With only a couple of days to go before the first of the rescheduled HALFORD West Coast dates is due to take place, former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford has yet to receive the required paperwork needed in order to enable him to re-enter the country from his native U.K., where he has been since early December.
Halford's personal manager John Baxter has released the following update on Rob's visa status:
"Rob's Visa, as previously disclosed, was approved on January 9, 2003. Subsequently, the U.S. Embassy in London scheduled Rob and his U.K. Immigration Attorney for appointment on January 14th re: the issuance of his Visa.
"However, during the meeting, Rob was told the U.S. Homeland Security had enacted new rules on January 1, 2003 - requiring additional information / paperwork for Visa Petitioners.
"You can imagine how we felt upon hearing that news.
"Rob completed the newly required documents, and those were sent for review to Washington D.C. - per the new guidelines.
"Last Wednesday, January 22nd, we were informed Rob was cleared by the Homeland Security to receive his Visa.
"We were also informed that a confirmation document had been sent 'via mail' from D.C. back to London, and we learned that the Visa could not be issued until the confirmation document was received by the London Embassy.
"As of this morning, the London Embassy had not received the document, but we remain hopeful it will arrive on Thursday or Friday — still plenty of time for Rob to arrive into Las Vegas.
"I know some of you will consider posting some heavy thoughts re: this matter. However, we request that each person please refrain from doing so. We have many individuals assisting Rob, including a Senior U.S. Senator, and they deserve our respect as they work on Rob's matter.
"I'll update all on Thursday, and if necessary on Friday, so each of you can make / adjust your plans accordingly.
"We extend our apologies to each of you that have planned to attend this weekend's shows. We recognize this is an uncomfortable situation for you as it is for us.
"If it's of any help, we are remaining in a 'go' mode for the shows — with the HALFORD band rehearsing in Phoenix and Rob working in a Birmingham, England studio.
"Again, the only shows that look to be in immediate jeopardy are this weekend's shows, so please don't worry about the Anaheim or New York shows.
"If you're planning on attending one of this weekend's shows, again, we have confidence that Rob will be in the U.S. in time for those performances, but I'll keep everyone updated on this matter over the next 48 hours."