Judas Priest brought metal Monday to Charlotte, North Carolina at the PNC Music Pavilion. 9-13-21




Judas Priest brought metal Monday to Charlotte at the PNC Music Pavilion. The British metal gods brought the Swedish army as their opening act, better known as the power metal band Sabaton. Surprisingly, the PNC Music Pavilion was not even half full for one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world. Only the most loyal Judas Priest and Sabaton fans showed up for the concert. Factors included the concert started late Monday evening and new restrictive Covid protocols.

Swedish power metal band Sabaton opened for the metal gods. The small contingent of Sabaton fans among the Judas Priest crowd was in for a treat. I have seen Sabaton three times, beginning with Wacken and many smaller clubs in Colorado. Fans of European power metal will know the Swedish metallers will give the fans an over-the-top bombastic show with cheesy military battle lyrics. It will get the fans into a fist-pumping, lung-bursting sign along. The only thing missing was the pyro at European Sabaton concerts.

Sabaton consists of founding members Joakim Brodén in his trademark mohawk and bulletproof vest on lead vocals with Pär Sundström on bass. The rest of the Swedish metallers includes the guitarists Chris Rörland and Tommy Johansson. Plus, drummer Hannes Van Dahl behind his armored tank drum riser gave the Charlotte headbangers an incredible show. The guys were all dressed in camo and combat boots with camo guitars. And singing to m-16’s pointed-down mics stands with a combat helmet atop.

The Great Tour started with the classic Ghost Division. The band left the stage and came back wearing World War I gas mask for the next song. Sabaton followed with “Attack of the Dead Men” from their latest album, The Great War. The rapid-paced 12-song set included “The Last Stand,” “The Red Baron,” “Bismarck,” and “Carolus Rex.”

Sabaton followed with a new song, “Steel Commanders.” It’s a collaboration with the online game World of Tanks. They ended the short set with their most popular and well-known hits.  This included “Primo Victoria” and “Swedish Pagans.” They finished with “To Hell and Back.” Their 2014 hit about World War II veteran Audie Murphy.  After the blitzkrieg by Swedish metallers, many of the die-hard Sabaton fans left before Judas Priest played.

Sabaton has put substantial effort into its concert production and appearance to grow its fan base.  They show they are ready and can thrive on arena stages in America.  I’ll be enjoying Sabaton for years to come where ever they play. 



Joakim Brodén – Lead vocals

Pär Sundström – Bass

Chris Rörland – Lead guitars

Hannes Van Dahl – Drums

Tommy Johansson – Lead guitars





1.) Ghost Division

2.) The Attack of the Dead Men

3.) The Last Stand

4.) The Red Baron

5.) Bismarck

6.) Fields of Verdun

7.) Carolus Rex

8.) Steel Commanders

9.) Defence of Moscow (RADIO TAPOK cover)

10.) Primo Victoria

11.) Swedish Pagans

12.) To Hell and Back




Next was what the audience came for, The METAL GODS, Judas Priest.  The Priest lineup has changed several times, but the music hasn’t.  70-year-old Rob Halford continues to sign with his signature high-pitched screams and strong vibrato. And fellow founding member Ian Hill on bass is still the rock of the band. Their 50th Anniversary Celebration Tour brought out some rarities and lived debuts.

It was time for 50 years of metal from Judas Priest. The metal evening began with Black Sabbath’s “War Pig” played to a dark stage. The instrumental “Battle Hymn” followed the live debut of “One Shot at Glory” from the Painkiller album.  The glowing blood-red Judas Priest cross symbol lowered from the arena ceiling to the screaming metal fans in the audience. With the crown screaming “Priest, Priest, Priest…, the band took to the stage. Halford stood with his back to the audience as drummer Scott Travis sat down on his high drum riser. The twin axe attack with Richie Faulkner on stage left and touring guitarist Andy Sneap on the right. Richie Faulkner showed us why he is the perfect replacement for the K. K. Downing. He is the Priest showman with his long blonde locks and flying V guitar. 

Halford saluted the fans with the sign of the horns. Judas Priest followed with“Lightning Strike” and the classic “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin.” It was great to finally hear “Turbo Lover” and “Touch of Evil” played live.  They also included the classic “Rocka Rolla,” which hasn’t been played live since the 70s. Halford and company continue the trip down memory lane with “Victim of Changes,” “Desert Plain,” “Blood Red Skies,” and the live debut of “Invader.” The set ended with a short Scott Travis drum solo and the Halford signature shrieking screaming classic, “Painkiller.”

After a short pause, Priest came back with their biggest hits for the encore. The encore started with a very poignant song for today’s society, the 1982 “Hellion/Electric Eye.” It was followed by Halford riding his Harley onto the stage. Halford sang “Hell Bent for Leather” while seated on the Harley wearing dark sunglasses, his signature 80s vinyl biker cap, and a riding crop in one hand.

The very well-known MTV classic, “Breaking the Law,” continue the encore with the entire audience singing along. A gigantic bull statue with glowing red eyes was rolled onto the stage for the final song. Halford had changed into a classic heavy metal denim coat with various Judas Priest patches.  “Living After Midnight” ended the 50th-Anniversary Tour concert.  The band took a bow while Queen’s “We Are the Champions” played.

Judas Priest brought metal Monday to Charlotte. The Charlotte fans, including myself, sang at the top of our lungs to every Priest song. We head-banged and danced away our worries and pain for just one night. We joined Halford in a liberating scream to end the night.

Judas Priest:

Rob Halford – Lead vocals

Ian Hill – Bass

Scott Travis – Drums

Richie Faulkner – Lead guitar

Andy Sneap – Guitars





1.) Battle Hymn

2.) One Shot at Glory

3.) Lightning Strike

4.) You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

5.) Freewheel Burning

6.) Turbo Lover

7.) Hell Patrol

8.) The Sentinel

9.) A Touch of Evil

10.) Rocka Rolla

11.) Victim of Changes

12.) Desert Plains

13.) Blood Red Skies

14.) Invader

15.) Painkiller


16.) The Hellion

17.) Electric Eye

18.) Hell Bent for Leather

19.) Breaking the Law

20.) Living After Midnight








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