Richie Faulkner says that he is open to the idea of staging an audience-less JUDAS PRIEST concert for fans to enjoy via the Internet while the coronavirus has effectively brought the touring industry to a halt.
As the coronavirus lockdown continues to claim more concerts, festivals and sports competitions, fans have expressed concerns about returning to clubs, theaters and stadiums to watch live performances. A recent poll has indicated that 72% of Americans would be reluctant to return to the audiences without a vaccine for the coronavirus. The poll revealed a broad support for the idea of having sports events without audiences — an idea 76% of respondents said that they would endorse fully.
Asked by a fan on Twitter if he had any thoughts on the possibility of PRIEST playing a "stripped down" live show from a club without an audience, to be livestreamed worldwide, Faulkner responded: "I think it's definitely something to think about as we move through this pandemic. The entertainment and sports industries seem to be trying to figure out ways to keep fans onboard and music fresh, entertaining and accessible." The guitarist then tagged Jayne Andrews, who works for the PRIEST management team, and asked: "What do you think".
A short time later, Andrews chimed in: "There are lots of possibilities being discussed but there is nothing so good as a real live show - the atmosphere of seeing your favourite artists there in front of you is second to none - let’s hope it will get back to that in the not too distant future...!"
JUDAS PRIEST's spring/summer 2020 European tour was scheduled to kick off on May 30 in Helsinki, Finland and conclude on July 28 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The band was also slated to headline the U.K's Bloodstock Open Air festival on August 9 at Catton Park, Derbyshire. The U.S. leg of the "50 Heavy Metal Years" tour was due to launch September 9 in Oxon Hill, Maryland and wrap up on October 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During a recent Revolver livestream, PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about how the band's touring plans for 2020 have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic which has been sweeping the globe. He said: "We were planning to get this tour running, weren't we? Like so many bands, we had festivals lined up and our own shows to do. It's all been put on hold. We'll get to them eventually. I don't know what shape or form they're gonna take, how we're gonna rethink this. We need that vaccine, don't we? It's just inconceivable to think of putting 80,000 people at [the] Wacken [Open Air festival] in Germany shoulder to shoulder. We've all gotta keep safe. Life is a precious, precious gift, not just for ourselves but for each other, especially in what we call our heavy metal community.
"As far as PRIEST is going, we're looking at [rescheduling] everything for 2021," he revealed. "[Our management] is working with Live Nation and all the other promoters to try and reshuffle everything, much like all the other bands are going with their people that work for 'em — the management and so forth, agents."
Halford, Faulkner and guitarist Glenn Tipton recently commenced the official songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to "Firepower" album. Released in March 2018, the disc was the second PRIEST LP to feature the 40-year-old Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.