When bands with long history go back out on tour, it’s always something special. Years of music in their back catalogs, fans who’ve followed them since the beginning, and the support those fans provide, singing along at every song, knowing the music note for note. It’s something unique and special. But, when you get two legendary bands on tour together, it’s not only a rare experience, it’s an immensely memorable one. And that is exactly what September 12th at Daily’s Place Amphitheater in Jacksonville became when Deep Purple and Judas Priest performed. I had been looking forward to this show for months and it did not disappoint.
It was a near sold out show and the crowds around the amphitheater were massive with fans wearing their Judas Priest or Deep Purple shirts. A large group of media was there to review the show as well. And it was a brutally hot day. The inside of the amphitheater held all the heat too, making it feel even hotter than it was outside. The fans didn’t care as they knew this was going to be an epic night.
The first band to the stage was The Temperance Movement. The British blues-rock band from Scotland formed in 2011. They released their ‘Pride EP’ in 2012 which landed them performing at Sunflower Jam. The band released their debut self-titled album in 2013 and followed that up with ‘White Bear’, their second album, in 2015. The first single from ‘White Bear’, “Three Bulleits”, reached #18 on the UK charts. The band’s most recent album ‘A Deeper Cut’ was released on February 16, 2018. The album peaked at #6 on the UK charts. The Temperance Movement is Phil Campbell (vocals), Paul Sayer (guitar), Matt White (guitar), Nick Fyffe (bass), and Simon Lea (drums).
They opened up with “Caught In The Middle” from their most recent album. The song has a catchy beat to it and you find yourself singing along once you pick up the chorus. Paul and Matt provide some good riffs to give the song that blues feel. They followed it up with “Only Friend” from their self-titled debut album. This song sounded more blues rock to me than the prior. I loved Phil’s vocals for this song. He seemed to loosen up a lot more performing this song and truly let his vocals rip. The crowd seemed to agree as they were truly getting into their music with this song. Next up was “Three Bulleits” from their second album “White Bear”, another solid song with a great rock sound. The Temperance Movement put on a good performance for the Jacksonville crowd.
Next up was the legendary, heavy metal British band, Judas Priest. Originally formed in 1969 out of Birmingham, UK, it took a few years before they rolled out their debut album ‘Rocka Rolla’ in 1974. The album would be the start of a tremendous career for the band. In the 70s they would release four albums that would spawn amazing singles such as “Sinner” and “Hell Bent for Leather”. But it would be the 1980s where Judas Priest would dominate with 6 studio albums including ‘British Steel’ and releasing the crowd-pleasing singles of “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight”, and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. The 90s provided a shocker with Rob Halford leaving the band to eventually return in 2003. The band continued to rock the 2000s with more studio albums, a VH1 Rock Honors Award, a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, and a 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. And now, the band is touring on their 18th studio album ‘Firepower’. Judas Priest is Rob Halford (vocals), Ian Hill (bass), Scott Travis (drums), Richie Faulkner (guitar), and touring member Andy Sneap (guitar) filling in for Glenn Tipton.
The crowd was on their feet and roared when Judas Priest made their way onto the stage. The band started off into “Firepower” from their latest album and when Rob Halford stepped onto the stage the crowd went ballistic. Personally, this is one of my favorite songs from Judas Priest as it hits hard, has great riffs, and amps you up for more. It’s exactly how their set should have started off. They followed up with “Delivering the Goods” from ‘Killing Machine’. They followed that up with “Sinner”, which really had the crowd engaged and on their feet. Judas Priest was rocking the Daily’s Place Amphitheater and showed no signs of slowing down through their set. Rob sounded great on the vocals, Richie (who gave the crowd tons of poses and thrown guitar picks) and Andy played amazing solos throughout the set, Ian rocked out on his bass, though stayed in the back, and Scott ripped away drumbeats with such precision and speed. The crowd was floored as was I. This is the Judas Priest I prayed and hoped to see that night.
Judas Priest continued their set with a great selection of songs including “Lightning Strike”, “No Surrender”, and “Turbo Lover”. Rob continually engaged the crowd to yell, cheer, and sing along throughout the set. The crowd was on their feet through it all and was singing hard especially towards the end of the set when they played “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. Rob went into the back and came out on a motorcycle on stage for “Hell Bent For Leather” and sang from the motorcycle through most of the song. Rob engaged the crowd to yell out “Painkiller!”, which they did happily as Judas Priest jumped into the song. The band walked off stage afterward only to return for a 3 song killer encore.
The instrumental “The Hellion” was played when the band came back on stage. They started off with “Electric Eye”, which was a nice surprise. Both songs are from the 1983 album ‘Screaming for Vengeance”. They followed with the ever popular “Breaking The Law” from the 1980 album ‘British Steel’. The crowd was loving this live version of the song and Judas Priest was having fun on stage with the crowd interaction. Finally, the band closed their set with “Living After Midnight” also from ‘British Steel’. Once again the crowd was singing along to every note. Judas Priest took their final bow and walked off stage to a huge standing ovation. It was an amazing performance by Judas Priest and I look forward to seeing them again.
Finally, the headliners, Deep Purple, were ready to take the stage. Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the British rock band from Hertford, UK formed in 1968 and became known as one of the most influential bands in hard rock and heavy metal. Some consider them to be pioneers of the heavy metal genre along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Though the band had numerous lineup changes over the years and even an 8-year hiatus, there isn’t anything this band couldn’t accomplish. They’ve released 20 studio albums, which produced multiple #1 albums on various rock charts, along with numerous Gold and Platinum certifications. Their 1972 album ‘Machine Head’ sold over 7 million albums worldwide while over the band has sold over 100 million albums in their career. The band was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. They are currently touring off their 20th studio album ‘Infinite’ released in 2017. Deep Purple is Ian Gillan (vocals), Steve Morse (guitar), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Don Airey (keyboards).
The band walked onstage to a roaring crowd much like Judas Priest. The band was smiling and ready to rock Jacksonville starting off with “Highway Star” from the 1972 album ‘Machine Head’. A 6-minute tune that had the crowd rocking and rolling all the way through. Roger and Steve were having fun on stage sometimes even jamming together. Ian sounded amazing, Don ripped through the keyboard notes with blazing speed, and Ian blew me away with his drum work. Deep Purple came out blazing for the crowd that night. They followed up with “Pictures of Home” also from ‘Machine Head’. The 5-minute song has Don showing off his keyboard skills and Ian with more great drum playing. Roger and Steve even got their own mini instrumentals in the song to show off their skills. Deep Purple was having a lot of fun on stage. They followed that with “Bloodsucker” from ‘Deep Purple in Rock’.
The one thing I love about Deep Purple is their focus to the music. Their songs are inventive, engaging, and more importantly, memorable. And in some cases, they’re also very long. The crowd was grooving through Deep Purple’s performances that also included “Strange Kind of Woman”, “Lazy”, “Knocking at your Back Door”, and “Perfect Strangers”. They closed off their set with the fun-loving “Space Truckin” and then the legendary “Smoke on the Water” both from ‘Machine Head’. The band walked off stage and then came back to encore with “Hush” from their debut album ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ to wrap it up.
Judas Priest and Deep Purple are two legendary bands that cemented their place in music history. Getting to see both touring together was an epic experience of great heavy metal and hard rock with songs that have been blasting over the airwaves for years. Shows like this are once in a lifetime experiences and this is one I won’t ever forget.