Epitaph World Tour Diary
25/02/2012Epitaph World Tour....Singapore
Finally we flew to Singapore. Having never played or been there before we didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be an amazing city. The buildings are incredible. We had a day off and went to the air show then ended up having tea at ‘’Raffles’’. Being Monsoon season it rains everyday but like Florida only for a while and then it clears up. The show was our last before returning home and people came not just from Singapore but from Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand and even Australia. It was outdoors and really humid but the perfect show to end the Asia tour.
24/02/2012Epitaph World Tour....Japan
Masa Ito,Yuichi Nakanishi and Tadao Nonaka. at the Zepp club
Next we flew to Japan. Since the early days Japan has been one of our favourite countries to play. The fans have always been so supportive of the band and it’s always good to see our old friends including Masa Ito. He has a fantastic memory and remembers stories of many things that we did there over 30 years ago.
We started off in Fukuoka and then Yokohama, Kobe ,Hiroshima, Aichi and finally the Zepp club and Budokan in Tokyo. Its difficult to single out the best show we had a great time every night, but the Budokan is always special.
Many of the fans have followed the band faithfully for years and we have got to know them. Because we travel mostly by Bullet Train we come into contact personally with them at the stations but they are never a problem and always so polite if they want autographs or photos. Unleashed in the East was one of our best live albums and it felt like we were back in time we really love Japan and the Japanese people.
23/02/2012Epitaph World Tour....Seoul Korea
Started off the Asian leg in Seoul Korea. We have only played in Korea once before but they love their Metal over there and went crazy. As I’ve said many times its amazing how popular Metal is all over the world. Had chance to have a little look around and get a feel for the city. Everyone’s so friendly it was great to play there again.
04/12/2011Epitaph World Tour....Biloxi
And Finally we played our last show for this year at the Hard Rock casino in Biloxi. It wasn't a large venue but sold out and we like the more intimate shows where you really feel the audience is there on stage with you and you are there in amongst the audience all together. It was a fitting way for Priest to end 2011.
Since we began the Epitaph tour in June we have either played in or passed through 34 countries. Its been fantastic, emotional and heart warming. The audiences have been phenomenal and bought out the best in the band. Robs vocals have not only stood up (and sometimes we have done 6 shows in 7 days), but I think he's sung better than ever. Ian and Scott have as always shown they are one of the best rhythm sections in Metal and as for Richie , we still can't believe what he's achieved in such a short time. We are going to take a break now until February and then off to the far east and Japan and after that we go back to parts of Europe, Russia and the Ukraine. After that who knows!!. Nothing left to say except thanks to everyone and HAVE A VERY METAL XMAS..Glenn..
03/12/2011Epitaph World Tour....Tampa and Miami
© Michele Jones
Down in Florida now and played Tampa first. It was a good show but really cold on stage, didn't stop everyone from having a good time though and the flames soon warmed things up!!.
Drove down to Miami next through Alligator Alley. I love florida. I love the tropical feel in the wind and the Everglades, which is full of wildlife. I did have a house here once but after one too many hurricane scares decided to sell it. Saw an old friend of mine Peter (Mars) Cowling. He's a great bass player and was in one of the first bands I was in ''The Flying Hatband''. We usually go out fishing as he has a boat but the sea was too rough this time. Good to see him, we go back a long way!.
Really enjoyed the Miami show but have to apologise to the audience. There was a strict curfew which we didn't know about and when we were about to go back on for the last encore, ''Living after Midnight'' the house lights came on and we couldn't do it. Really sorry everyone its a shame because Zakk was going to come on and join in.
Theres a few people on the crew who still need a mention. One is Patrick Harris our Merchandise guy who works hard selling our Epitaph 'T' shirts etc. Then the band bus drivers Tommy Gregorio and Mike Smith. The crew were driven round by Marcus Parks and Luke Vanwhye and then all our trucks by Jamey Fairchild, Steve Aeschumann, Brian (Cowboy) Sumner, Kyle Bartholomew, David Ringo and Curtis Heald. They have done a fantastic job driving thousands of miles and getting us and the equipment to every gig safely through thick and thin and ice and snow. Thanks men !!
30/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Reading and Winston
© Michele Jones
Played Reading and Winston Salem next and although not massive gigs the rapore between the band and the audience at both shows was special. Sometimes you really connect with an audience and it brings out more energy in the show and every one feeds off it. Reading and Winston were both like that and a fitting end before flying down to the south and Tampa Florida.
Only three more shows and we're going home !!. Everyones looking forward to a break. The crew are tired after one of the longest legs we have done and they need a rest. To cheer them up we took everyone out to eat in Florida and invited Zakk and the Black label guys and crew to come along as well (The Thin Lizzy boys weren't in town!!) and Starlight and her mom. It was a good night lots to eat and drink and good conversation and plenty of stories to laugh about. All ready now for the last three. Its been a long haul but every second onstage has made it worth while.
30/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Support Acts
We have had Lady Starlight Dj'ing in between acts and she's great. She plays all metal and really keeps the audience up. She's a real character and may do the next European leg.
Judas Priest would like to say a big Thank You to Lady Starlight!!..
30/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Glenns Rig
Current rig and equip on Epitaph tour
ENGL 642 Invader 100 head plus spares
ENGL Pro 4x 12's cabs with Celestion Gplds and vintage 30's
Furman PL-2 Power distribution
VooDoo Labs Pedal Power AC
VooDoo Labs Pedal Power ISO-5
Mike Hill Single Loop switcher
DBX 166a Comp Limiter
Yamaha SPX 90
Dunlop CR-2 Rack Wah
Pedal board and rack
Yamaha MFC05 Midi Switcher
Mike Hill solo boost switch
Rack Wah control pedal
Hamer GT's and custom Phantoms with
EMG 81's and EMG GTX custom wound pickups
Custom signature Gibson SG
Ernie Ball strings and picks
25/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Canada
© Michele Jones
Canada again next and drove through a blizzard on the way up there but no mishaps and arrived safely. We played three shows,Toronto, Quebec and Montreal, all brilliant audiences. We couldn't use the flames in Canada because of venue restrictions, which was a shame but no one seemed to notice and we all had a good time.
We started the tour in June in Holland and since then we have played all over Europe, South, Central, North America and Canada. in that time as you can imagine we've been through quite a few climate changes. Sometimes its difficult to know what clothes to take, T shirts or sweaters and a warm coat !. We usually end up having to buy clothes to match the weather !.
22/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Lowell
Played Lowell just before leaving on an overnighter to Canada. We had some monitors go down early on but as always the crew fixed things and we got through the show no problem. Just found out Brian from Thin Lizzy is a fisherman like me and as I go to Ireland regularly to fish may have to hook up with him at some point. Went and had a chat to Zakk and the Black Label guys, their bus is always open house and they are great company. We told and heard many stories mainly about Ozzy before hitting the road. I said it before but Black Label and Lizzy are both great bands with great songs and great musicians. They are all real nice guys including their crew. Everyone gets along and that makes for the perfect tour !.
21/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Omar Franchi
Time to now mention our rigger Omar Franchi. He's far too good looking. Italian and when he talks with his Italian accent women swoon at his feet. Its all for nothing though cause he's totally in love with his girl !!. Rigging is one of the key elements to a Judas Priest show and not only important on a sound and lighting level but also when you have tons of gantry's, truss's and lights above you they have to be hung correctly. Its a job with lots of responsibility and Omars one of the best in the business.
20/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Johnstown
© Michele Jones
Great drive to Johnstown through some real American farmland. Johnstown has the steepest funicular (inclined railway ) in the world at 70.9 % incline and was built after a catastrophic flood in 1889 as a means of escape from future floods. Its a nice area and although it was a smaller venue the audience made up for it with their vocal volume !.
There were some huge guys in the audience (you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of !), anyway we had a great time in Johnstown and then did an overnighter on the tour bus to Lowell.
18/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Tom Horton
One of the strengths of a Priest show are the lights. They are a major part of the production and our lighting designer Tom Horton is responsible for them and the back projections. Tom has been with us for years. The thing about Tom is that he's never satisfied and never stops working on things and improving them. A lot of what you see at a Priest show is all down to Tom, he does a magnificent job. Im sure he would pass on some praise to the rest of the lighting team and techs. Cliff Sharpling, Tom Bider, Chrisjen Shaeffer and Jason Fugitt.
18/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Rochester, New York
© Michele Jones
Its a sign we are heading to New York, the Rochester crowd had almighty lungs and used them well on wednesday at the Armory as we close in on the New York show this Friday. We have played nearly everywhere in our time throughout New York, but got banned from Madison square gardens after a concert where the audience got carried away and ripped the seat cushions out of the chairs. It was like a snow storm of cushions during the encores. It looked great but cost us quite a lot of money and a lifetime ban !.
We did sneak back in though a while after to watch John Mc enroe play a tennis match there. We thought we wouldn't get noticed in hoodies but one of the ushers came up, winked and thanked us for the new seats.
We didn't get banned from Meadowlands though and the audience were on fire friday night. Thanks New York !!
17/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Sam Risbridger
One of the most important roles in our crew is wardrobe and our wardrobe guy is Sam Risbridger. Sam leads us to and from the dressing rooms and works hard to keep us all content and looking good on stage. He has to deal with critical costume changes for Rob and get all our clothes dry and clean after each show. He has to make sure the dressing rooms equipped properly and every things laid out correctly, take care of alterations or stage clothes repairs. He also looks after the food and booze room, guest and warm up rooms and organises after show meals. Basically he has to keep us temperamental old bastards happy !!. Difficult job. Oh yes and he mans Robs ''Cave'' on stage during the show. Sam deserves a medal particularly for dealing with our stage leathers after the show!!!.
17/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Sean (Stig) Tighe
Sean (Stig) Tighe
And finaly just to prove how hard our crew work here's one exhausted Sean (Stig) Tighe. Stig`s our assistant product assistant (does a great job and deserves a nap every now and then!!
16/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Scott Travis
As for Scott his thunderous ability and talent drives the band every night .His intro to painkiller is still so distinctive and never fails to bring. a mighty roar from the crowd.
16/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Detroit and Cleveland
© Michele Jones
And now Detroit (Motor City), always been a stronghold for Heavy Metal fans and they never let us down. We played the Joe Louis arena and all had a great time. Audience singing along to verses choruses and even some lead breaks.
Cleveland, (home of the Rock n Roll hall of fame) was next and the audience showed why, a tremendous reaction. Maybe there should be a ''Metal hall of Fame'' and we might be in it then !!.
15/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....St Charles and Hammond
© Michele Jones
Next off, St Charles and Hammond, both good crowds only trouble was Hammond (chicago) was an over 21 age restriction and even though it sold out and the audience was fantastic, I prefer concerts without age restrictions.
We get so many young people at our shows now it seems such a shame to deprive them of seeing Priest for what will be our last world tour. There is talk of a second US leg though so alls not lost.
15/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Ian Hill
Just a word about Ian now. Ian is sometimes overlooked because he stays in place on stage but he's solid as a rock and such an underestimated player .In the studio as well he comes up with some great bass lines and really helps define the Priest sound.
14/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Springfield
Springfield next and now a few words about our '' unsung heroes'' and the bits the audience don't see while the shows going on !. (Please see items below).
This is just a part of the behind the scenes, personnel and areas that make the Priest show work. Theres more to come including, Robs cave !!, Wardrobe, rigging and all the lights that make this Epitaph tour one of our best ever ! (not to mention the bus and truck drivers).
Springfield rocked and mainly due to all these guys !
13/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Brian
Brain & Tater
Brian ready to trouble shoot and sound problems ,Tater at the monitor desk and Rob's P.A, Thomas Pearce also on auto cue.
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - John Goss
Scott & John Goss
Scotts drum tech John Goss behind Scotts giant kit.
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - AJ
Andrew Seabeck - AJ
Andrew (AJ) Seabeck at his desk wearing strange goggles !---AJ's our laser guy and operates all the lasers throughout the show .Spectacular !
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Adrian Vines
Richie also has a guitar hideout going for him over his side of the stage manned by his guitar Tech Adrian Vines
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - James Boles
James the Flames
James (The Flames) Boles. James does all the special effects and sets off all the flames during the show, (would you let this man near you with fire!!) he's not as scary as he looks and does a great job.
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Unsung Heroes - Jude
Jude who I've mentioned before doing an impression of the moon (but we can't leave him out of the unsung hero's) he is the unsung hero. He's officially set carpenter but does many other things backstage. some you don't want to see !
10/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Back Stage - Glenns Guitar Hideout
Weasel and Martin
Here is the hideout where Ian and I do all our guitar changes and have a quick drink during songs .You can see Martin Herbert and Weasel waiting for us to enter
09/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Cincinnati
Martin at sound desk
Played Cincinnati next. We get a lot of reports on how good the out front sound is and a lot of its down to our PA crew, but also our out front sound man, Martin Walker. Martin is also our production manager (The Boss). He has done our sound for years and also recorded a lot of our live shows as well. We have absolute faith in him and he justifies it every night.
Martin makes the whole thing work including all tour pre production, budgets and organising set designs etc. We have a lot to thank him for !. Cincinnati sounded great.
08/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Denver
Flew to Denver next and theres some real dedicated fans there. Rob is singing better than ever . Every night. I 'm amazed at the quality and range his voice still has and he gets everyone singing along to all the favourites like, ''Breakin the Law'' and all the encores. Good night had by all !.
Had a day off in Denver so Jim our tour manager rented a car and we drove up through the mountains to Boulder, but stopped off at Central City the original Gold rush Mining town. It burned down around 1874 and was rebuilt in brick, many original buildings are still there. Its nearly all casinos now but you can imagine what it was like in the old days. Plenty of gun fights, bowie fights and just fights in general !. Its cold in the winter too. Those guys were tough and earned their money !.
We stopped off at a visitor centre where it told you what to do in case of a bear attack, "FIGHT BACK". Same advice for a mountain lion. Fortunately we never came across any but did see a bobcat.
Now about Jim Silvia. Jim's been our security guy and tour manager for thirty years, we love him dearly and he's also our activity manager and arranges interesting things to do and trips for those who want to go. He's led an interesting life and been in the military, served in the Police force and worked for the secret service, but had never been in the music business until he worked for us. Suddenly he found his Destiny !!. Don,t know what we'd do without him !.
He's worked for other big bands when were off the road but always been there when we need him. Heres a photo of him in a strange hat. We Love Jim !!
05/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Salt Lake City
Kevin "Tater" Mcarthy
Drove through Montana and Idaho to get to Salt Lake City. We travelled through some nice mountain sections, but it was a long drive so I settled down with a book and took a nap in the bunk for a while. I don't think we have played Salt Lake for five years and it was great to be back. We met some old friends that we've known from the early days and their families, all beautiful people, only downside is beer's only 2% !.
Anyway time to mention Tater he's our main monitor guy and has been with us for years. He's a great sound guy and we have total trust in him. Monitors are so important and can make or break a show. With so many different mixes on stage (some have in ears others have monitors), its so crucial and Tater does a great job.
Our other sound guys (PA Techs) are Simon Kemp, Gareth Lewis and Brian Thorene. Brian stepped in for quite a while as our motor guy when Tater wasn't available and did a fantastic job. He also hits a good golf ball !!.
03/11/2011Epitaph World Tour....Canada
© Michele Jones
The next three dates were in Canada and we started off in Vancouver. Its a beautiful city and has always provided a great crowd for the band and this was no exception. We played at Roger's Arena. From Vancouver we travelled on the tour bus for two days through the Rockies to Edmonton and stopped off in Banff on the way, where we stayed in a massive hotel'', Banff springs Fairmont''. There was hardly any other guests, as it was Halloween. It was a bit bit spooky and felt like ''the overlook'' in ''the shining''. Down in the main town street though it was all going on and everyone was dressed up. There was some amazing costumes including an 8 foot robot like in the movie ''Terminator''. He came up to the bus and looked pretty scary. The views are incredible around Banff and we got up early had some breakfast and had a look round and took a few photos of the snow capped mountains.
The next two shows were Edmonton and Calgary, both good shows where we met some really nice people. The Canadians are really friendly and we always enjoy being there !. Next stop Salt lake city, so its back over the border into the US.
30/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....San Francisco and Seattle
San Francisco always brings back great memories of days we'd play The Cow Palace or even earlier small clubs. Its always been a wonderful city and audience. We played The Sleep Train pavilion this time and had a great time. There's so much to do around the Bay area, Sausalito's a great little place just over the Golden Gate bridge, the rock balancers stack up stones off the beach that seem to defy gravity. If you go further North you can visit the giant Redwood Forest , but just to look at or visit Alcatraz is intriguing, to think of so many notorious prisoners such as Al Capone and walk into their cells or the mess hall is a weird feeling. They could all see the mainland but many new they would never be able to set foot on it again. Haight and Ashbury road still retains some of the old sixties feel. We only had one day off so we didn't have time to do a lot, but went down to the Wharf and had some Dungeness crab. Oh yes and we were woken up by a small earthquake at 5.30 in the morning!!
Finally before going to Canada we played Seattle. It was sold out and a fantastic night. Started to notice a temperature change in the weather now where heading north. Might be time to get a warm coat!.
26/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....San Bernardino, Vegas and Bakersfield
© Michele Jones
Went back to California next and played San Bernardino, great crowd and again quite emotional when we took the final bow. Nice to see Kerry King and a lot of other friends turn up and make it a great Epitaph night!.
Next show was Vegas with a day off as well!. Played ''The Joint'' at the Hard Rock. Vegas is always a mad Metal crowd and it was a great night. I watched both Lizzy and Black Label and realised even more what great songs and what great musicians all these guys are and enjoyed every minute of the show
Had a day off next and it was perfect. Drove out to Lake Mead to do some wake boarding. Its amazing, fresh water just the right temperature and like ski ing on the moon, the terrain is so baron but beautiful. We then drove back and saw the Beatles ''Love'' Cirque Du Soleil, not to be missed and if your a Beatles fan like me the combination of the production and music is mind blowing. I could have watched it again straight away, theres so much going on that you miss a lot of it first time, finished the night off with a couple of Guinness's in the Irish Pub and then a massive prime rib. Finally I actually won at blackjack in the Casino, all round a good day !!
Bakersfield was next and very special, It was my birthday and Rob got the audience to all sing ''happy birthday'', (bought a tear to my eye ! ). It was a really nice gesture and meant a lot to me. I had a birthday ''guitar cake'' from the band and crew and a card with some funny comments. The card started with the Star wars theme and said ''a long long time ago you were born !, bit cruel but fair.
22/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....Tucson, Chula Vista and Phoenix
Rob working the crowd
Played Tucson next and had a day off so went out to the Pima air museum just outside of town. Its got some incredible planes there, ranging from some monsters to the smallest plane to ever fly ''The Bumble Bee", its got such a great selection of every kind of plane.
Ian flies and so does Jim Silvia our tour manager so Richie and I went along as well to have a look. I've got a lot of respect for pilots especially test pilots that take jets up for the first time. I can fly model planes though !! (badly), what a rush it must be flying one of the "Blackbirds " that travel at almost a mile a second, fearsome. Its also got a plane graveyard that goes on for miles called "The Boneyard".
On the show day drove into the heart of the desert. It was hot and saw a lot of Cacti, a lot !!. Went on to Chula Vista next, Our first California show. We travelled through an amazing boulder Canyon, (never seen so many boulders in my life ). Then the next day went back to play Phoenix. We had to play a shorter set there because of time restrictions, but the shows all went well and no mishaps!. i Saw an old friend in Phoenix, Mickey Treadwell. We started out together right from the early days, he's been over here now for years has an American Brummy accent, unique!. Danny Zelisko the promoter we've worked with for years rocked out in the pit right through the show. Had some good times with Danny.
17/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....Texas
Paul "Bomber" Jackson
The Texas shows were great. San Antonio was where it all started for us. Years ago a DJ called Joe Anthony really took to Priest and helped us with so much air play that it really kick started the band in the US. In our first ever US tour we did six weeks in Texas alone and ever since then we have always loved returning.
This time we played San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston and Allen (Dallas). I think it was the Corpus Christi show I ran on stage and tripped over Ian's Bass pedals (why do you always try and save the guitar instead of yourself !) bit sore next day but got away with it !!
We have Zakk and the Black Label boys with us and Thin Lizzy all through the US leg. Zakk (as Richie puts it ) ''is 'the real thing'', one of the great guitar players with a great band. I love them cause their riffs are so heavy, but still great songs.
Scott and the Thin Lizzy guys also have such a great selection of songs. They are playing so well and Ricky Warwick's doing a great job on the vocals. It all makes for a mammoth night of Rock and Metal.
We have as I've said many times before have the best crew in the world and I'm trying to feature everyone of them as the tour proceeds so now a quick word about Paul'' Bomber ''Jackson our Stage Manager-----Bomber's a true Scott and can drink anyone under the table (only on days off I add) he's our expert on Irish pubs (or any pubs ) and can find them in any town in the world--- here's a picture of him with his new hair style !!
12/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....Jimmy Fallon show
© Michele Jones
We were supposed to get a week off after the Mexico show, but had the chance to do the Jimmy Fallon show, so by the time we added a few days press etc we didn't get much time left.
It was fun doing Jimmy Fallon though. He's a nice guy and big Priest fan so we pounded out ''Another thing Coming ''and'' Breaking the Law'', a bit nerve racking doing live TV but these guys have it together and it sounded pretty good. After that we only had two days left before our first Texas show so got a couple of bikes and cycled round the Hamptons to keep fit !. We saw a lot of pumpkins and grape vines, oh yes and a few big houses !!
11/10/2011Epitaph World Tour....Mexico
© Michele Jones
Mexico City was a fantastic audience, well over 20,000 fans of all ages and probably one of the loudest so far. When a crowd gets behind you like that, it energizes the band to new heights and we had such a great time on stage. I know this is our last world tour but when you come off stage with such a great atmosphere you wonder if you can ever give it up. It's in our blood!!
If you ever visit Mexico City you should try and visit the pyramids just outside of town. They were covered in soil and grass and forgotten for centuries and only discovered when excavating for a railway line. They uncovered a whole City. Going back thousands of years the people had built incredible things. They had created water pressure by the design of the gutters and had hot and cold running water. There's one particular place where you stand that if you clap you hands the echo emulates the call of a local bird. It's a fascinating place and I'll never forget when I climbed one pyramid, there were two black butterflies continually flying around the very top. Funny thing is when Richie went this time he saw exactly the same thing. Strange !!
30/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Venezuela and Costa Rica
photographer: Ritchie Faulkner
We have never played Venezuela or Costa Rica before, so it was exciting for us to perform in both countries. We played Caracas in Venezuela and San Jose in Costa Rica. There were so many fans at the airports to meet the band. Its always difficult to meet and sign autographs for everyone, its impossible. They have waited so long for the band to come to their country and been so patient and loyal that we do try and sign as many as we can, they deserve it!!
In Costa Rica there were fans from everywhere in Central America, including Panama and Nicaragua, many had camped out for days to get tickets. We took time out to visit the Volcanic park in San Jose which was smoking up in the thunder clouds, pretty awesome. We then stopped at an amazing bar looking over the valley and had a few beers on the way back. We finished the day off by losing a few pound's in the casino!! All in all it was a great experience to play both countries and made us realise how many other countries we still need to play including places like Peru!!
27/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Columbia
© Michele Jones
Arrived in Bogota on the 24th of September. We have only been to Columbia once before and although it has a reputation for being a little unsafe, we have always found everyone to be friendly and helpful in every way.
We stayed in a downtown hotel this time. On our last visit we stayed at a hotel in a compound surrounded by forest. It was a great place with an amazing pool etc, but a bit like Jurassic Park. I was woken up in the night by something very big moving around outside my french windows, which were open. I shot out of bed and managed to slam them shut quickly and suddenly there were very deep grunting noises and the sound of trees snapping. I've no idea what it was, I love wild life but not in my room when its that big!!
The kids in Columbia don't get as many bands pass through as they should and it was great to give them a Priest / Whitesnake concert, they really showed their appreciation. lovely people!!
24/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Chile
© Michele Jones
So back to the shows and we played Santiago Arena. As everywhere in South America the audience love to get involved and that's exactly what they did! That's what a Priest shows all about.
It still surprises me how many young kids are at the shows and into Priest and Heavy Metal .It really does unite people all over the world of all ages and that's what's so great about it. Chile makes great wine as well!!
23/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Fishing in Chile
Moved on to Chile. Its a great country, which stretches down the west coast of South America. We had a day off, so I decided to do some fishing up in the Andes. Its early spring in Chile and I got a local guide, Francisco Bruna Vial to take me. Almost a two hour drive in his truck to a trout lake.
We passed through great little villages following the valleys. Finally we weaved up a very narrow track with shear drops everywhere, but it was a beautiful spot when we arrived, very high up ,and surrounded by snow capped mountains. Part of the lake was frozen over but there was still plenty of open water to cast into and I managed to catch four trout, which we returned.
It was a great day and we saw two Condors and a eagle, which came very close and seemed interested in what we were doing. Fishing is all about getting out there and escaping plus making friends around the world and Francisco and I had some great conversation catching fish in a very beautiful place.
We stopped at a secluded farm house on the way back that nestles in the river valley and the farmer showed us round. It was a magical place, he kept Llamas , wild boar and goats. Its a simple existence but you could tell he was so content with his life and animals because he really does have everything he needs around him!
22/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Argentina
Martin doing Rob impression
On to Argentina and Buenos Aires. We had three days there with a show at the Racing stadium on the 18th Sept. Buenos Aires has a great feel, which is almost European but in its own way. In the older parts of the city there are the Tango bars which are incredible. Usually small little bars where you can go and watch authentic Tango dancers perform in traditional style amongst the tables. There doesn't seem to be room for them to dance but they glide elegantly amongst the people (and its normally jam packed). The dancers are usually older men and women, dressed immaculately. The dancing and music is unique and like Spanish Flamenco leaves you totally inspired.
Again got to mention the food and in one restaurant the meat was so tender they cut it with a spoon!
Talking of food its time to mention Martin Herbert our bass / key tech. Martin is also our Egon Ronay expert for curry houses of the world and as we originate from Birmingham we are partial to a good hot curry.
Martin is the man to ask and he's never made a bad recommendation. These are his top three Indian restaurants so far on the tour, and quite surprising!
1/ Karishma Bucharest 7th July. What a surprise. Real Indian food behind the Iron Curtain. Absolutely excellent. ***** (let him park his bike in the courtyard as well!).
2/ Taj Mahal Milan 21st June. Another surprise especially being in Italy. **** (but really tasty and freshly made).
3/ Bilash Wolverhampton. 21st July. Used to be the best but has gone down hill a bit but still good and get's in on past reputation. *** (Live in hope that the old chef comes back).
Anyway back to Buenos Aires and once again we have to thank the south American fans, they sang along with everything and sang their hearts out. Fantastic night and no Motor cycle incidents, although its the first time I've seen Rob ride out on a yellow Harley!!
Oh and yes Argentina have a great football team as well, as England know to their expense!!
16/09/2011Epitaph World Tour....Brazil
© Michele Jones
Brazil was fantastic. The Brazilian people are so nice and the kids are so enthusiastic about their music that its always a joy to be back over here. Great also to have Whitesnake back with us again. They are a great band, great guys and the combination of Priest and Whitesnake music makes a great night of rock and metal for everyone.
Started off in Sao Paulo. Its a massive city and when you fly in it seems to go on forever. There was over twenty thousand fans at Anhembi Arena and boy do they know how to make themselves heard.
Moved up the coast to Rio de Janeiro next. I'll never forget the first time we played South America and played Rock in Rio. It was an incredible experience in every way. The people, the place, the event and I admit I got a bit carried away the night before the show and may have had a bit too much to drink. I hadn't quite recovered fully when we went on stage and its the only time I've ever been sick during a show. Seeing footage of it now you'd never know how I felt and once the adrenaline kicked in it ended up being a wonderful show. (I did stop drinking for 6 months after that though!).
This time, even though we have just had a three week lay off I think the Rio crowd pulled one of the best performances out of us on the tour so far. A fantastic night.
Traveled to Belo Horizonte next and we had to go to one of the famous Brazilian restaurants where they come and carve all different cuts of meat at the table. (you have a disk that's red one side and green on the other). Green means more meat and red means that you want a rest!. and its all supplemented by and incredible buffet.
Obviously not for any vegetarians but If you eat meat there's no better place in the world for beef than Brazil and Argentina. Watched a massive bat flying around when we came out and it came for us a few times so we legged it back to the hotel and had a good sleep ready for the show next day.
As in Europe the audience reaction in Brazil could not have been better. When we take the final bow its quite emotional and Belo Horizonte was no exception.
Most people tend to think Rio is the capital of Brazil but its not its Brazilia and that's where we headed for our last show. Rob had a near miss. When he drove the bike on stage the brakes failed and it fell over. Miraculously he managed to partially control it, missed my pedal board and although he fell, the bike didn't injure him. Otherwise the tour could have been cut short. True to form though he righted it and we finished Hell Bent for Leather and the final encores without any problems.
Brazil is an amazing country and the fans were so enthusiastic. They also, as we well know have got a great football team!!
On to Argentina next !
12/08/2011Epitaph World Tour....Poland and Hungary
© Michele Jones
Finally reached the last two shows of the European leg, Katowice and Budapest. Both shows went well and the Polish fans and the Hungarian fans were fantastic. Through the years both countries have suffered and not always had that many bands pass through so their enthusiasm was great to see.
We had two of the best reactions on the whole tour. It was a real high to end this section on and we would like to say a big thank you to all our fans in both countries for making it so. Thanks Poland --Thanks Hungary. Now for a well earned break before South America !!
10/08/2011Epitaph World Tour....Berlin, Germany
© Michele Jones
Berlin is a special city. We played there many times, years ago when the wall was up and the people were crazy, they still are !!. it was a great night and the city still lived up to its reputation.
We had some time in the day so we went over to the Zoo. I have a big interest in animals and wildlife and especially loved the ape house, all the animals looked happy and well cared for, so I enjoyed the day and of course the show at night was a great Berlin night of Metal. last show in Germany off to Poland next.
09/08/2011Epitaph World Tour....Colmar Wine Festival, France
© Michele Jones
We had a day off in Strasbourg. Great old city and had chance to look around. There's the most amazing astronomical clock in the Gothic Cathedral and torture towers and bridges dotted around the town. Wasn't too pleasant in the old Medieval days.You didn't have to do much wrong to get some nasty things done to you!!. Great place though full of history and is built around canals and rivers and has its own character which is a mixture of German and French but parts of it look almost Dutch as well.
Drove to Colmar the next day and played the Wine festival. Everyone was in great spirits and that always makes for a great show!. It was nice to see Sepultura again. i haven't seen them for a while. We had a chat and they have just done their album with Roy Z. Roy`s great to work with, he did Angel of Retribution with us. Roy really gets what your trying to do, anyway good to see them again, those guys come up with some real Heavy riffs.
Left just after the show and did an overnight to Berlin. Have one more day off then three in a row before a break then South America!!
07/08/2011Epitaph World Tour....Wacken Festival, Germany
Wacken Festival was a real occasion with 75,000 metal maniacs. I v'e often said it but Metal is so underestimated as one of the most popular forms of music. We go to remote corners of the planet and thousands of kids turn up and all have one thing in common, Heavy Metal.
Thats what Wacken is all about, its become one of the main Metal events and you can't help but get caught up in the momentum. It was awesome.
It was nice to have a chat with Ulrich Roth after the show. He's a great guitar player and we reminisced about the old days and some mutual friends. (he also does a great Brummie accent for a German!!).
An audience can fire you up and the Wacken audience did just that big time.
04/08/2011Epitaph World Tour....Spain
And now to Spain. We started in Coruna and were joined by Motor Head and Saxon, what a great bill. We all go back a long way and have played together many times.
Biff and the boys are what Metals all about, great riffs and great playing and theres nothing you can say about Motor Head that hasn't been said. Lemmy's a legend and we've downed a lot of drinks together over the years.
We got together with all the crew again in a small restaurant for a ''band meal'' and scoffed Parma ham, baked peppers, Octopus, steak, chicken and Spanish sea food. Our crew really are the best guys. I sat by Weasel my guitar tech and although I've said it before i really don't know what I'd do without him. He's a gem, great to be back in Spain. I lived partly in Spain for over 20 years, so I always feel at home when we play.
Madrid was sold out and a fantastic night. Drove to and played in Bilbao next and then finally Barcelona. I Stayed on La Ramblas and was a bit more careful this time as I had my wallet stolen there last time. It was my own fault and it was actually given back to me 10 minutes later, (minus the cash), which was nice.
I think Barcelona's a great city and love being there. I really cant say enough about our Spanish fans they are some of the best in the world. Every show and every reaction was heartwarming. As I mentioned it was a great bill and everyone had the time of their lives. Its what Metals all about !!
29/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Portugal
© Michele Jones
It was really nice to return to Portugal, the fans at the Lisbon show really showed their appreciation. Portugal is suffering financially so we know the kids struggle to pay for tickets and shirts but they were all there supporting the band and what's amazing is how many younger kids are turning up now. Its almost like a brand new generation has discovered Priest and of course we have all the older faithful fans that have been with us through all the many years.
The massive support that we've enjoyed especially in countries like Portugal under difficult times is something we'll never forget.
25/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Bournemouth
© Michele Jones
Next night we played Bournemouth. It was a much smaller show than High Voltage, but no less exciting. I've never really known which I prefer the bigger festival type shows or a smaller more personal show. When you see Priest in a small venue the power is incredible and Bournemouth was like that. Great night to end the British leg of the tour !
24/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....High Voltage Festival, London
© Michele Jones
The High Voltage festival in London, Victoria Park was a very special night and the show was filmed for a TV special with Slash supporting. Everyone and their brothers were at the show so pressure on again.
We had one funny incident when me and Richie had to abort the start to''Victim of Changes'' as I had knocked my top E string a mile out in the number before. Anyway I just retuned on stage and we started again. First time in nearly 40 years but thats rock and roll for ya and on a Priest set with flame throwers, bikes and explosions going off its easy to do.
We started the show in the dusk, but by the 5th number it was dark and as the production kicked in the atmosphere was electric, over twenty thousand Metal fans fueled us up. Big thank you again London !
23/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Civic, what can i say!!, its really our home gig being so close to Birmingham and of course we played our hearts out. The audience were fantastic and having all our friends and relations there was again quite emotional. If ever you get nervous its when you play close to home but it was an amazing night when we really felt as one with the audience and we fed off the atmosphere.
If ever there was any doubt before that Metal came from the Midlands there's not now thanks to all those loyal metal fans that sang their hearts out for us. A massive thank you from us all..
21/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Newcastle
Played Newcastle Arena next and I'll never forget the time that we were heading up there in a Blizzard in mid winter. I was driving and because we were late I was probably pushing it a bit under difficult conditions and we skidded into the barrier and wrote off the band car.
Miraculously no one was hurt and a guy in a Land Rover stopped and gave us a lift. I think he'd had some sheep in the back cause we smelt pretty bad by the time we got to Newcastle city hall, he did get us there though and saved the day.
Fortunately, this time we got there without mishap. Metal Jordies rule!!
20/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Glasgow
I love Scotland, spent many weeks up there fishing and have some great friends both on the rivers and off. So it was great to be back there amongst the Scots in Glasgow.
I'll always remember Glasgow Apollo. The stage was at least 12 feet high, but the fans could still catapult themselves up in the air and land on there. It looked impossible but they always seemed to manage it somehow. Great night followed by haggis after the show!
18/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Doncaster
Doncaster was a night to remember, with a great crowd, but I'll remember it also for the drive back. My sat nav got me horribly lost on the way home and in the end I had no idea where I was and drove through village after deserted village.
I eventually found my way but it was way past 4 in the morning before I got to sleep, should have been on the tour bus. Our bus is a sanctuary where you can watch a movie, hook up on the internet or climb in your bunk and sleep and that's what I needed after three shows in a row. Going to join the bus in Glasgow though, cant wait!
17/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Manchester
Moved north to Manchester Apollo next, its one of my favorite gigs and has a pub at the rear literally attached to the venue. Everybody hits the bar first before the show and its so packed that they all spill out into the street, needless to say that starts the night off well and it can only get better, and it always does.
As we opened we had a few problems with the front scrim which didn't drop down properly, but our set guy Jude Aflalo rushed out and collected it up. He's a big guy and only wears shorts even in mid winter so i think he scared the wits out of the front row!. They soon forgot though as we thundered into ''Rapid Fire'' and the monumental ''Metal gods". As I said I love Manchester Apollo!
16/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Newport
First leg of the European tour completed and it was incredible for us, both on and off stage. We are now back doing the British dates, chance to have a bacon and egg sandwich, fish and chips or a Sunday roast beef lunch, even on Monday !
Good to have the Queensryche lads back with us and Rival Sons supporting. Started off in Newport and boy can those Welsh sing. What a great night!
09/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Turkey
© Michele Jones
Istanbul is a fantastic place, we spent a lot of time walking around by the old town, where there are markets and stalls and you can barter for trinkets and jewellery or watch people go in the cafes and smoke communal hooker pipes or play back gammon.
What's fascinating is its multi racial and everyone gets along together regardless of race or religion. We even had fans at the show from Iran. I've said many times how popular and underestimated metal is and how it brings people together from all parts of the world in unison enjoying music together. There was no better example than at the Epitaph show on Sunday where everyone joined in and enjoyed a night of pure Heavy Metal !!
08/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Bulgaria
© Michele Jones
We have been out about a month now and have found a groove. The band are playing well and the production has really come together. We are all relaxed, with less pressure and really enjoying the shows.
The Sofia concert in Bulgaria had White Snake, Mike and the Mechanics, Saxon and even Slade playing so it was quite a mixed bag, but an incredible night.
The most amazing thing is that amongst our fans, there are so many young kids singing along with the chorus's and even lead sections. Its a joy to behold !!
07/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Greece
© Michele Jones
We did two dates in Greece, one in Athens and one in Thessaloniki. The audiences were fantastic, it really is rewarding for the band to get such a reception and the end of the night and means so much to us all.
We had a day by the sea with some of the White Snake guys and our crew, a large amount of alcohol was consumed. The crews vision got so blurred that they were sniffing around something topless on the beach, which turned out to be a transvestite, lucky escape there then !!. Never mind everyone had a good day and we were all ready to get back on stage and play Priest style Heavy Metal.
We haven't played Greece as much as other parts of Europe so it really was nice to be back again.
05/07/2011Epitaph World Tour....Serbia and Romania
It was very special playing Belgrade in Serbia. We have never played there before. We were scheduled to last time we were out, but were forced to cancel because I had to return to England and get treated for a stomach problem. This time we didn't cancel and the atmosphere was magical. The crowd were electric and bought the best out of us. It was really a night to remember!!
We left Belgrade for Bucharest in Romania and drove through the night. The concert is an out door festival and I'll never forget our laser's tracing the most amazing shapes on the Palace walls. It made a great statement for freedom and metal and will always be an incredible memory. This could have been one of the best shows so far, mainly due to a great audience and great fans!
30/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Austria
Played Vienna last night. We love Austria. It was a a great show and once again I've got to praise the crew. For several tours now we have had the same crew with the addition of a few new guys operating the stage flames etc and its like a family.
Every single one of them plays a major role in the show and they start the load in at seven in the morning and sometimes don't finish load out till two in the morning. We just go on stage and play the songs but the crew, behind the scenes, are the ones that make the show spectacular. They are all good friends and I don't know what we would do without them!
29/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Munich and Prague
Munich was a great gig, the only trouble was it was one of the hottest shows on stage that we've ever done. I found myself almost passing out at one point and had to pace myself until it passed. Thats the first time i can ever remember that happening. I managed to get through the song, just about, then recovered, but between us we must have sweat a few gallons!. Leather's not the best fabric to wear in those conditions, the crowd must have been so hot as well but they were overwhelming in the encores and drove us on.
We all needed plenty of time to cool down in the dressing room afterwards, but it was ok because we got to listen to a Priest tribute band playing outside, they were quite good!.
With a complex production like Priest things can go wrong on stage and often do, its no ones fault and no one watching really notices, but every now and then everything comes together, the sound, the lights, the effects, the monitors and it all reflects in the overall performance. The Prague concert, (one of my favourite city's in Europe) was one of those nights when everything went right.
We've got a great crew and have so much to thank them for, we work hard but they work harder !
26/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Switzerland and Belgium
photographer: OMAR FRANCHI
The sonisphere concert in Switzerland is a great atmosphere, its an indoor festival and everyone was in great spirits. It was good to be back on the tour bus and the drive to Switzerland past all the lakes was stunning. Belgium next!..
We've played Graspop in Belgium before, its a great metal and rock occasion. Ozzy was due to play, but had to cancel, as he had a sore throat, so we headlined and were able to play the longer set.
It was great to see Zakk Wylde and the Black Label guys, they are playing with us in the States and we are all really looking forward to it.
Richies just getting better and better, his end solo in another thing coming shreds!.
Overnighter again but thats ok, heading for Munich and no doubt will be eating wild boar and drinking large jugs of beer tonight with the crew as we have a night off!..
23/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Milan
photographer: OMAR FRANCHI
Had a day off in Milan and went to Cathedral square, I still cant quite grasp how humans manage to construct such gigantic and intricate structures, the size, detail and the skill needed to sculptor and build something so vast is mind blowing.
Bumped into the crew next so we were forced to drink a large quantity of beer with them in the square, (well it was a day off !).
Again a big thank you to the fans at the show they were great. The Italian fans also love their metal and it was good to see Whitesnake again. We have worked together many times and they are going to be with us in September in South America, they are a great band and good friends.
Heading for Switzerland next..
22/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Denmark and France
© Michele Jones
The Copenhell festival in Denmark rocked out. We weren't scheduled to go on till midnight and its a long day for the fans but they stayed with us right till the end. Korn played with us, I hadn't seen them since I took my son to see them a few years ago at Manchester Appollo, where they surprised me by playing some of Solar angels!
The French dates were fantastic, for various reasons beyond our control we haven't played in France as much as we 'd liked to over the last few years and the crowd at both shows showed just how much they appreciated JP.
The first date was the Hellfest with Ozzy, outside of Nantes. We stayed in Angers which was about 70K away and went round the Castle and Catherdral. Its a great old town with a lot of history.
Le Zenith in Paris has always been a favorite venue of mine, the atmosphere was electric. Loaded supported us and it was quite emotional again, so many people had banners thanking the band for the music through the years. It really means so much to us.
We picked our tour bus up in France and were all relieved, no one really likes airports with all the security and hassles and even though we left Paris on an overnight trip to Milan we were happy to climb in our own bunks at last.
16/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Tampere, Oslo and Bergen
© Geir Amundsen
The last three shows have been fantastic. We played Tampere in Finland on Saturday. Its a great town that's on a lake and everyone sits on the grass by the river in the town center.
The town has a wonderful atmosphere and this time of year never gets dark so it was almost like a broad daylight show. The fact that it was light meant we had very little production, which made no difference to the audience, who sang along with us all the way. Great town great people.
Played two shows in Norway at Oslo and Bergen. We are really fond of Norway. We first came nearly forty years ago and did a winter tour.
It was the first time the band had played in Europe and it was very cold but we realised even then that Norway loves its metal.
Oslo was indoors and we had our full production. Bergen is a beautiful harbor town. It was another outdoor show and the sun was low but blinding and the first time I think I've ever had to wear sun glasses on stage!
Its always great to be back in Norway. We have some great memories and friends from over the years.
10/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....Sweden Rock Festival
© Geir Amundsen
We headlined the Swedish Rock Festival on Thursday to 30,000 fans i believe. It`s become a major metal event.
Just our second show into the tour and although one of our rear trusses nearly collapsed and I had a few technical problems in a couple of songs the band played so well, it was fantastic to be back there.
The Swedish fans love their metal and really know how to enjoy it. Rob rode the bike right out into the audience on the extended stage. We were a bit worried as it was wet but he pulled it off without injury and the crowd loved it.
The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits and everyone was with us all the way ---- Thank you Sweden we love you !
08/06/2011Epitaph World Tour....First Night
© Geir Amundsen
We played our first show last night in Tilburg, Holland. Although it was quite a small warm up show it was just as important to us as the big shows to come and it was jam packed.
The audience was fantastic and it was an amazing debut for Richie. I still cant believe the way he captures the essence of the solos but does it in his own way. He really is quite special !
It was great to be on stage again. The set list works well. We are, as we said doing a song from every album and being the farewell tour we have obviously included all the favorites, which we selected from all the feedback on our website, but songs like "Never satisfied", "Blood Red skies", "Starbreaker" and "Nightcrawler" also got such a great reaction and we have made some arrangement changes in other songs which worked out too.
All in all it was a great night for the band and I'd like to say a massive thank you to our fans it was quite emotional and great to be back especially as it looked unlikely for a time.
06/06/2011Epitaph World Tour
© Geir Amundsen
We have just finished production rehearsals for our Epitaph World Tour, the show looks great, bikes, lasers, flames you name it we've got it.
But as always the most important thing is the music and the set list contains all the old favorites combined with songs we haven't played before live, such as "Blood Red Skies" and "Never Satisfied" and also earlier songs including "Starbreaker" and "Night Crawler".
In addition we changed the arrangement of some songs slightly, including :Diamonds and Rust" and "Hell Bent for Leather", which i`m sure every one will enjoy.
Our first show is in Holland on June 7th at Tilburg, the band is really excited and cant wait to get back on stage. I will post regular bulletins from now and as the tour gets underway keep every body up to date on our progress.