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JUDAS PRIEST, URIAH HEEP In Portland, OR With Photos!

By Ruben Mosqueda, Contibutor
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 @ 8:16 AM

June 22nd At MODA Center

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All Photos By Mike Lewis Photography

Last year JUDAS PRIEST’s 'Firepower Tour' stopped at Veterans Memorial Coliseum with support acts SAXON and the band formerly known as THIN LIZZY, BLACK STAR RIDERS. If PRIEST wasn’t enough, the support acts were just incredible. How can you top that? PRIEST was back in Portland, this time an arms reach away at The MODA Center with direct support by 70s classic rock act URIAH HEEP.

URIAH HEEP hit the stage at 7:30 pm sharp and were confident, tight and unphased by the fact that the arena was only half full. Things filled up ¼ into their set. I’ll be honest, I was only familiar with their Demons & Wizards album and I actually discovered them in 1986 via W.A.S.P. who covered “Easy Livin’” on their Inside The Electric Circus album. Ironically, Ken Hensley, the original keyboardist later performed on the W.A.S.P. album The Headless Children. Ken left the band a while ago and now reps for a gear company, and URIAH HEEP? They go on. Guitarist Mick Box who is the sole remaining member from the classic lineup and they have a new album they’re promoting, Living The Dream, released at the tail end of 2018 via Frontiers Records. The current line-up has been together since 2013 and it showed as they were primed and ready to make a memorable impression on the Portland crowd. Canuck Bernie Shaw does a hell of a job fronting the band, his charisma and enthusiastic performance helped win over the audience. Highlights from the URIAH HEEP set were “Stealin’”, “Easy Livin’”, “Gypsy” and new tunes “Living The Dream”, “Steal Away My Soul”, and “Knocking At My Door”. I cannot say enough about URIAH HEEP, they made the best of their allotted 60 minutes and they maximized their impact on those present.

9:00 pm and the PRIEST was back! Drummer Scott Travis sat back in his kit, smashed drums and did some tricks with his drumsticks. He doesn’t become a distraction, he doesn’t need a cage that does a 360, a roller coaster or any of that nonsense. In fact, there was no drum solo, which was a godsend because in 2019 drum solos are so passe. With Glenn’s absence Travis is doing more background vocals than he’s done in tours past, which makes him even more invaluable to the band.

Andy Sneap looked like he’s settled in as ‘the guy’ that will step in for Glenn Tipton from here forward. Sneap stayed at stage right, making more eye contact with the audience than last year when PRIEST was next door at the Coliseum. Richie Faulkner, who is a ‘dead ringer’ for K.K. Downing, still does a lot of the heavy lifting as far as guitar solos go. He’s earned the respect of the PRIEST fans and hopefully with time, he’ll give Sneap a chance to tackle some of Tipton’s solos. Faulkner has been in PRIEST since 2011 if you can believe that? Rob Halford has been sounding much better on the last two tours and while there’s stuff he can’t replicate like he did on the classic records, the new material sounds relatively spot-on and unlike some of his contemporaries, he’s still able to ‘deliver the goods’. Ian Hill is Ian Hill, he stands in the back, stage right, rocking back and forth like he’s done for decades and which he will continue to do for as long as PRIEST continue to be active.

Halford and Co ‘rested’ “The Hellion/Electric Eye”, “Metal Gods”, “Turbo Lover” and “Painkiller”, which Halford has struggled performing in years past, and “You’ve Got Another Thing Another Thing Comin’” this time around, to make way for “All Guns Blazing”, a deep cut from the Painkiller album, “Starbreaker”, “Steeler”, “Tyrant” and a highlight from the Turbo album, “Out In The Cold”.

You got all the usual suspects along with cuts from the Firepower record, “Necromancer”, “Spectre”, “Traitors Gate” and “No Surrender” along with video footage of a performance on the LED screen of the song featuring Tipton. It got a great reaction from the crowd as Tipton, unlike the 2018 tour, wouldn’t be joining PRIEST for the encore. No matter, it was still a packed house when they returned for the encore which consisted of “Hell Bent For Leather”, “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”. What a night, what a show, what a band.

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Mike Lewis Photography

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