As misspent youth becomes forgotten and hazier with age, there's something rather bittersweet about the passing of the torch from one era of heavy-metal fans to another. The generation that grew up — and threw up — in Heavy Metal Parking Lot now wears Dockers and watches doppelgangers of themselves on VH1 Classic: the genial, soft-bellied men of That Metal Show, forever passionately arguing over who was the best singer for Black Sabbath not named Ozzy or Dio.
Even older than their fans, the British stalwarts Judas Priest have been plying their trade since the early '70s. That may or may not be coming to an end soon, however. The band is pitching this current tour as their "farewell" one. Already gone from the band's repertoire: any semblance of a new album, for one; guitarist K.K. Downing, who's sitting out this tour, for another (Richie Faulkner is Downing's replacement). But that is indeed still chrome-domed screamer Rob Halford on the mic, still hitting every piercing high note, aided and abetted by his wardrobe of eye-wateringly tight leather.
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Opening is the newest lineup of the venerable Thin Lizzy, with Ricky Warwick of Scottish biker-metallers The Almighty singing the lyrics of the late, great Phil Lynott. And happily there to receive the torch, being the youngest band of the lineup, is Zakk Wylde's band of fake Hells Angels, Black Label Society.