Glover (Bass), and Ian Paice (Drums) with Keyboardist Don Airey (Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow) who took over for Jon Lord 17 years ago and Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse who replaced Richie Blackmore 24 years ago. Deep Purple’s set was full of classics like “Lazy,” “Space Truckin,” and “Smoke on the Water.” For a hard rock band that’s been around 50 years, it’s quite remarkable not only how great they sound but the intensity they play with.  Their set also featured an incredible solo from Airey. Deep Purple ended the night with “Hush.”

I’ve seen Deep Purple four times in the past eight years and it’s always a great rock show. Two years ago Deep Purple received a very long overdue induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and back in 1975 they held the title of the world’s loudest band among selling over 100 million albums worldwide. Just like Priest, Deep Purple only has one original member in the band.

This 25-date tour ended last night (Sept. 30) at the Toyota Amphitheater in Wheatland, CA.

Judas Priest Setlist:

1.      Firepower

2.      Delivering The Goods

3.      Sinner

4.      Lighting Strike

5.      Desert Plains

6.      No Surrender

7.      Turbo Lover

8.      Rising from Ruins

9.      Freewheel Burning

10.   You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

11.   Hell Bent For Leather

12.   Painkiller


13.   Electric Eye

14.   Breaking The Law

15.   Living After Midnight

Deep Purple setlist:

1.      Highway Star

2.      Pictures of Home

3.      Bloodsucker

4.      Strange Kind of Woman

5.      Sometimes I feel Like Screaming

6.      Uncommon Man

7.      Lazy

8.      Knocking at Your Back Door

9.      Don Airey Keyboard Solo

10.   Perfect Strangers

11.   Space Truckin’

12.   Smoke On The Water


13.   Hush