JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD Says 'Invincible Shield' Tour Will Leave Fans 'With A Visual Memory Of The Show'

March 6, 2024

In a new interview with Forbes, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the British heavy metal legends' tour in support of their upcoming album, "Invincible Shield". Produced by Live Nation, the trek will kick off on April 18 at Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut, making stops in Reading, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Rosemont, Illinois; Washington, D.C. and more before wrapping up in Syracuse, New York at Empower Federal Credit Union Amphitheater at Lakeview on May 22.

"From day one, I've always felt that you should work really hard to leave your fans with a visual memory of the show," Halford said. "It can be something simple as riding a motorcycle out on the stage, which isn't easy [and] the way the light sets look, the way the stage set is created, the video screens that you use to reinforce certain songs in the visual texture. All of these are part of the world that PRIEST has been making since as long as I can remember. So we have a new stage set that defines all the mantra of what an invincible shield is about. I micromanage everything because I love this band so much and I want to give our fans the absolute best show.

"Don't get me started on the setlist," he continued. "Every album has something strong to say. We did kind of like the heavy metal hits tour with the 50th anniversary. So we're trying to, again, project 'Invincible Shield', but balance it with some deep cuts that we've never done before. You have to stay focused to try and give in the time that you're on stage the broadest set of entertaining, exciting, memorable songs that you can do."

"Invincible Shield" will arrive on March 8 via Sony Music.

Last month, Halford told Metal Pilgrim about the setlist for the European leg of the "Invincible Shield" tour with SAXON and URIAH HEEP, which is scheduled to kick off on March 11 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. He said: "We've had this conversation before as far as trying to put the setlist together. And after 19 studio albums, it's, like, 'Oh my God. Where do we go?' If we didn't play 'Breaking The Law', there'd be a riot. If we didn't play 'Painkiller', there'd be a riot. There are certain songs that you are indebted to your fans to play, because they're part of the fabric of who you are as a band. Without naming names, there are certain bands where you know you wanna hear that song when you go to a show. So there's a portion of the setlist that already writes itself. Having said that, yeah, we are gonna go quite deep, and we found some songs from previous albums that we're gonna work with and we're gonna bring out. So there'll probably be at least two or three deep cuts on this setlist."

Rob continued: "At any given moment, we've got 60 to 70 songs we can play — at any given moment. And then we're gonna add more into the mix. It's fun to see the texts and the e-mails flying through: 'Well, I'll give you this one if you give me that one.' 'Cause you've gotta find a balance. When a band plays on stage, every single bandmember has to agree on the set list. There's no place for, 'Oh, dude, I've gotta play this one.' There's no place for that. You've all gotta be believing in that particular song as you go through the show. And it's gonna be fantastic. And this is gonna be a really eventful tour as we're about to kick off in Europe, with our friends SAXON and URIAH HEEP."

In a recent interview with Remy Maxwell of Audacy Check In, Halford spoke about the first three songs that have been released "Invincible Shield": "Panic Attack", "Trial By Fire" and "Crown Of Horns". He said: "Your first three cuts, your first three tracks of your new album are so important because they have to send the right messages out in terms of connectivity and what are they doing now? What is it gonna sound like? There's then the excitement and the anticipation of your new music. Your fans around the world are just, like, 'What are they doing? I wanna check it out, what's going on.'"

He continued: "I'll tell you what was really cool, because there's that great intro to [the first single] 'Panic Attack', which starts with the almost-'Turbo'-sounding guitars… And I thought, I just know our fans are gonna be listening and [going], 'What the hell is this shit? What are they doing now?' Which is exactly what we wanted to do in terms of getting your attention, getting you focused and ready, because when that song opens up, when those first rhythm riffs start blasting through and then the band is just taking off, we leave the launchpad immediately. And PRIEST fans are going off, 'Thank God for that. Because this is exactly what I wanted.' … The structures, the arrangements, the DNA of that song is full of lots of beautiful metal trails that take this band all the way back to 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' and beyond."

When Maxwell touched upon the fact that none of the first three songs released from "Invincible Shield" sound similar to one another, Halford concurred. "I'm really pleased with the way that we've unleashed these first three tracks, because, again, it just shows you the breadth of the ability of this band to take you to all these different places," he said. "Those three songs are nothing like each other; they're nothing like each other. They're three songs, but when they're connected to the rest of the material, you're getting, again, this beautiful album definition of what PRIEST is doing and representing itself in 2024."

Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

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